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Your Right to a Safe Home

Legal Information
Rental Unit

This section of PALawHelp.org has information and resources about issues relating to Your Right to a Safe Home in Pennsylvania.

Click on a resource category listed below to see information related to that category.

Common Landlord-Tenant Myths (Video)

This video, Common Landlord-Tenant Myths, provides information on most of the problems arising during the tenancy, including written versus oral leases, eviction notices, illegal self-help evictions, security deposits, and warranty of habitability.

Consumer Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights

The Bureau of Consumer Protection, the Civil Rights Enforcement Section, and the Impact Litigation Division of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General offers this Consumer Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights in Pennsylvania. The Guide provides an overview of the state and federal legal requirements that govern the landlord-tenant relationship, as well as best practices when renting a place to live. The Guide informs you about what to look for when applying to rent and reviewing a lease, what to expect while renting, and what to anticipate when a lease ends.

Landlord Tenant Handbook

Detailed information about renting a residence from a landlord from North Penn Legal Services (NPLS). Fair housing (housing discrimination) information is included throughout the entire handbook. There is a Lehigh Valley Edition and a Northeast PA Edition. NPLS revised the Landlord-Tenant Handbook in December 2019.

The District Justice Hearing: North Penn Legal Services Landlord - Tenant Video Workshop

This video workshop from North Penn Legal Services features a typical hearing before a magisterial district Judge in a landlord-tenant case, followed by a panel discussion featuring several judges describing some best practices for you to use at your hearing, as well as some things to avoid. The process in the video is typical of any civil case brought before a magisterial district judge in Pennsylvania.

How to Sue At the Office of the Magisterial District Judge

Information from MidPenn Legal Services on how to file suit on small claims in your local Office of the Magisterial District Judge. (July 2012)

Magisterial District Judge Court - Filing Suit

This information from Northwestern Legal Services provides instructions on how to file a lawsuit in Magisterial District Judge Court.

Tenants' Rights - Going to Court

Northwestern Legal Services provides general information for tenants regarding district justice court hearings.

Small Claims Court

Information from the Erie County Bar Association on the operation of the Magisterial District Court in Pennsylvania.

How to File a Show Cause Order in Cambria and Indiana Counties (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services shows how residents of Cambria and Indiana Counties can file a show cause order when a landlord shuts off your utilities to try and evict you.

PAHousingSearch.com

This is a free resource from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and other Commonwealth partners to help you find a home that fits your needs and budget. Property providers can list available apartments or homes at any time, which means the listings are current. The web site lets you define what you want in your next living space, and then it does all the research – presenting you with the relevant housing vacancies that best fit your parameters in the community where you want to live.

Residential Tenant Rights

Information on rights of tenants from the Erie County Bar Association. (August 2018)

Renting a House or Apartment

Consumer information pamphlet from the Pennsylvania Bar Association. [PDF] (September 2020)

Small Claims Court

Information from the Erie County Bar Association on the operation of the Magisterial District Court in Pennsylvania.

Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control

The Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) provides funds to state and local governments to develop cost-effective ways to reduce lead-based paint hazards. In addition, the office enforces HUD's lead-based paint regulations, provides public outreach and technical assistance and conducts technical studies to help protect children and their families from health and safety hazards in the home.

Deceptive Home Improvement Contractors Complaints

Information for home owners with HUD insured loans on avoiding deceptive home improvement contractors and how to file a complaint if you are a victim of fraud or abuse by a contractor.

Consumer Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights

The Bureau of Consumer Protection, the Civil Rights Enforcement Section, and the Impact Litigation Division of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General offers this Consumer Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights in Pennsylvania. The Guide provides an overview of the state and federal legal requirements that govern the landlord-tenant relationship, as well as best practices when renting a place to live. The Guide informs you about what to look for when applying to rent and reviewing a lease, what to expect while renting, and what to anticipate when a lease ends.

Housing Navigator Unit (Allegheny County)

The Allegheny County Department of Human Services Housing Navigator Unit was established in 2018 to help homeless persons served by DHS find and maintain safe, affordable housing in the private market. The Housing Navigator Unit works toward this goal by recruiting and supporting landlords in the private market who rent to DHS tenants. The unit also works with the agencies charged with providing support services to the tenants. This public/private partnership aims to speed up access to private rental properties, improve communication and trust, resolve concerns and complaints, and increase accountability among all parties - the landlords, the service providers and the tenants.

PAHousingSearch.com

This is a free resource from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and other Commonwealth partners to help you find a home that fits your needs and budget. Property providers can list available apartments or homes at any time, which means the listings are current. The web site lets you define what you want in your next living space, and then it does all the research – presenting you with the relevant housing vacancies that best fit your parameters in the community where you want to live.

Report Bad Landlord in Federal Housing

Information on how to report bad landlords with federal housing. This enables residents of HUD-insured and -assisted properties and other community members to report complaints with a property's management concerning matters such as poor maintenance, dangers to health and safety, mismanagement, and fraud.

PhillyTenant.Org

PhillyTenant.Org is your resource for tenant rights in Philadelphia. PhillyTenant.org is the product of a collaboration of legal services and advocacy organizations in Philadelphia including: AIDS Law Project; Community Legal Services; Dechert LLP; HELP: MLP; Landlord/Tenant Legal Help Center @ Municipal Court; Legal Clinic for the Disabled; Legal Help Center; Philadelphia Legal Assistance; Philly VIP; Regional Housing Legal Services; SeniorLAW Center; and Tenant Union Representative Network. The information provided on PhillyTenant.org is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. For legal advice or representation, tenants should seek legal help.

Philly Tenant Resource Guide [PDF]

Resource from the Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project providing information for people facing eviction in Philadelphia. The guide also provides contact information for agencies and organizations that provide assistance to people facing eviction on a variety of legal and practical topics, including housing, utilities, food, health and work. (2018)

Repairs & Security Deposit

Information from the Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania on renter's rights regarding repairs and security deposits.

PhillyTenant.Org

PhillyTenant.Org is your resource for tenant rights in Philadelphia. PhillyTenant.org is the product of a collaboration of legal services and advocacy organizations in Philadelphia including: AIDS Law Project; Community Legal Services; Dechert LLP; HELP: MLP; Landlord/Tenant Legal Help Center @ Municipal Court; Legal Clinic for the Disabled; Legal Help Center; Philadelphia Legal Assistance; Philly VIP; Regional Housing Legal Services; SeniorLAW Center; and Tenant Union Representative Network. The information provided on PhillyTenant.org is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. For legal advice or representation, tenants should seek legal help.

How to File a Show Cause Order in Cambria and Indiana Counties (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services shows how residents of Cambria and Indiana Counties can file a show cause order when a landlord shuts off your utilities to try and evict you.

How to File a Show Cause Order in Cambria and Indiana Counties (Video)

This video from Laurel Legal Services shows how residents of Cambria and Indiana Counties can file a show cause order when a landlord shuts off your utilities to try and evict you.

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