Tenants are entitled to a number of rights under the implied warranty of habitability that all property managers provide by signing a lease. If a property manager does not uphold the terms set forth by the lease, tenants have the right to seek advice and counseling to remedy these transgressions.
- Fair housing, freedom from discrimination because of membership in a protected class (in Pennsylvania the protected classes are: race, color, national origin, gender, familial status, disability, creed, ancestry or age - over 40)
- A clean, safe place to live in compliance with the warranty of habitability. This includes:
- structurally sound building
- waterproof roofs, ceilings and walls
- walls and woodwork properly painted (no peeling-off paint)
- adequate heat in winter
- hot and cold running water
- bathroom equipment and drains that work properly
- functioning stove
- doors that lock properly
- windows that work and can be locked
- apartment/house free from infestation with roaches and/or rodents
- a building with smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and fire escapes, in compliance with the local Fire Code
- Repairs made promptly and properly by property owner/manager to keep property up to code.
- Enforce the right to habitable premises by using legal remedies such as repair and deduct, rent reduction, rent withholding, or move out of uninhabitable premises with the right to recover all prepaid rent and deposits
NOTE: CONSULT WITH A HOUSING COUNSELOR OR YOUR ATTORNEY BEFORE USING ANY OF THE ABOVE REMEDIES
- Privacy and protection from intrusion and harassment from the landlord
- Quietly enjoy full possession and use of the premises
- Make complaints to governmental authorities about violation of rights without retaliation.
- Move out when necessity arises, for any number of legitimate reasons and have the landlord make a diligent effort to mitigate damages (reduce your financial loss)
- Prompt return of all deposits and interest due, according to state law.
- No property seizures, lock-outs or evictions unless in accordance with established legal procedures and with proper advance notice.
- Recover damages for violation of rights.
- A lease that guarantees these rights in writing.
While property managers are bound to uphold terms stated in the lease, tenants also have an obligation to the dwelling that they are renting. If tenants are found to be in violation of the lease terms, the property manager has the right to notify the tenant and take action.
- Use the dwelling unit for residential purposes only.
- Limit the number of people living in the unit to the number of people written into the lease. However, this does not mean that the landlord can restrict your right to have visitors on the premises and reasonable overnight guests.
- Pay rent and utility bills that are the tenant's responsibility under the lease, on the due dates and in the agreed way.
- Keep unit clean and safe; promptly notify landlord of any damage to the premises; pay for any damage caused by tenant or his/her guests. This does not apply to normal wear and tear and maintenance of the property, which are the responsibilities of the landlord
- Dispose of all trash and other waste in a clean and safe manner and according to the instructions provided by the landlord; if tenants violate trash disposal rules, they can be fined by the City of Philadelphia.
- Use electrical, plumbing and heating facilities in a safe and careful manner.
- Not destroy, deface, damage the premises or remove any part of the premises.
- Not make any alteration to the premises without first getting the property owner's consent in writing.
- Not keep any animals in the unit, unless permitted by the lease ("special animals" for people with disabilities are excepted).
- Not change locks to the premises without written permission from property owner, who must have access to the premises at all times, in case of an emergency.
- Conduct themselves, and require any person on the premises to conduct themselves, in a manner that will not disturb the other tenants' peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
- Report all problems with the apartment to the property owner/manager; communicate problems with the property and give notices in writing; keep copies of all written communication with the property owner/manager.
- Leave apartment clean and in a condition similar to the one at the beginning of the lease, wear and tear excepted.
- Fill out a move-in/move-out checklist.
- Provide proper written notice of intention to terminate or renew lease.
- Provide written notification of forwarding address for the return of security deposit.