If you are a residential landlord in Pennsylvania and your tenant has vacated the premises either voluntarily, through a court-order evicting them and granting you possession, or absconding in the middle of the night – what are your obligations and responsibilities as landlord, if any, at this point in time?
Residential leases in Pennsylvania are governed by the Landlord Tenant Act (68 P.S. §§ 250.101-250.602). A landlord must comply with his or her obligations and the Landlord Tenant Act even after a tenant has vacated the rental property. Once a tenant leaves the property, the landlord must assess if there are any damages to the rental property and make a determination as to what escrow, if any, should be returned to the tenant based on any actual damages to the rental property. The landlord cannot waste any time once the tenants vacated in doing this assessment. The landlord, under the Landlord Tenant Act, has thirty (30) days from when the tenant vacates the premises to provide the tenant with a list of damages with costs, along with any balance in the escrow. Obviously, if there is no damage to the premises, the entire escrow fund must be returned within thirty (30) days.
If the landlord fails to provide the list of damages and the escrow within the requisite time-frame according to the law, the landlord can be liable for double damages by the tenant. Many a landlord have run afoul in a situation where the tenant has left the premises – breaking the lease – but the landlord failed to provide the requisite escrow or notice and was therefore ordered to pay double the escrow to the tenant.
It is highly recommended for any landlord, that if a tenant leaves or vacates the premises, you contact a law firm immediately who handles residential leases in order to advise you of your rights and obligations in this matter.
— Written by Thomas P. McCabe, Esquire
DISCLAIMER: The contents of this blog are not legal advice, and are not to be used for that purpose. If you charged with a criminal offense or need help with a civil matter, you should contact a lawyer immediately in the order to ensure that your rights are protected. Thomas P. McCabe, Esquire is a licensed Pennsylvania lawyer, and does not purport to comment on any other jurisdiction in the United States of America.