Most residential leases and rental agreements in Pennsylvania require a security deposit. This is a dollar amount, usually one month's rent, that's intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear, and to cushion the financial blow if a tenant skips out early on the lease without paying. Here’s a summary of Pennsylvania landlord-tenant laws that cover the use and return of security deposits.
Yes. Under Pennsylvania landlord-tenant law, a landlord may charge a tenant the equivalent of two months' rent for the security deposit for the first year of renting and the equivalent of one month's rent during all subsequent years of renting.
To learn more about steps that tenants can take to protect their security deposit after they've paid it, check out Nolo's article Protect Your Security Deposit When You Move In.
Under Pennsylvania law, a landlord must return the tenant's security deposit within 30 days after the tenant has surrendered the rental property to the landlord (that is, returned the keys and vacated the property).
Learn more about tenants' rights and landlords' obligations when it comes to the return of the security deposit in Nolo's chart Cleaning and Repairs a Landlord Can Deduct from a Security Deposit and Nolo's article Get Your Security Deposit Back.
Yes. For security deposits over $100, landlords in Pennsylvania must deposit the funds in a federally- or state-regulated institution and give the tenant the name and address of the banking institution and the amount of the deposit. Instead of placing deposits in a separate account, landlord may purchase a bond issued by a bonding company authorized to do business in the state.
Also in Pennsylvania, tenants who occupy a rental unit for two or more years are entitled to interest paid on the security deposit beginning on the 25th month of occupancy.
If you want to go right to the source and look up Pennsylvania law on security deposits -- or if you're writing a letter to your landlord or tenant and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated Title 68 § § 250.511a to 250.512. To access your state law, check out the Library of Congress’s legal research site.
Updated: November 2017