As a landlord, you have certain rights you can use to protect your property even when someone is renting it from you. However, your tenants also have their own rights to protect them from any malicious or negligent landlords. These rights can leave you in a scenario where you are out of your property or money if you aren’t prepared.
The rental industry is always about being prepared in tough scenarios. Make sure you understand these rights tenants have in Pennsylvania so you’re prepared for any situation.
When searching for an apartment, citizens of Pennsylvania are ensured that they can’t be discriminated against for various protected statuses they might fall under. This is due to the Fair Housing Act, an act helping tenants since it was first enacted in 1968. Statuses that fall under the Fair Housing Act include color, disability, race, religion, sex, national origin, and more. Pennsylvania is also unique in that you’re not allowed to discriminate based on age as well.
However, this hasn’t stopped all tenants from being discriminated against. In 2017, it was found that over 25,000 different people complained that year over being discriminated against when trying to find housing. Ensure that you fully understand this law as a landlord so you don’t end up getting sued down the road.
A landlord may know that they can’t discriminate against any applicants due to their protected statuses, but a landlord might try to persuade some people to not apply for their housing due to certain provisions they might have in their marketing. The Fair Housing Act was written in a way that ensures that any protected statuses must be maintained within marketing standards. For this reason, you must ensure that you aren’t using any terms in your apartment marketing that would make a tenant believe that you are discriminating against them.
Commonly, a landlord will run the credit of any potential tenant to ensure that they are likely to keep up with regular payments. This process is fine, but it’s not fine for a landlord to run the credit of any potential tenant without having their permission to do so. This isn’t just a common courtesy but something also required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Landlords must understand proper protocols for taking adverse actions once they are done running a tenant’s credit.
An adverse action is something that modifies a potential lease agreement based on what was found in a credit report. These actions include requiring someone to co-sign, turning them down altogether, increasing the price, and much more. You can take these actions if you are fully explaining to a tenant what actions you are taking and why you are doing so beforehand. Make sure you understand how credit factors into the rights a tenant has in Pennsylvania.