Fair Housing or Landlord Tenant?
Do you know the difference between the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, and the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951? Knowing the protections under each of these laws is very important if you rent or are a housing provider in the state of Pennsylvania. Let’s take a look at each of these laws and the different protections found in each.
Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act
The Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act governs the rights and responsibilities that both housing providers and tenants have with regard to a rental transaction. These policies help to guard both landlords and tenants against unfair practices and outline rules to regulate the rental of residential properties. Below are just some of the topics covered by the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act.
- Lease Provisions
- Limitations of Security Deposits
- Tenant’s Right to Privacy
- Eviction Process
- Unenforceable lease provisions
- Implied Warranty of Habitability
The Federal Fair Housing Act
The Federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in any housing-related transaction based on seven federally protected classes. These protected classes include race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status. Below are some examples of actions the Fair Housing Act prohibits.
- Sexual harassment by a housing provider
- Denying a tenant with a disability who uses an assistance animal
- Refusing to rent to someone because of their nation of origin
- Requiring that families with children live on the first floor
- Conducting background checks only on applicants of a certain race or color
Pennsylvania Human Relations Act
The Pennsylvania Relations Act outlines laws pertaining to discrimination in employment, housing, commercial property, education, and public accommodations. This act creates two additional protected classes that are covered in the state of Pennsylvania. This means that housing providers in the state are prohibited from discriminating in housing based on the characteristics below.
1) Individuals over the age of 40
2) Users, handlers, or trainers of assistance animals for persons with disabilities
Fair Housing Help
The Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania is a nonprofit that provides free counseling and investigative services to individuals who have experienced housing discrimination. As a fair housing organization, we help you enforce your rights under both the Federal Fair Housing Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. We also provide free educational services through publications, training, webinars, and other resources. If you live in Southeast Pennsylvania or the Lehigh Valley and need believe you have experienced discrimination, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-540-FAIR or complete our online form.
Help with Landlord Tenant Problems
If you are a tenant in Southeastern Pennsylvania and believe your landlord-tenant rights have been violated you should speak with an attorney who specializes in these matters. Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network providers, listed on this page, provide free legal assistance if you qualify for their services. You can also visit renters.equalhousing.org to learn more about your rights.