Leases & Rental Agreements Attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Renting a residential or commercial property is often a challenging and costly decision. Whether you are offering a residential property for someone to live in or a commercial space for a business, setting up a well-drafted lease or rental agreement should be your top priority.

Unfortunately, many landlords who use lease and rental agreements do not understand the terms they agree to.   

As a lease and rental agreements attorney at Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C., I assist my clients with drafting, reviewing, and negotiating lease and rental agreements.

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, my law firm serves clients in Fox Chapel, Shaler Township, Penn Hills, Aspinwall, O’Hara Township, Oakmont Borough, Indiana Township, Ross Township, and the rest of the state. 

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Differences Between a Lease and a Rental Agreement

While both leases and rental agreements outline the terms of occupancy for a tenant, their primary difference is their duration. 

A lease agreement is typically a long-term contract, commonly lasting for one year, that secures a fixed rental rate and outlines terms for the entire duration of the lease. Once the lease is signed, neither party can alter the agreement without mutual consent, ensuring that both the landlord and tenant are protected from unexpected changes. 

In contrast, a rental agreement often operates on a month-to-month basis, providing more flexibility for both parties. This type of agreement automatically renews at the end of each month unless either the landlord or tenant gives notice to terminate it.  

This flexibility can be advantageous for landlords who want the freedom to adjust rent rates more frequently, but it does not provide the long-term security of a lease agreement. 

A third, less common type of agreement, is called a rent-to-own agreement. As the name suggests, the agreement allows a landlord to rent a property with the intention of selling it to a tenant. Essentially, it is a standard rental agreement with an added option to purchase the property.   

Importance of a Written Lease or Rental Agreement

Having a written lease or rental agreement is essential to maintain a clear understanding between the contracting parties. A written agreement helps to: 

  • Avoid disputes and confusion: When the terms of the lease or rent are not in writing, legal disputes and disagreements are more likely to arise.    

  • Clarify the terms of the contract: A written agreement should outline the terms of occupancy in detail, such as the rent amount, due date, security deposit, pet policies, and any other rules or regulations that both parties must follow to prevent avoidable conflicts and misunderstandings.   

  • Offers legal protection: A written agreement serves as a binding document that can be referred to in court if necessary. This is vital in scenarios such as non-payment of rent, property damage, or early termination of the agreement.  

  • Comply with the law: According to the Consumer Guide to Tenant and Landlord Rights by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, state law requires leases for longer than three years to be in writing.   

In some cases, oral agreements can also be binding under Pennsylvania law. However, they are much harder to enforce if a dispute arises. A written agreement provides tangible evidence of the agreed-upon terms.

Consult with an experienced landlord rights and representation attorney who can help you draft a lease or rental agreement that is effective and enforceable. 

What to Include in a Lease or Rental Agreement

When drafting a lease or rental agreement, several key elements should be included: 

  • Names and contact information for both parties (landlord and tenant) 

  • Address and description of the rental property 

  • Length of the lease 

  • Rent amount and due date 

  • Security deposit amount and terms for return upon move-out 

  • Utilities the tenant is responsible for paying  

  • Rules and regulations for the property, including any restrictions on pets or smoking, whether a tenant can break a lease early, or whether a tenant can sublease the property 

  • Maintenance responsibilities for both parties 

  • Consequences for late payments or breaking the agreement  

  • Procedures for renewing the lease  

It is crucial to be thorough when drafting these agreements to avoid potential disputes between the contracting parties. Consulting with an experienced lease and rental agreements attorney can help you make sure all the necessary elements are included and that the agreement is fair.  

What Happens if a Lease or Rental Agreement Is Broken?

When a lease or rental agreement is broken early, depending on the circumstances and the specifics of the agreement, a landlord could potentially lose rental income and incur costs associated with finding a new tenant.  

While lease terms typically include provisions for early termination, such as requiring the tenant to pay a penalty fee or forfeit the security deposit, enforcing these terms can sometimes lead to complications. 

If a lease or rental agreement is broken, a landlord may need to serve a notice of lease termination and, if necessary, pursue eviction. In Pennsylvania, landlords must follow strict legal protocols during eviction to ensure compliance with state laws, including filing for eviction through the local courts if the tenant fails to vacate voluntarily.  

In these situations, having a well-drafted lease or rental agreement is crucial as it provides the legal framework for the landlord to enforce their rights and seek compensation. 

How Can My Firm Help? 

At Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C., I offer comprehensive legal services tailored to meet your leasing and rental agreement needs. My primary goal is to protect your interests and ensure your written agreements are as robust and effective as possible. Some of the services I offer include: 

Drafting Lease and Rental Agreements 

I create customized lease and rental agreements that align with your unique requirements and comply with Pennsylvania laws. Every property is different, and I make sure your contract reflects the specific terms and conditions pertinent to your situation. 

Eviction Support 

In cases where leases or rental agreements are breached, landlords often need to take legal action to regain possession of their property. I will guide you through the eviction process, making sure all steps are taken lawfully to expedite resolution while safeguarding your interests. 

Magistrate Hearings 

Filing a suit at the Magisterial District Court is often the quickest and most effective way to regain possession of a property or recover funds due under a lease. At a magistrate hearing, both parties have an opportunity to testify and present evidence to the Judge.


Disputes may be determined by arbitration if a party appeals the decision rendered by a Magisterial District Court or if the action is initially filed with the Court of Common Pleas, Arbitration Division. I will represent your interests before the Court of Common Pleas, Arbitration Division for a flat fee.

Court of Common Pleas 

If a dispute is appealed by the Court of Common Pleas, Arbitration Division, the matter will proceed to either a judge or jury trial before the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division. Additionally, if the case involves a dispute over the title to some real estate (e.g. land installment contract disputes), the case MUST be initially filed before the Court of Common Pleas Civil Division. I will provide representation before the Court of Common Pleas on an hourly basis at competitive rates. 

Superior Court 

This court reviews most of the civil and criminal cases that are appealed from the Courts of Common Pleas. Decisions rendered by the Court of Common Pleas are reviewed by the Superior Court to determine if the trial court made an erroneous legal ruling. I will represent your interests before the Superior Court on an hourly basis at competitive rates. 

Leases & Rental Agreements Attorney Serving Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Having a written and legally-binding lease or rental agreement gives both the tenant and landlord peace of mind knowing that they are fully protected. At Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C., I assist clients in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas with drafting and reviewing lease and rental agreements. Reach out to my office today to request a free consultation.