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Leases & Rental Agreements Attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Renting a residential or commercial property can be a challenging and costly decision to make. Whether you need rental property to live or do business, a well-drafted lease or rental agreement should never be overlooked. Unfortunately, many tenants and 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 clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania with drafting, reviewing, and negotiating lease and rental agreements. With an office 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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The Difference Between a Lease and a Rental Agreement  

Many people mistakenly believe leases and rental agreements are the same thing. While there are many similarities between renting and leasing, they are not the same. The most significant difference between a lease and a rental agreement is that the latter is not a long-term contract. Typically, rental agreements cover a short term and occur on a month-to-month basis. Lease agreements, on the other hand, cover long periods, usually 12 months.  

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

The Importance of Using a Written Lease or Rental Agreement  

Reasons to have a written lease or rental agreement include: 

  1. Avoid disputes. When the terms of the lease or rent are not in writing, legal disputes and disagreements between the tenant and landlord are more likely to arise.   

  1. Compliance 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.  

  1. Security deposits. Without a written lease or rental agreement, a tenant may have a harder time returning a security deposit or proving that any amount of money was withheld by the landlord.  

  1. Clarification. Having a written agreement in place helps clarify the terms of the lease or rent to prevent avoidable conflicts and misunderstandings between the landlord and tenant.  

Although Pennsylvania law recognizes both oral and written lease agreements, written agreements provide the best protection. 

What to Make Sure Is Included in a Lease or Rental Agreement  

When drafting or reviewing a lease or rental agreement, make sure that it includes the following terms: 

  • The names of the parties 

  • The address of the rental unit 

  • The length of the lease 

  • Requirements for the rent payment 

  • The security deposit amount 

  • The utilities the tenant is responsible for paying 

  • The procedures for renewing the lease 

  • Whether the tenant can break a lease early 

  • Whether the tenant can sublease 

  • Whether pets are allowed 

  • Other rules and procedures the tenant and landlord would be required to follow  

A rental or lease agreement may also contain other clauses. Get legal counsel from an experienced lease and rental agreements attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to help you draft or review the agreement before signing it.  

Breaking a Lease  

Under Pennsylvania law, if a tenant voluntarily moves out before the end of the lease, the tenant may be responsible for continuing to pay rent until the lease expires or until a new tenant occupies the rental unit. The only exceptions to this rule are: 

  1. The lease or rental agreement allows the tenant to break a lease before the end of the lease; or 

  1. The landlord breaches their obligations, which warrant early termination.  

If you and your landlord have disputes regarding the early termination of the lease, contact a skilled attorney to get legal assistance and protect your rights.  

Leases & Rental Agreements Attorney in 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.