Security Deposit Disputes Attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Navigating the relationship between a landlord and a renter can be stressful, but as long as each party is communicative and follows all laws and contract agreements, it can work. However, when disputes arise, you need to be sure you’re handling them correctly. According to the U.S. Census data, the median gross rent in the state of Pennsylvania is $1,013 and approximately 31% of all households are rentals. This means nearly a third of all households are paying monthly rent to a landlord and have paid a security deposit as well.
If you’re involved in a security deposit dispute and want to know, “What are a tenant/landlord’s rights to a security deposit?”, call me at Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. From my office in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, I serve clients through the rest of Allegheny County and the surrounding areas of Butler County, Westmoreland County, Beaver County, Armstrong County, and Washington County.
Collecting a Security Deposit in Pennsylvania
Whether you’re a renter or a landlord, you should be able to answer basic questions about your security deposit, such as, “What can the security deposit be used for?”, “Are there limitations on the amount a landlord can charge for a security deposit?”, “What expenses can be deducted from a security deposit?”, and “How long does the landlord have to return a security deposit?”
In Pennsylvania, a landlord can charge no more than the equivalent of two months’ rent for a security deposit for the first year of rent and no more than one month’s rent for subsequent years. Furthermore, the landlord must hold this security deposit in a state or federally-regulated financial institution, and they must provide this info to the tenant if it’s requested. The landlord is allowed to use this money for certain expenses incurred, such as back rent that’s been unpaid, damages to the property, or additional cleaning that falls outside the scope of “normal wear and tear.” They may not use it for regular maintenance.
Returning the Security Deposit
Each state sets its own laws surrounding security deposits and when they need to be returned to the renter. In Pennsylvania, the deadline for returning a security deposit to a renter is 30 days after the move-out date. This should give landlords enough time to itemize any deductions and issue a comprehensive receipt outlining the damages, along with returning any unused portion of the deposit. Both the renter and landlord should be active participants in this process to ensure transparency. Ideally, the landlord and renter have both agreed to the terms of the security deposit and understand the process for determining how deductions will be made and how the deposit will be returned.
Even when both parties in a contract are well-meaning, disputes can and will arise. In some cases, these can be solved without taking legal action, but in others, you may wish to hire a landlord/tenant attorney. In most instances, your attorney will help you resolve this case outside of the courts, but an experienced lawyer will also be able to represent your interests in front of a judge should it come to that. Key to any legal proceedings will be to gather all relevant documentation including contracts, lease agreements, receipts, all communication between the landlord and tenant, photos or videos from the rental unit, and an expense report for any damages that needed to be addressed.
Security Deposit Dispute Attorney Serving Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
If you’re in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area and are concerned about a current or potential security deposit dispute, call me at Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. to schedule a consultation. I’m happy to represent both renters and landlords with their legal needs.