What Can Landlords Do if Tenants Breach a Lease Agreement in Pennsylvania? – Guest Post

Tenants Breach a Lease Agreement

If a tenant breaches the lease agreement, a landlord may have several defenses available to them in Pennsylvania. A tenant’s breach of contract is not always grounds for eviction. Property owners must understand their rights and obligations to navigate disputes with tenants. Let’s take an in-depth look at what defenses are available to landlords if a tenant breaches the lease agreement in Pennsylvania.

Most Common Landlord Defenses in Pennsylvania

  • Landlords Must Provide Habitable Living Conditions

In Pennsylvania, landlords must provide safe living conditions for their tenants. This means that all units must be up to code and free from health hazards, such as mold or pests. If this isn’t done, then the tenant can argue that they were forced out of their unit due to unlivable conditions, which could be grounds for an eviction case against the landlord. Furthermore, if a tenant has lived in the same unit for more than six months, they may also be protected by other state laws that could help prevent their eviction. Therefore, landlords must ensure their units meet safety standards before renting them out to tenants.

  • Retaliatory Eviction Prohibited

The law in Pennsylvania also prohibits retaliatory eviction cases. This means that landlords cannot file an eviction case against a tenant simply because they have complained about health or safety hazards on the premises or requested repairs be made on certain damages within the unit. The courts will usually recognize this type of behavior as retaliatory and dismiss any eviction case brought forth by the landlord due to it. It is important for landlords to thoroughly document all dealings with tenants and keep good records before filing any eviction proceedings so that they can prove that their actions are reasonable and not retaliatory towards their tenants.

  • Compliance with Lease Terms & Conditions
    Finally, one of the most common defenses used by landlords when dealing with a breach of contract is compliance with lease terms & conditions outlined in the agreement signed between both parties at move-in or during renewal periods. Landlords should make sure they understand all parts of the lease agreement before entering into any rental situation so they can better protect themselves from potential issues down the line if there is ever a dispute between them and their tenant regarding breach of contract law or other matters related to tenancy law. Additionally, landlords need to stay abreast of changes made by the local government regarding rental laws so they can stay compliant with these requirements and minimize any legal issues down the road arising from non-compliance with local statutes related to tenancy agreements & contracts between landlord & tenant relationships in Pennsylvania.

How Can A Tenant Prove That A Landlord’s Defense Is Invalid?

When it comes to landlord-tenant law in Pennsylvania, tenants have rights that must be respected by their landlords. However, landlords can sometimes claim defenses against tenants who are trying to prove that they’ve been wronged. Here, we will discuss how tenants can prove that a landlord’s defense is invalid and hold them accountable for any wrongdoings.

1. The landlord must have actual knowledge of the problem.

The landlord cannot be held liable for damages unless they had actual knowledge of the problem and failed to remedy it within a reasonable time frame. This can be proven by showing that the landlord was sent certified letters about the problem, or that the problem was brought to their attention in some other way.

2. The tenant must have made a reasonable effort to mitigate the damages.

The tenant cannot recover damages if they did not make a reasonable effort to mitigate them. For example, if the tenant knew about a water leak but did not notify the landlord or take steps to prevent further damage, they may not be able to recover the full amount of damages from the landlord.

3. The landlord must have had a duty to repair the condition.

The landlord can only be held liable for damages if they had a duty to repair the condition. This duty typically arises from the terms of the lease agreement, or state or local laws. For example, most leases require landlords to keep the property in good repair, and many states have laws requiring landlords to make repairs promptly.

4. The landlord must have breached their duty to repair the condition.

The landlord can only be held liable for damages if they breached their duty to repair the condition. This can be proven by showing that the landlord had ample time to make the repairs but failed to do so, or that they made repairs but did so in an inadequate manner.

5. The tenant must have suffered actual damages as a result of the breach.

The tenant can only recover damages if they suffered harm as a result of the landlord’s breach. This can be proven by showing that the tenant incurred expenses such as medical bills or property damage as a result of the condition that was not repaired by the landlord.

When Can Landlords Not Assert A Defense?

Estoppel is an equitable doctrine that is applied in Pennsylvania landlord tenant law to prevent one party from asserting a defense to that they would otherwise be entitled. In other words, estoppel stops someone from saying one thing and then later denying it when it’s convenient. Here, we will discuss when a landlord may not assert a defense due to estoppel.

  • The landlord has waived the defense by previously claiming it does not apply.
  • The landlord has failed to timely assert the defense.
  • The landlord has affirmatively represented that the defense does not apply.
  • The landlord has taken some action inconsistent with asserting the defense.
  • There is some other reason why it would be unfair for the landlord to assert the defense.


All Pennsylvania landlords need to understand their rights when it comes to dealing with tenant breaches of contract. By knowing which defenses are available, they can ensure that they are protecting themselves and their property should anything go wrong during tenancy agreements. With knowledge on hand, landlords will be better equipped when dealing with tenants who breach a lease agreement or cause damage to their property so that they can respond accordingly depending on how serious or extensive any damage may be. This information will help protect both parties involved when signing rental agreements and protect each party’s respective rights under Pennsylvania law.