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Residential Lease Lawyers Philadelphia


In Philadelphia, everyone either has their own or knows someone with a landlord horror story. Residential leases are often at the heart of the disagreements. Landlords love to make money. The city of Philadelphia is, unfortunately, home to a number of unscrupulous landlords and leasing companies. Either they attempt to swindle you with an oral lease or use unfair tactics to cheat money from you.

At Freundlich & Littman LLC, we have seen our fair share of landlord horror stories. Our clients are honest, hard-working people. Landlords cheated and lied to them about their residential lease. Renting in the city of Philadelphia can be a leap of faith that falls short. We are here to guide you through the process.

What Is A Residential Lease?

A residential lease is often simply referred to as a lease. A residential lease represents the terms of the relationship between a landlord and a renter. Both the renter and the landlord are bound by the terms of the lease. Any breach of the lease will result in the breaking of the lease. Breaches of a residential lease will have consequences, typically financial.

Before moving in a rented apartment, condominium, or house, you will have to meet with a landlord or leasing company. Residential leases, more often than not, are form leases. A form lease is a leasing agreement or contract that contains standard terms. Form leases tend to be non-negotiable.

Even if you were able to negotiate the terms of your residential lease, it is key to have a written lease. Without a written lease, it is difficult to argue a lease’s existence in court. Be wary of a landlord that wants an oral lease. If you have a written residential lease, make sure you reduce to writing any oral promises or changes. This could be in the form of an addendum to the lease, a formal letter, or even an official e-mail.

Important Terms In A Residential Lease

Terms of a residential lease are often defined by the law of the area in which the rental property sits. A residential lease should contain these key terms:

  • Rent. Never sign a contract where the owner plans to make up the rent for each month. The rent should be clear. It should also include when the rent is due and how to pay it.
  • Name of the landlord or leasing company.
  • Name(s) of the inhabitants of the rental property.
  • Amount of deposit. The landlord should detail the exact dollar amount of the security deposit. Likewise, the lease should detail when the amount is due.
  • Pet Policy.
  • Who is responsible for maintenance, repairs, snow removal, etc. As a renter in Philadelphia, it is important to know what your landlord is responsible for doing.
  • When a landlord can enter a property/renter’s privacy.
  • Miscellaneous fees and terms. This could include pet fees, fees for changing the lock, and fees for using the pool or shared recreational spaces.

This list is not exhaustive. It is important to speak with your landlord or leasing company prior to signing anything. Do not sign a lease unless you are comfortable with the terms.

Warning Signs Of A Bad Residential Lease

There are several warning signs in a lease or a landlord’s actions. If you find these, you should run the other way. Again, this list is not exhaustive. Contact legal representation if you encounter a potentially sketchy lease or landlord/ leasing company.
Some key signs of a bad residential lease are as follows:

  • Insistence on an oral lease.
  • A sublet lease where the landlord’s permission is not given.
  • Rent that is higher than the local average.
  • Lease that does not contain key terms.
  • Landlord refusing to discuss key terms such as rent or landlord’s responsibilities.

A sub-let can either be legal or illegal. Many leases will strictly forbid subleasing situations. A sub-lease is where a renter lets the rental property to a third party. This can be dangerous for a third party. A third party is not a party to the leasing agreement. If anything should happen, you are not protected by the terms of the lease. This is why it is important to legally sub-lease a rental property where the landlord gives consent.

Philadelphia Lease Lawyers

We are your greater Philadelphia residential lease lawyers. Landlords and tenants have an important yet strenuous relationship. You do not have to fight the legal battle against your landlord or leasing company on your own.

We routinely handle tenant matters revolving around a residential lease. If you are in a battle over your rent, the responsibilities of your landlord, or any other landlord/tenant issue, we can fight for you. Please contact our team today at 215-545-8500 to schedule a free consultation.


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