Is it necessary to hire an attorney to draft a residential lease agreement in Pennsylvania?


We own a single family home in Pennsylvania that we are planning on renting out. Do we need to hire an attorney to draft a residential lease agreement? What exactly do these agreements entail?


Preparing a lease or rental agreement is fairly straightforward, and many rental property owners (including first-timers) have no problem doing it themselves.

The Pennsylvania Bar Association recommends that, at a minimum, a residential rental contract contain the following terms:

  • names and addresses of both the tenant and the property owner
  • term of the lease and renewals
  • rent amount and payment terms, including grace period and penalty for late payments
  • amount of security deposit (Pennsylvania state law limits this to two months' rent for the first year of renting, and one month's rent during subsequent years and requires a separate account and interest payments on the deposit)
  • notice required to end the lease
  • person responsible for paying utility bills and other expenses, and
  • duties of the tenant and the landlord.

To get started, check out Nolo's kit for Pennsyvlania landlords. If you want to include some complicated clauses (for example, regarding repairs and maintenance of your house), you may want an experienced Pennsylvania landlord-tenant attorney to review the document before you present it to a prospective tenant for signature.

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