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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Breaking a Lease Early in Pennsylvania

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Pennsylvania

    My boyfriend moved into a one-bedroom second floor apartment in northeastern Pennsylvania in mid-May. He paid the security deposit and signed a one-year lease that began with the month of June. The lease has no termination clause. I was required to sign the lease as well if I wanted to spend the night, so I did.

    Everything was going fine (with the exception of a small roach problem) until July's rent was due. When we signed the lease, the landlord suggested that we put half the money in on the 15th and half in on the 1st. This was not actually in the lease. The lease also stated that payment was due on the 1st, and if not paid within five days of the due date, a $50 late fee would be charged. In addition, if the rent was not paid by the 8th, the landlord would start the eviction process.

    We had planned on following the landlord's suggestion, but a family member of my boyfriend stole money from him and he was unable to do so. The landlord starting calling my cellphone on the 20th asking why we didn't deposit the rent money into the account (rent money is deposited into a local bank account). I was on vacation at the time and did not get his messages until around the 25th. During that time, he called about two times a day leaving the same message. According to my boyfriend, the landlord did not call the house phone once, and he does have the number.

    I called the landlord back and informed him that the rent would be paid, but it would not be in on the 1st, but rather more likely the 4th or 5th, due to the money loss. He said that was fine and did not call again until the 2nd of July. He called my cellphone several times from several different numbers asking about the rent. On the 3rd, he came to the apartment with a 3-day notice saying we would be evicted if the rent was not paid by the 6th. He did not announce his visit ahead of time. My boyfriend was in the bathroom when the landlord arrived and didn't get to the door right away. When he opened the top door, he saw that the landlord had unlocked the door at the bottom of the stairs and had his key out to unlock the top door. We paid the rent on the 6th and once again everything was fine.

    Now this month, some things came up and my boyfriend was unable to put the first half in on the 15th. When the 20th rolled around, the landlord started calling my cellphone again, and even at very unreasonable hours when I was trying to sleep. He still has not once called the house phone.

    I personally do not want to be harassed by the landlord for the next 10 months if my boyfriend can't put the money in on the 15th. I also feel uncomfortable with the fact that the landlord makes unannounced visits and opens the doors himself. The lease does state that the landlord can come inspect the apartment during reasonable hours, but I am quite certain that he cannot just show up when he feels like it without telling us. I believe the landlord broke the lease terms by giving us a 3-day notice of eviction on the 3rd of the month when the lease states he must wait until the 8th. Is there a possibilty that we can break the lease without having to pay the remainder of the rent?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Breaking a Lease Early in Pennsylvania

    Rent is due as described in the lease. If you wish to stop paying rent at the half-month point, and the lease says rent is due on the 1st, tell your landlord what you intend to do.

    You don't get to break your lease just because your landlord expects you to pay your rent on time, or knocks on the door one time while you're in the shower.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Re: Breaking a Lease Early in Pennsylvania

    Technically speaking, rent was paid on time and the three-day notice was not necessary, especially since he was notified that the money would not be deposited until the the 4th or 5th (and even so, the 4th or 5th is still considered on-time as far as the lease states). I have also told the landlord more than once that we'll put half in at the half-way point if we have the money then. Since posting this, I have notified my landlord multiple times that I would deposit the full rent at the end of the month, and he has continued to call me 4-5 times per day asking if I put the money in yet. I consider that to be harassment.

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