Hypothetical: Pennsylvania tenant reports a hazardous condition in their unit (missing floorboard, arcing light switch, something like that). What are the landlord's obligations? Are there specific timeframes established for repair? Are there times when the tenant has to be told to vacate for their safety? Are there regulatory bodies that have to be notified? And are there any pre-determined guidelines around liability? For instance, if the tenant reports the condition and then gets hurt 10 minutes later, am I any less liable than if I failed to repair it for a month and then they get hurt? Does it make any difference if the tenant and problem were both inherited with the purchase of the property?
I am not sure I can help you with the details but much of what you’re asking about can change for city to city. I would contact your local city building and ask for the office that handles code enforcement and rental law/ stuff.
Be nice and act like you need help and most often you will get a good response. People like to help respectful and appreciative people seeking help.
@Charles McCabe - since you are a DIG member, I suggest you use the DIG benefit to get a free consult with attorney Beth Stern Fleming. There should be something in the DIG member portion of the DIG website, I believe under benefits, where there is a form to be completed and sent in. Tell her I suggested you use this benefit ;)
In general, picture yourself explaining what happened to a judge.
Loose receptacle or leaky faucet, a few days or week with instructions to not use it or temporary fix (bucket) is probably fine.
Broken staircase that someone could fall down, I’d probably want it fixed in a day or so.
Reported gas leak, vacate the house and get someone in within an hour or so.
So it really depends. Legally, unless you’re into habitability (heat, water), most cities won’t have specific rules about it.
@Jason Allen @Mike McCarthy Absolutely. I'm not trying to figure out how far I can push the law or the tenant. I'm trying to figure out if the law is stricter or more prescriptive in certain situations than I would figure was reasonable. I want to do right by the tenant.
@Steve Babiak I'll look into it, thank you!