Can My Landlord Do That? Navigating Renter’s Rights

May 19, 2020

Can My Landlord Do That? Navigating Renter’s Rights

Many tenants may think that all contracts are created equal when it comes to renting. However, that is not always the case. In fact, many times, missing the fine print can result in dealing with a nightmarish landlord. But in other ways, you may be facing discrimination from your landlord which is equally unacceptable. If you have concerns surrounding your rights as a renter, you need Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano.

Non-Discrimination – Renter’s Rights

Under the Fair Housing Act, discrimination based on race, color, origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability is prohibited. The Act applies to both renting and the purchase or sale of real estate.

While this encompasses a lot of protected groups, in recent years, the act has gone on to protect those who face sexual harassment by their landlord or other renters. Women who are in lower economic groups often find themselves with limited housing options and no choice but to tolerate being demeaned through sexual harassment. 

Because of this, the Act has gone on to target those landlords who make the living environment untenable by creating these sexually hostile environments. The Fair Housing Act works to provide relief for tenants who have been treated unfairly by their landlord and make clear repercussions for those who continue to act in such a manner.

Quiet Enjoyment in Your Personal Space

While much of your renter’s agreement will spell out what is and is not permissible, there are some rights that become unspoken truths. One such right is that of the “implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.”

“Quiet enjoyment” is one of the basic elements included in your monthly rent. Under this covenant, your landlord is to allow you to peacefully habitat in your dwelling without interference unless of course of an emergency. In cases where your landlord may need to enter your apartment, you have a right to be notified before it occurs.

Other rights under quiet enjoyment include:

  • Privacy
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Right of Use
  • Safety & Security
  • Basic Utilities


You pay a security deposit so that if damages occur while you live in the apartment, your landlord can fix them for the next tenant. Similarly, part of the reason you pay rent is for your landlord to make common maintenance and repairs to the apartment and surrounding dwellings. 

While your contract may spell out what the landlord will and will not repair, it’s safe to say that if the repair keeps the dwelling safe and habitable, they should be responsible for its maintenance. 

Such issues include heating, plumbing, and electrical issues within the apartment or home. Some landlords may also fix smaller things such as leaking faucets, but it can sometimes be best to handle the small things–like a burnt-out lightbulb–yourself.

Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano For Renters

Since 1962, the Scranton landlord-tenant dispute attorneys at Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano have been fighting for the rights of landlords and tenants throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. We know there are elements of rental contracts that just don’t make sense. But that doesn’t mean you should just let them go.

If you are experiencing issues with a landlord, we’re here to help. Contact our NEPA landlord-tenant dispute lawyers today for a free consultation.

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