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Lead and Healthy Homes Program

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Landlords and Tenants

Landlords and tenants play an important role in ensuring that rental homes are healthy and safe. 

Landlords are required to provide their tenants with the materials below.  Tenants should ask their landlords for the following:

  • A written advisory instructing the tenant to perform a visual inspection of all painted surfaces periodically during the term of the lease, and to inform the lessor of any cracked, flaking, chipping, peeling, or otherwise deteriorated paint surfaces. Landlords are required to make repairs to eliminate these conditions in a timely fashion.

  • A City of Philadelphia Partners for Good Housing brochure issued by the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections.

  • A City of Philadelphia Certificate of Rental Suitability, issued by the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections, no more than sixty (60) days prior to residence. This certificate states that properties have obtained all required rental licenses and do not have critical code violations. Owners are also reminded to obtain a rental license and Commercial Activity License.

Landlord Responsibilities

What Landlords Need to Know

The Philadelphia Lead Paint Disclosure and Certification Law requires owners of property built before 1978 and rented to children six years or younger to provide the tenant with and have then tenant sign a certification prepared by a certified lead inspector stating that the property is either lead free or lead safe.

Landlords must ensure that all rental property is safe, sanitary, and fit to live in.  Landlords must repair any defects to a rental property that affect the health or safety of the occupants prior to renting and promptly upon notice during the lease.  

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (the RRP Rule), has been in effect since June 23, 2008, to protect against hazardous lead dust. The RRP applies to renovation, repair or painting work in a property that:

  1. Was built before 1978
  2. Is visited or occupied by children under 6 years of age
  3. And will disturb more than six (6) square feet of painted surface on walls or woodwork (interior) or 20 square feet (exterior).

If the landlord does his/her own work on rental property subject to the RRP rule and/or uses his/her own employees to do so, the landlord must be an EPA Certified RRP firm and only use trained and certified workers to do the work. If the landlord hires a contractor to do the work, the landlord does not need to be certified, but the contractor doing the work does. For more information, please visit the EPA website.

Tenant Responsibilities

What Tenants Need to Know

Tenants are required to keep the property clean and sanitary and notify the landlord of any needed repairs. Tenants who rent their home should report peeling paint to their landlord for prompt repair in a lead safe manner.  

Tenants can notify the Department of Licenses and Inspections if the landlord does not provide a safe and habitable property.  If a landlord does not make repairs, call 311 to request a home inspection by the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections. 

It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant, raise the rent, or change any terms of a lease when the rental property has been cited for a violation of the Philadelphia Code, or if the tenant requests repairs or reports the property to the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

Shared Responsibilities

The Philadelphia Property Maintenance Code sets out the requirements to ensure property is safe and properly maintained. Among other requirements, property must be weather-tight and all leaks should be repaired. Peeling, chipping, flaking or abraded paint must be repaired, removed or covered. 

All structures shall be kept free from insect and rodent infestation.  When needed, the property should be promptly exterminated with steps taken to prevent reinfestation.

By law, landlords must install smoke alarms in designated places in rental units. Tenants should check their alarms regularly to ensure they are operational.

For other legal requirements, please go to Laws and Regulations.