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Your Rights as a Tenant

With the current housing shortage, it’s important to know and understand your rights as a renter. Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a tenant is very important and can lead to a good relationship with your landlord.

As a tenant, here are some general duties:

Keep the unit safe and clean.
Not deliberately or negligently damaging the unit.
Not disturbing other residents.

Here are some key rights:

Fair Warning: your landlord or building manager should never enter your unit without giving you at least 24 hour notice. In the case of an emergency and your landlord or building manager entered your unit, they must let you know within 2 days afterwards.
Security Deposit: your landlord must hold your security deposit in a federally insured interest-bearing account financial institution located in PA. That way, your landlord’s personal finances will not affect the return of your deposit. NOTE: Your landlord must also tell you what financial institution they use.
Security Deposit Return: your landlord must return your security deposit within 45 days of you vacating the property.
Security Deposit Deductions: if you’ve taken care of the property and there are no damages, you should be receiving your security deposit in full. However, if there are damages, your landlord is entitled to deduct the cost of repairs from your deposit. If that happens, your landlord must provide you with an itemized statement of damages within 30 days of the date you vacate the unit.
Minor Repairs: if you’ve notified your landlord that something is in need of repair and your landlord fails to take care of the problem you have the right to request in writing for repairs to be made within 14 days. Then, if the problem is still not fixed you are legally allowed to hire someone to fix the problem. Then, you have the right to deduct the cost from your next month’s rent. You can deduct up to $500 or 1/2 month’s rent, whichever is more, but not to exceed one month’s rent.
Major Repairs: if repairs are more serious than a leaky faucet you need to submit a written request for the repair to be made within 14 days. If nothing is done within that time, you have the right to terminate your lease and must move out within 30 days.
Essential Services: you’re required to receive heat, running or hot water, electricity, gas, and plumbing. If after written notice on failure of the above services and there is no remedy, you have several options: 1) have alternative services instated then deduct those costs from your rent 2) pay for another place to stay and deduct the cost of those accommodations from your next rent check 3) if within 72 hours your landlord has not fixed the issue, you have the right to terminate the lease and vacate within 30 days.
Subleases: you’re required to find a suitable subtenant of whom your landlord approves without charging you additional fees. If for some reason the new tenant does not work out, you are still responsible for paying rent for the rest of your lease. NOTE: Sublets are only allowed IF it specifically permits them in your lease.  IF the sublet does not pay, you are still responsible to the rental terms.
Late Rent: your landlord may charge you a late fee.
Retaliation: as a tenant, you are protected by law against any retaliation on the part of your landlord. You are free to complain to government agencies, officials, police officers, landlord etc. without fear of retaliation. Your landlord is prohibited from retaliating by terminating or threatening to terminate a tenancy, increasing rent, decreasing services, etc.

Click HERE to read the Tenant-Landlord Handbook.

Click HERE to read the Federal Fair Housing Act.

Click HERE for information on the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Questions? Reach out to me at 717.963.0016 or email at

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Gina Casner

In 2016, I began my tenure in real estate as a licensed Executive Assistant for a leading real estate training coach and subsequently for high-producing real estate teams. I very quickly fell in love with real estate and by 2019, I transitioned into personally helping clients turn their dreams into keys. After dozens of transactions, I have been dubbed the “unicorn hunter,” finding out-of-the-box solutions for clients looking for a home with unique requirements. In addition to managing my real estate practice, I am involved in providing community education on responsible home ownership through my exclusive Path to Home Ownership workshop series. I also am the founder of Chronically Strong, an organization that promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention in our local communities. I take a holistic and individualized approach to real estate. Buying or selling a home in Central PA can be complex, sophisticated and often a deeply personal endeavor. Your experience should mimic the high level of customer service all of my clients have, while being very specific to your own individual needs. I work with a team of experts to provide a full, complete experience that only a cohesive team can consistently provide. Working with us, you will be given personal attention in every aspect of your home buying and selling experience with the professionalism and consistency of a thoughtful business model. And yes, superior results will follow! On a personal note, I attribute my success not only to my passion for helping clients execute on their next “big move”, but also to my knowledge regarding the psychology of buying and selling. My clientele works in diverse industries with an emphasis on technology, finance, medicine, law, and business. My real estate practice has grown successfully and consistently thanks to the repeat business of happy clients and their introductions to friends, family and neighbors. This track record is only possible because we deliver both results AND an enjoyable experience. Growing up, my family moved frequently all across the continental U.S., but you will hear me say that I am from California because that is the longest place that I lived during my formative years. Moving became a way of life for my family and each place I lived became a part of my story. It taught me that our home truly is the foundation of everything in our lives, and it is this belief that compels me to work hard for my clients when they are buying or selling their home. In many ways, our home becomes a part of our identity, an identity and memory that should be honored. I have been accused of being tenacious and super honest. I like to win (for my clients) but do so with a calm demeanor and a smile. I live in a raised ranch home in Lower Paxton Township with my main squeeze, my teenage son, and our very spoiled dog, Ginger. I have mad faith, and truly believe that each and every one of us is capable of great things. I graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelors’ in Sociology. There is a running joke in my family that every day I go to real estate school because every day my clients teach me something new. I continually invest time, money and thought into the latest sales, marketing and negotiation techniques. Why? Because I believe that you deserve to have the best working for you. I want to live life on my own terms, and am committed to helping you do the same. Would you like to work together? Please reach out. I look forward to hearing from you! Gina

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