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What is the Pennsylvania law on Abandonment of a rental property

Carlisle, PA |

I moved out of my apartment and turned in my key intending to surrender/abandon the apartment to the landlord. It was my understanding that abandonment terminated the lease, but she seems to believe that such is not the case and has asked me to continue to pay rent. If I am still paying rent, can I get the key back for the time being. If that is the case, I want to keep showing it to potential assignees and/or keep her from remodeling on my dime.

Attorney Answers 1


Unless the lease itself indicated that abandonment terminated it (which would be very unusual) then your unilateral abandonment will not terminate the lease unless the term was up. In other words, you are bound to pay the rent for the entire period of the lease. Note, however, the landlord has a duty to mitigate his or her damages. This means that the landlord must actively search for a suitable replacement tenant and cannot idly sit back and accrue a debt from you. Landlords are normally financially motivated to turn properties and re-rent the so hopefully the vacancy period does not last long. The landlord can still sue you for rent with respect to any time under the contractual term that the property was not occupied.

Stew Crawford, Jr., Esq.

Crawford Law Firm
A Full Service Law Firm Serving Pennsylvania & New Jersey

Philadelphia Area Office
223 North Monroe Street
Media, Pennsylvania 19063


All information provided in this comment is intended for informational purposes only and does not, by itself, create an attorney client relationship. If you wish to consult with an attorney, or have any questions concerning this comment, please feel free to contact our offices through any of the above contact sources.

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Nellie T. Schulz

Nellie T. Schulz


In Pennsylvania, landlords under residential leases do not have a duty to mitigate damages.

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