Madsen celebrates passage of bill to address tenant relocation costs

HARRISBURG, March 27 – State Rep. Dave Madsen, D-Dauphin, announced the passage of his legislation on Tuesday to provide support to tenants who find themselves displaced due to the negligent upkeep of rental properties.

House Bill 1549 seeks to address the hardships faced by tenants when their housing falls into disrepair and is subsequently condemned, resulting in unsatisfactory living conditions and the potential need for relocation.

"Ensuring safe housing means holding landlords accountable for their negligence. My legislation aims to shift the burden from tenants to landlords, providing crucial support to those displaced by unfit living conditions," Madsen said. “We worked with both local landlords and rental housing advocates to ensure that this legislation was balanced and would receive bipartisan support.”

Under the current system, tenants bear the burden of the financial costs associated with forced relocation caused by the landlord's failure to maintain their rental property. This can include the expenses of moving and finding comparable housing, as well as the emotional stress of losing a home and the pressure to relocate within a short timeframe.

Madsen credited Steelton Mayor Cierra Dent and her team for their instrumental role in bringing this issue to his attention and for their insight and collaboration in crafting the bill.

The bill would mandate that landlords provide financial assistance to permanently displaced tenants equal to six months' rent paid by the tenant in the event that their rental property is condemned due to code violations or deemed unfit for human habitation.

The legislation seeks to amend existing laws to explicitly state that landlords have an unequivocal duty to provide safe, clean, and habitable housing for their tenants. By affirming this responsibility, the bill aims to prevent future instances of neglectful property maintenance and encourage landlords to prioritize the well-being of their tenants.