PHRC disappointed with state appeals court ruling


March 23, 2023

PHRC disappointed with state appeals court ruling

Rental registration ordinance would protect renters in Pittsburgh

Harrisburg, PA- The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) is disappointed with the recent Commonwealth Court ruling that the City of Pittsburgh did not have the authority under Pennsylvania law to enact its ordinance to require rental home registration and inspections.

"53% of Pittsburgh residents are renters, said PHRC Executive Director Chad Dion Lassiter, MSW. "Of the more than 75,000 people who rent, we know this ruling will have a larger impact on protected classes. Everyone deserves to feel safe and live in a home that meets the city's building standards. I support the city's decision to appeal this ruling to the state Supreme Court and we will await to hear if the Supreme Court will take up this case."

"Decisions such as the one made by this court, have a disparate impact against individuals with disabilities which tend to be renters," said PHRC Director of Fair Housing and Commercial Property Adrian Garcia. "Additionally, the court states that the city of Pittsburgh 'did not have the authority under Pennsylvania law to enact its ordinance governing rental unit registrations, which would have required a per unit registration fee and a litany of other rules.' The rules they speak of are within the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling on the 'Implied Warranty of Habitability.' This ordinance could help affirmatively further fair housing and thereby minimize disparate impact discrimination against individuals with disabilities."

In 1979, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that tenants have the right to a decent place to live. This guarantee is called the 'Implied Warranty of Habitability.' It does not require the landlord to make cosmetic repairs, but it does require landlords to fix any serious defects that affect the safety of those living in the rental unit.

PHRC supports the rights of Pennsylvanians to safe, affordable housing in the area of their choosing and works to further fair housing opportunities throughout the Commonwealth. PHRC urges anyone who has experienced acts of discrimination or hate to file a complaint with the PHRC by calling 717-787-4410.  Information and resources are also available at


PHRC Media Contact Details

Amanda Brothman

Communications Director 771-856-5971
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Media