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Attorney General Reaches Settlement with State College Property Management Company

by on April 02, 2019 3:55 PM

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said on Tuesday that his office has reached a settlement with a State College-based property management company following a review of its security deposit practices

The Bureau of Consumer Protection alleged Continental Real Estate Management deducted a 15 percent "administrative fee" from tenants' security deposits upon termination of their leases, which the bureau said was in violation of the Consumer Protection Law and impermissible under the Landlord Tenant Act, which stipulates a landlord may only withhold "the actual amount of damages..."

From 2012 to 2015, Continental Real Estate collected an average of $79.70 per tenant in administrative fees, according to an assurance of voluntary compliance filed in Centre County Court of Common Pleas. The attorney general's office said the administrative fee was a surcharge that bears no relation to actual damages.

The company has since stopped collecting the fee and has agreed to issue refunds to former tenants. Continental paid $30,000 in restitution and $10,000 in penalties.

Former tenants must file a complaint with the Bureau of Consumer Protection by May 31, 2019 to be eligible for restitution. Continental rents apartment and townhomes around State College to students and professionals.

“This property management company gets an A for cooperating with my office and responsibly agreeing to change its business practices and provide restitution to consumers,” said Shapiro said in a statement. “College students are trying to secure their future, dealing with rising costs and navigating living on their own for the first time—these unfair leasing practices were an additional burden. This company should be a model of how Pennsylvania companies can work with my office to correct violations and protect consumers.”

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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