Attorney General Shapiro Announces Settlement with State College Landlord

February 8, 2022 | Topic: Consumers

Secures $25,000 in restitution for tenants who were taken advantage of, many of whom were students at Penn State.

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced today that his office has secured a settlement with McKinney Properties Inc., a company that manages a number of apartment buildings in State College, including Calder Commons and Meridian on College Ave, that cater to students at Penn State.

As alleged in the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC), McKinney illegally charged a 15% Administrative Charge on top of damage/cleaning/painting charges assessed against tenants’ security deposits. This kind of added surcharge is illegal under the Landlord Tenant Act, according to the Commonwealth’s investigation.

“Some of these tenants were students away from home, on their own, for the first time and signing their first leases,” said AG Shapiro. “Schemes like these are Scams 101. My office won’t allow Pennsylvania students like these and others to be taken advantage of, we’re prepared to step up and protect their interests.”

In addition to the 15% fee, the AVC alleges that McKinney’s leases gave landlords the right to apply $100 of each tenant’s share of the security deposit towards repairing damage to shared common areas. The collection of these charges without proof that the damage was caused by a specific tenant is illegal under the Landlord Tenant Act, as the Commonwealth alleges.

Under the settlement agreed upon by McKinney, the company is barred from charging and deducting from tenants’ security deposits any administrative costs or fees associated with remedying damages, general maintenance and repair work, and painting and/or cleaning the unit upon move-out. McKinney is also prohibited from deducting from those security deposits damages to the common areas, without proof that the tenant caused the alleged damages.

Under the settlement, McKinney paid $25,000 in restitution to be distributed to consumers who file a complaint regarding the administrative charge or common area charge. To be considered for restitution, consumers should submit a complaint with the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection online at Complaints must be filed within three months of filing to be considered.

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