HARRISBURG — Attorney General Michelle Henry announced that the Common Pleas Court of Allegheny County approved a settlement that hundreds of former “rent to own” tenants of Vision Property Management will keep deeds and ownership of their homes.
In 2021, the same court ordered judgment by default against Vision Property Management and other defendants, which resulted in deeding more than 250 Pennsylvania homes to residents who were living in the homes under what the Office of Attorney General alleged were unlawful “lease with option to purchase,” and “agreement for deed” land installment contracts or mortgages.
Since then, some of the defendants pursued appeals to challenge residents’ right to own the homes. This settlement approved by the Court resolves that the consumers who were deeded the homes will keep the homes, free and clear of any claims from these defendants.
Additionally, the parties to the settlement agreed to refrain from ever again engaging in residential real estate transactions in Pennsylvania.
“These homeowners have been under distress as to whether they are indeed entitled to retain ownership of their homes. This settlement, adopted by the court, offers them final assurance,” Attorney General Henry said. “This settlement will also provide restitution to consumers who were unlawfully evicted from their homes before our litigation began.”
The Common Pleas Court action, filed in 2019, was against Vision Property Management LLC, subsidiaries that operated in Pennsylvania, and masterminds Alexander Szkaradek and Antoni Szkaradek. The homes offered by the defendants under the “rent to own” scheme were often dilapidated and unsafe. Mostly low income consumers were lured into the scheme based on nonexistent promises of home ownership.
In a related action, the court also approved, on Jan. 3, a settlement between the Commonwealth and eight other defendants referred to as the Archway Defendants, who were separately owned by a private investor, but engaged in the same allegedly unlawful “agreement for deed” and “lease with option to purchase” transactions under the Vision Property Management umbrella. The Archway Defendants agreed to pay the Commonwealth $250,000 to settle claims against them, and deeded the several homes they owned in the Commonwealth to the consumers living in them.
There are still four defendants remaining in the ongoing litigation: ACM Vision V, Alexander Szkaradek, Antoni Szkaradek, and Vision Property Management. The Consent Petition approved by the Court clears the path for the Office of Attorney General to vigorously pursue the remaining Defendants, seeking restitution for consumers who had a contract with Vision but who were no longer occupying the homes at the time the litigation was filed in 2019.
The Vision Property Management litigation has been handled by Senior Deputy Attorney General Susan Apel.
# # #