Settlement Reached with Warren County Landlord Who Shut Off Water to Occupied Properties

May 14, 2024 | Topic: Consumers

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Michelle Henry announced a settlement with a Warren County property management company regarding allegations that water was unlawfully shut off to occupied properties.

Miller Properties Group, LLC and its owner, Jason Miller, disconnected water service to rental properties as a method of “self-help” — that being a landlord’s illegal actions to force eviction or removal of tenants — without first obtaining a court order of possession, as required by the Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Act applicable rules of civil procedure.

The Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in response to tenant complaints, took action that prompted Miller to turn the water back on and pursue evictions legally.

“This action should send a message to property owners — self-help is not a legal option,” Attorney General Henry said. “The law is clear that self-help is not an acceptable or lawful way to address tenants who are delinquent on rent payments.”

The settlement agreement, in the form of an assurance of voluntary compliance, was recently filed with the Common Pleas Court of Warren County. The agreement also reflects that Miller Properties Group also violated the Pennsylvania Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act (FCEUA), which governs debt collection practices in Pennsylvania. Specifically, FCEUA prohibits creditors from taking action that cannot legally be taken and from taking any non-judicial action to dispossess a debtor from property if the property is exempt from dispossession. The Attorney General’s office enforces the FCEUA.

Under the terms of the settlement, Miller Properties Group and its owner agreed to comply with all applicable laws and pay a civil penalty of $500.

Tenants who believe they are being forced out of their rental properties due to self-help measures are encouraged to contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection at 800-525-7642 or visit the Attorney General’s website PA Office of Attorney General for information on filing a complaint with the Office.

# # #