Bryan Cohen May 20, 2014, 2:52pm

WILMINGTON, Del. (Legal Newsline) - Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden announced a consent order on Friday that will require a Smyrna-area manufactured home community to refund money it allegedly collected in violation of state law.

Biden's office received multiple complaints from residents of the Bon Ayre manufactured home community in Smyrna alleging they were charged supplemental fees. Bon Ayre allegedly claimed in advertising promotions that tenants would not be responsible for the payment of real estate taxes. Tenants alleged that Bon Ayre subsequently modified its information sheets and sent out invoices billing its tenants for real estate tax increases dating back to 2006.

Biden alleged the new charges that were billed count as rent under the law and that imposing the charges violates Delaware's Manufactured Home Owners and Community Owners Act. The law limits a landlord from increasing a tenant's lot rent more than once annually.

"We're acting to ensure that residents of manufactured home communities are treated fairly and that community owners are held accountable to the promises they make and to their obligations under the law," Biden said.

Under the terms of the consent order, Bon Ayre agreed to remove language in all future leases that requires tenants to pay supplemental community fees, recalculate maintenance fees at the end of the calendar year and refund tenants the share of increased property taxes they paid. Bon Ayre is also prohibited from using any increase in property taxes as justification to increase tenants' rent.

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