Refunds coming for some Md. renters

John O'Brien Oct. 16, 2008, 4:12pm


BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) - Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler has stopped a property management company from refusing to return some applicants' security deposits and charging certain fees.

JPI Apartment Management Co., which manages apartment complexes in Baltimore, Howard, Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Prince George's counties, will also pay $30,000 in investigative costs to Gansler's office, restitution for affected consumers and $50,000 in civil penalties.

Gansler alleged the company was collecting security deposits from prospective tenants with their rental applications, then not returning the deposits when the applicants were offered an apartment but did not take it.

"Tenants who apply to rent apartments cannot be forced to give up deposits if they choose to rent elsewhere," Gansler said.

"In addition, it is important that tenants be given notice of their rights when completing a lease application and that property managers provide this notice. I am pleased that consumers will be receiving refunds and that this property manager has agreed to change its practices."

JPI also deducted liquidated damages from security deposits, failed to provide consumers who paid deposits with receipts and collected deposits in excess of the statutory limit of two months rent, Gansler alleged.

He also said the company charged excessive application fees. Gansler's office will be contacting consumers eligible for refunds.

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