Pa. man barred from operating rental properties

Nick Rees Nov. 24, 2008, 10:00am

Tom Corbett (R)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) -- A Pennsylvania man has been permanently prohibited from operating rental properties or acting as a landlord in the state following a consumer protection agreement with the attorney general.

Numerous complaints were filed by residential and commercial tenants against Cory Paul Johns of Elizabethville, Pa., in Dauphin, Schuylkill and Perry counties, after he posted notice in August 2008 that tenants must vacate his properties by September 15.

"Pennsylvania's Landlord Tenant Act establishes clear guidelines for the handling of leases and evictions, along with the rights of tenants and the obligations of landlords in these situations," Attorney General Tom Corbett said. "In this case, eviction notices were sent to more than 50 tenants who were in the midst of valid lease agreements and had not broken the terms of their leases; a violation of the Landlord Tenant Act and the Consumer Protection Law."

Johns allegedly also violated Pennsylvania's Plain Language Consumer Contract Act with contracts that were not written, organized and designed to be easy to read and understand.

Under terms of his Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with the state, Johns can no longer act as a landlord or operate rental properties in Pennsylvania.

Johns has already voluntarily turned over some of his properties to various banks and sold the majority of rentals units. The agreement requires Johns to honor all lease terms on the remaining properties, address all maintenance issues and continue all utilities his is responsible for until the leases expire or Johns sells the properties.

Johns must also return $4,110 in tenant security deposits and pay additional consumer restitution for valid claims submitted within 90 days to the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Johns will pay an additional $5,000 in civil penalties. Another $30,000 in suspended civil penalties will be enforced if Johns violates terms of the agreement or Pennsylvania's Consumer Protection Laws.

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