BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) — Homes Direct Inc. has agreed to settle a case involving allegations surrounding its rental practices, including its use of rental agreements with an option to purchase residential properties, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh has announced.

Homes Direct, which advertises on the Internet and promotes its expertise in landlord laws, allegedly failed to comply with various provisions of state law. It purportedly drafted residential leases that contained illegal fees, required illegal security deposit provisions and conducted other abusive practices. Additionally, many homes rented out by Homes Direct were not habitable at all. Frosh’s office also charged the company with violating the Maryland Lead Risk Reduction in Housing Law.

"All tenants in Maryland have the right to hot and cold running water. All tenants in Maryland have the right to know their children are not exposed to lead paint poisoning," Frosh said. "The Attorney General's Office will continue to ensure that tenants in our state have safe and sanitary housing and are not subject to unfair and illegal lease terms."

Homes Direct agreed to provide tenants with new leases that comply with state law. The settlement includes certain restrictions on how Homes Direct can market and promote its business.

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