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The rent-to-own deals designed to fail | Morning Newsletter

And the teens who snatched hope from a street performer

    The Morning Newsletter

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It’s Tuesday, and today’s top story is one of the little guys beating big lenders — in this case, a rent-to-own real estate company that misled hundreds of Pennsylvania renters into thinking they’d be owners within years.

Also, we bring you the story of a cellist who lost more than the tips teens stole from her on the street. And the Johnny Doc trial has City Council reconsidering the side-hustles its members are allowed to have.

— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr,

The idea of rent-to-own sounds good — until it’s not.

Vision Property Management acquired homes and signed contracts with existing tenants saying that, with a down payment and monthly rent, renters could own their homes before long. But confusing contracts and more made it difficult for renters, many with poor credit or no means to buy outright, to realize this American Dream.

Now a judge has ruled that the renters were misled — and ordered Vision to give hundreds of renters in Pennsylvania their homes. Our reporter Michaelle Bond has more on a seemingly happy ending.

What you should know today

  1. Law school hopeful, good student, a great son. Friends and family react to the senseless killing of Temple student Samuel Collington.

  2. City Council is debating limits on outside employment for lawmakers after Bobby Henon’s bribery conviction in the Johnny Doc trial.

  3. Is the Omicron variant serious? Very. Should you do anything beyond what’s suggested now to protect yourself against COVID-19? Not yet, say Philly local health officials.

  4. Fewer Pennsylvania residents are vaccinated against COVID-19 than previously reported.

  5. Shocking crimes in mere months have officials questioning the safety of SEPTA riders.

  6. Moshe Porat, the former dean of Temple’s business school, was found guilty on fraud charges relating to the school’s rankings scandal.

  7. The celebrity physician known as Dr. Oz is set to join Pennsylvania’s wide-open Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

  8. A West Philly workforce program has helped add 600 staffers in just 10 months to the Naval shipyard in South Philly.

  9. And shoutout to Philly’s own Japanese Breakfast and Jazmine Sullivan, who were nominated for multiple Grammy Awards.

  10. Local Coronavirus Numbers: Here’s your daily look at the latest COVID-19 data.

Chances are you’ve heard Aijee Evans’ cello.

When she’s not doing private gigs, one of her favorite pastimes is serenading the streets of Philly. She’s done it happily for years, with little fear of people coming for her or the money passersby leave in her tip box.

So when a group of teens grabbed that box and took off with it, Evans says they robbed her not just of money she would use to buy groceries — but her view of how safe she really is.

This story is the second in as many weeks from our columnist Helen Ubiñas that unwraps Philly’s often hard exterior for a look at the people within.

🧠 Philly Trivia Time 🧠

There’s this amazing story of a counterculture movement that found a home in Northeast Philly, courtesy of six young Jewish couples over 50 years ago. Today’s question: Do you know what it’s called and its importance? Take a guess and then check out this enlightening story for the answer.

Photo of the day

Thanks for spending your Tuesday morning with The Inquirer. Time for me to get that second cup of coffee and seize today. I hope you do the same. 💪