Two West Chester rental companies accused of illegally imposing bogus fees on students renting their luxury apartments have reached a settlement with state authorities, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office announced Wednesday.
West Chester Commons L.P., College Arms, L.P., and Walters Pennsylvania 1 Inc. - the partner of the previous two - were accused by authorities of charging "turnover" and "operational" fees to West Chester University students renting at the West Chester Commons and College Arms apartment complexes.
According to the settlement, during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 lease terms, the companies required each resident who signed a lease to pay a one-time "turnover" fee of $200. During the 2011-12 year, the companies instead began charging an "operational fee."
Both fees are a violation of the Landlord Tenant Act, which does not allow fees other than a security deposit. The companies were also accused of violating the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.
As part of the settlement, the companies must pay restitution to eligible consumers and pay the state $27,500. Eligible consumers - those who rented between 2008 and 2012 and were charged these fees - should file complaints with the Bureau of Consumer Protection before Feb. 3.