May 30, 2006
MANAGEMENT COMPANY SETTLES WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE
Consumers to get holding fees refunded
Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today
that his Consumer Protection Division has reached an agreement
with a Laurel, Maryland property manager, Equity Management, Inc.
concerning the collection of application fees from prospective
tenants. The Division alleged that Equity Management violated the
Maryland Application Fee Law and the Consumer Protection Act when
it collected fees from consumers to hold apartments but refused
to return the fees if the consumer did not sign a lease. Equity
Management agreed to refund to consumers the holding fees that
it kept since January 1, 1999 and to only charge application fees
permitted by the Application Fee Law. Under the Application Fee
Law, a landlord may charge a prospective tenant a fee of $25 or
less. If the landlord charges more than $25, they must refund any
amount that they did not use to cover the costs of processing the
application, such as running a credit check.
Consumers eligible for restitution under the settlement will be
contacted by the Consumer Protection Division.