State College Landlord Settles Over Unlawful Fees, Promises Restitution for Student Tenants

Litigation© Ivan Kmit / Canva

HARRISBURG, PA — A State College-based landlord, Greek Housing Services, Inc., has been held accountable for charging student tenants an unlawful administrative fee against their security deposits. The settlement, recently announced by Attorney General Michelle Henry, marks a significant victory for students who often face financial constraints.

Under the settlement, Greek Housing Services is now prohibited from charging the contentious administrative fee against security deposits. Moreover, the landlord is obligated to return these deposits in a timely manner. As part of the settlement, Greek Housing Services will also pay $10,000 in restitution, which will be disbursed to eligible former tenants who were impacted by the unlawful charges.

“Students are often under financial restraints, and they do not expect their landlord to increase that burden by charging unlawful fees,” said Attorney General Henry. “This landlord took advantage of students by requiring that tenants waive rights to which they were lawfully entitled, then proceeded to charge illegal fees.”

Greek Housing Services, which owns two properties and manages a third, rented to fraternity and sorority houses in State College. The landlord had been charging student tenants an administrative fee of up to $67.50 after each semester since 2017. These fees, dubbed as “Office Time”, were deducted from the students’ security deposit, violating the Landlord Tenant Act and the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.

Further, Greek Housing Services was found to have failed in providing students with detailed information about the actual damages charged against the students’ security deposit to justify these charges. The landlord also required students to waive rights guaranteed under the Landlord/Tenant Act.

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Tenants who lived in properties owned or managed by Greek Housing Services between 2017 and 2021 and believe they were charged an administrative fee, are encouraged to submit a complaint with the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Complaints must be filed before March 18, 2024.

Under the settlement, Greek Housing Services agreed to stop charging administrative fees against tenants’ security deposits, provide tenants with detailed invoices of the alleged damages at the end of each semester, return security deposits to tenants within the required thirty days, and cease requiring tenants to waive statutorily protected rights concerning security deposits.

The settlement was filed in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas by Senior Deputy Attorney General Paul D. Edger.

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