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Land Lord Agrees to Stop Automatic Early Termination Fees
May 16, 2008
Attorney General Steve Rowe announced today that Port Property Management, a Maine corporation which manages over 700 residential apartments in Portland and South Portland, has agreed to a Court-ordered Consent Decree which bars it from automatically charging an Early Termination Fee whenever a tenant has to leave the apartment before the lease has expired.
Port Property Management has typically charged tenants who leave early a fee of more than $600, even if it immediately re-rents the apartment. Automatic Early Termination Fees can be illegal if the landlord immediately finds a new tenant. Pursuant to this Consent Decree, Port Property Management is ordered to cease automatic termination fees and to refund money to tenants who were improperly charged an Early Termination Fee between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2007. Port Property Management must also pay a civil penalty of $10,000.
Maine Landlord/Tenant Law requires landlords to mitigate their loss when a tenant has to break the lease. Port Property Management did not admit to any wrong doing.
The Attorney General has already contacted many tenants eligible for the return of their Early Termination Fees. The Consumer Protection Division will purchase advertisements which will list the names of tenants it has been unable to contact. The names of the tenants not yet contacted can also be found on the Attorney General’s website. Following is the notice that will appear over the next three Sundays:
PORT PROPERTY MANAGEMENT TENANTS
The Maine Superior Court Consent Decree in the matter of State v. Port Property Management (CV-08-138) requires Port Property Management to reimburse tenants who were charged an Early Termination Fee if their apartment was immediately re-rented to another tenant. The persons listed below may be eligible for reimbursement. If your name is listed below please contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at: 1-800-436-2131 or (207) 626-8849 or write us at: 6 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333 or firstname.lastname@example.org. In entering into the Consent Decree, Port Property Management did not admit to any wrongdoing.
May 16, 2008 David Loughran, (207) 626-8577
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