PHILADELPHIA, PA – Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker (9th District) today introduced a bill to help crack down on scammers who create fraudulent residential leases by imposing fines and making it easier for victims to seek restitution in court.
The bill would prohibit someone from renting a residential property to a third party if they do not own the property, have the legal authority to occupy the property, or are permitted to rent the property to a third party. Violators would be subject to fine of up $1,000, in addition to other applicable fines, penalties, and imprisonment under Pennsylvania law. The law would not apply to tenants who sublease a property without the owner’s authorization because breaches of legitimate residential leases are addressed under state landlord/tenant law.
“The purpose of this bill is to establish a civil penalty for individuals who create fraudulent leases and a private right of action for the victims – both the property owner and the person who has been scammed,” Parker said. “We hope that it will provide a stronger deterrent to those who prey on unsuspecting individuals simply trying to find a place to live.
“This legislation evolved from conversations with stakeholders regarding my squatter bill (Bill #180741) and meetings of the Task Force on Illegal Possession of Real Property, in addition to first-hand accounts from constituents victimized by fraudulent leases.”
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Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker represents the 9th District, which includes East Mt. Airy, West Oak Lane, East Oak Lane, Lawncrest, Burholme, Olney and parts of Oxford Circle and Logan. She is Chair of Council’s Committee on Labor and Civil Service and Vice Chair of Council’s Committee on Commerce and Economic Development.
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