Regarding “Students in Yorktown face eviction,” Brittany Diggs, Oct. 14, 2008:
Those absentee landlords in Yorktown knew about this ordinance after it was signed in February 2005. There were public hearings and media coverage at that time.
They were soon approached by members of the Yorktown Stakeholders Committee with copies of the ordinance given to them each time we noticed construction activity in the different properties.
It seems they gambled that the city would not enforce the legislation since the Licenses and Inspections Commissioner Robert Solvibile (under Mayor John Street) was inefficient in enforcing that law. In the meantime, the city lost three year’s worth of revenue from uncollected penalties for illegally housing students that have come and gone.
This was like the children’s game of musical chairs, and this current crop of student renters are caught in the mix of a situation that is causing them a hardship.
Temple University students and their parents should pursue legal action against their respective absentee landlords. There are definitely money damages that can be documented, e.g. moving expenses, security deposit, and rent collected in an illegal tenancy.
These absentee landlords used fraud and deceit in offering and countersigning these leases. They made the students part and parcel to an illegal activity, thus creating a criminal as well as a civil wrong.
The fraud aspect should entitle student plaintiffs to recover treble damages from the absentee landlords as punishment for willful misconduct.
Yorktown Stakeholders Committee