A proposed class action claims Infinity Management and Investments and one of its property owners have violated state law by assessing tenants cleaning and damage charges for normal wear and tear.
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The 19-page lawsuit more specifically alleges that the property managers wrongfully retain tenants’ security deposits—and even assess additional charges beyond the deposits—to cover ordinary wear and tear to paint and flooring in their units. According to the suit, such cleaning and damage charges are expressly prohibited by state laws that aim to protect tenants from “predatory” landlord practices.
As the case tells it, Infinity Management specializes in managing properties that cater to low-income and senior tenants. Per the complaint, its apartment complexes—located throughout Montana, California, Idaho, Nevada, North Dakota and Oregon—qualify for government subsidies under affordable housing programs such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Section 515 program.
The filing contends that the defendants “prey on the poor and the elderly” in that the companies know that “few, if any, of their residents will seek legal redress” for the allegedly unlawful conduct. Their tenants—who are among the most vulnerable populations in their communities—typically lack access to resources needed to shine light on exploitative practices or enforce their rights under state law, the lawsuit relays.
“[The defendants] know charges for ordinary wear and tear are illegal, and they know their tenants are the members of their communities least able to afford to pay those charges,” the suit asserts. “They expect, however, that their tenants lack the sophistication and resources to hold them accountable for the illegal charges.”
To make matters worse, the case claims, the property managers, when a tenant’s charges exceed their security deposits, send any unpaid amounts to collections.
“This further degrades the financial health of the tenants by impacting their credit, which in turn makes access to credit more difficult and the cost of credit more expensive,” the complaint adds.
According to the filing, the plaintiff in April 2023 moved out of the Colorado Village Apartments, a complex located in Whitefish, Montana, and owned by co-defendant Whitefish Investment Group. Included in the list of estimated move-out charges that Infinity Management assessed the woman was a $260 fee for paint touch-ups and a $180 charge for carpet cleaning, the lawsuit says.
In addition, the plaintiff claims Infinity Management unfairly sent her unpaid charges to a collection agency even though she had waited months for the company to issue her a document listing the final amount she owed.
The suit notes that Infinity Management owns the following properties in Montana:
Ashley Creek Court Apartments
Aspen Place Apartments
Colorado Village Apartments
Columbia Arms Apartment
Cottages At Edna Court
Depot Place Apartments
Meadowlark Vista (Ronan)
Maple Street Cottages
Kalispell Senior Apartments
Spring Creek Apartments
Spring Creek Apartments 2
Sunny Slope Vista Apartments
Superior Commons Apartments
Teakettle Vista Apartments
Teakettle Vista II Apartments
Treasure Manor Apartments
The Riverside Apartments
Treasure Manor Apartment
Two Mile Vista Apartments
Two Rivers Apartments
Yellowstone Commons Apartments
Westgate Senior Apartments
Westwind Village Apartments
The lawsuit looks to represent any residential tenants of any property managed by Infinity Management who, during the statute of limitations period, were charged any amount for normal wear and tear that is prohibited by state law. The suit adds that this covers those whose charges were in excess of the actual costs, even if charging for normal wear and tear is not prohibited by state law.
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