For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: October 25, 2007

Attorney General Reaches Settlement with Emmett Property Management Companies

(Boise) – The owners of two Emmett property management companies must refund any unpaid security deposits to former tenants and change their business practices, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. The legal settlement with the Attorney General resolves allegations that Michael and Linda Lowe violated the Idaho Consumer Protection Act and Idaho’s landlord-tenant laws by misleading property owners and tenants.

The Attorney General’s Office received six complaints from rental property owners between October 14, 2006, and May 21, 2007. The out-of-state property owners reported that they had contracts with the Lowes to perform property management services for their Idaho properties. The property owners complained the Lowes failed to make the required rental payments to the property owners or return rental deposits to tenants.

The rental contract the Lowes required tenants to sign said that the tenant security deposits would be held in a trust account at a local Idaho bank. Instead of maintaining a trust account, the Lowes allegedly placed the money in their general operating account. Tenants were misled into believing their security deposits were secure when the deposits were actually being used for the Lowes’ operating expenses.

“If you are a former tenant of Triple L Enterprises, Inc., or Arbor Properties and did not receive a refund of your security deposit, you may file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division,” Attorney General Wasden said. Consumers may download and print the consumer complaint form from the Attorney General’s website or request a complaint form by calling (208) 334–2424 or (800) 432–3545.

The settlement agreement restricts the Lowes to managing no more than 50 properties at one time. The settlement agreement also requires the Lowes to do the following:

  • Provide property owners with accurate and timely accountings.
  • Employ and supervise a qualified accountant to maintain all financial records.
  • Respond timely to all communications from property owners and tenants.
  • Provide a written lease agreement to all tenants.
  • Maintain a trust account at an Idaho bank for tenant security deposits.
  • Return a tenant’s security deposit within 21 days of the tenant vacating the rental.

The settlement agreement also requires the Lowes to maintain proper registration of their businesses with the Secretary of State’s Office, provide the Attorney General with an accounting of their business income and expenses during the past two years, and to respond to all complaints filed with the Attorney General or the Better Business Bureau. The Lowes also must reimburse the Attorney General’s Office $2,049.80 for investigative fees and costs.

The Lowes owned Triple L Enterprises, Inc., and Arbor Properties, property management companies in Emmett, Idaho. The Lowes currently operate Villa Enterprises, Inc., and Award Property Management Services.

Although the Lowes signed the settlement agreement, they admitted to no wrongdoing.

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