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On Your Side Investigation Update: Free rent promotion in Springfield

Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 6:26 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -Remember this On Your Side Investigation?

Back in June, we told you about a free summer rent promotion in downtown Springfield. It left this tenant with a $9,000 bill. Now her balance is zero.

The sign for Park East Apartments got Kristina Murdaugh’s attention.

“It was appealing. I thought what could hurt to inquire?” asked Murdaugh.

She took a virtual tour and picked an apartment. She got an email that says “Housing Application”. She filled out the paperwork, which included the lease agreement. She signed it. Then she got an Adverse Action letter. She must pay two months of rent immediately or have a co-signer.

“I told them I don’t have the money. I can’t meet your terms,” she said.

She moved on and found a different place. When On Your Side asked Park East management for an interview, we were told they can’t discuss anyone’s lease.

In the fine print of what Murdaugh signed, it reads ‘resident accepts financial responsibility to pay all rent for the duration of the contract’.

She got a letter stating she needs to pay nearly $9,000 or the account goes to collections.

“That’s one of the things I was so afraid of. Not only would it completely destroy my credit score, but there’s a good chance of seeing a mark on your credit from a leasing company could affect my ability to rent. So they had a huge amount of power over me ... in my buying potential and where I live,” Murdaugh said.

She filed a complaint with the Attorney General. It went to mediation. Her balance is now zero.

" It was going to tank me. I’m extremely grateful,” she said.

Always read the fine print.

For contracts, especially lease agreements, have a trusted person review those documents before you sign.

To report a correction or typo, please email news@ky3.com

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