NorthSteppe Realty

Franklin - Ohio State University's Student Housing Legal Clinic has filed a lawsuit and is seeking class action status on behalf of students against the local landlord. NorthSteppe Realty allegedly intentionally misled students about the cost of utilities, and then hit them with bills for hundreds of dollars when they moved out. The lawsuit accuses NorthSteppe of fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract and asks for compensatory damages, punitive damages and relief from paying the additional utility costs. Plaintiffs signed leases that listed a base rent plus a gas budget of $50 based on previous usage that was added to the rent each month. At the end of the lease, the tenant had to pay the landlord the difference between the actual cost and the $50 payments. When tenants moved out, they learned that their gas bills had been grossly underestimated; plaintiffs' bills ranged from $798 to $1,670. NorthSteppe allegedly set the gas budgets low to make students think the apartments were less expensive. The company went after students because they are inexperienced, transient and seldom have the resources to sue.

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