Penn students settle suit over living conditions

Posted: January 29, 2013

Six students who sued the trustees of the University of Pennsylvania for poor living conditions in an off-campus house reached a settlement with the university Monday.

A representative of the University of Pennsylvania confirmed that settlement was reached. According to court documents, two of the plaintiffs, Zachary Opperman and Andrew Green, filed a declaration of withdrawal and the motion was granted withdrawn without prejudice on Monday.

The terms of the settlement were confidential.

The six plaintiffs initially filed suit in early December, claiming they had lived in deplorable conditions in their university-owned house for nearly 12 months during the 2011-2012 school year.

The tenants claimed that Campus Apartments, the University-owned group responsible for their housing, did not fulfill maintenance duties when the students made complaints about poor living conditions such as rodents, mold and leaks.

According to the original statement by the plaintiffs, "the severity of the existing issues only compounded due to inaction" by Campus Apartments. They asserted that the condition of the house was deteriorating "despite multiple, significant attempts" to contact their landlord for assistance.

When the students complained about a leak that led to a collapsed ceiling in March, Campus Apartments came to the conclusion that the leak was the tenants' fault, and charged them nearly $7,000 in repairs.

This led the students to sue the university for the full amount of the lease, the amount that Campus Apartments charged for damages, and their security deposit, which had been taken from them after the incident in March.

A representative from Campus Apartments declined comment.


Contact Hillary Siegel at hsiegel@philly.com.

 

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