Attorney General Chris Koster has obtained a consent judgment against a Joplin landlord who allegedly engaged in price gouging and other violations following the May 22 tornado in the city.
After the tornado, David Box Jr., who rents apartments at Northside Apartments and Classic Townhouses, allegedly raised rent prices for tenants and required that they contact him within three days at threat of their units being leased to someone else, according to a news release.
Koster's office received complaints from 13 renters at the properties. The release points to two specific complaints: One renter was notified his rent would increase 25 percent to $595 per month from $475 per month, and two other renters were notified their rents would increase 16 percent to $550 per month from $475 per month.
Under the judgment, Box is prohibited from:
- further violating Missouri's Merchandising Practices Law;
- conducting business under names not registered with the Missouri secretary of state;
- raising rent under duress;
- raising rent without providing 30 days notice;
- requiring tenants to make decisions on their rent without at least a week notice;
- charging an excessive price for shelter in a disaster area; and
- taking advantage of renters' hardships by charging above market price.
Koster said Box also is ordered to pay restitution to victims and write letters of apology. He is required to pay a $5,000 civil penalty and all court costs and will be assessed an additional $5,000 if any of the terms of the judgment are violated, according to the release.[[In-content Ad]]