State shuts down rental-referral business for questionable practices
August 30, 2012
NEW — 2:45 p.m. Aug. 30, 2012
The state Attorney General’s Office said Thursday a rental property referral service has agreed to stop accepting fees from apartment seekers and provide refunds to customers.
In King County Superior Court, attorneys from the Consumer Protection Division filed a consent decree, or voluntary agreement, with Chad Hurn, owner of Seattle-based Northwest RentPad, LLC — also known as Rentpad NW. The company included listings for Issaquah and other cities in the Greater Seattle area.
“Hurn told consumers that he would provide lists of rental properties that specifically matched their needs and use his supposed expertise to find rental properties for people with eviction or criminal histories,” Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Steele said in a statement. “Instead, he gave consumers lists of properties that were unavailable, uninhabitable or unsuitable.”
In signing the consent decree, Hurn is prohibited from directly or indirectly charging or accepting fees consumers for any service related to providing rental housing, and must also pay $1,000 in attorney fees to the state.
Steele said Hurn charged consumers $350 for referral services and told them the fee was refundable. But customers said Rentpad NW often refused refund requests.
“I had to once again call about 30 times to get through to someone, when I finally got through, I was told that Abraham was to be calling me as soon as I hung up the phone,” a consumer wrote in a complaint to the Attorney General’s Office. “I have wasted $350 of my hard earned financial aid money… I am a single parent.”