Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bill Would Stop Landlords from Taking Seniors' Money

Current legislation in Harrisburg would prohibit Pennsylvania landlords from claiming state funding meant for senior residents.

Eligible Pennsylvanians are entitled to a rent rebate of much as $650 each year, funded by lottery revenues. But State Representative Chelsa Wagner of Allegheny County (Brookline) says landlords are adding lease provisions that claim half or all of that money.

Wagner says her bill would protect senior, widowed, and disabled citizens from a predatory practice often seen in personal care homes.

She says the state Department of Public Welfare hands out a lease template to personal care homes.

“In the Department of Public Welfare’s own template, they actually include that provision, that the landlord is going to take ‘X amount’ of the resident’s rent rebate,” says Wagner. “Not only is this permitted; essentially, our state is condoning it.”

Wagner says seniors are only eligible for the rent rebate because they can’t pay their bills, so it’s wrong to take that money away from them.

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