Salt Lake County apartment complex charges outlawed 'police fees' to tenants
SALT LAKE COUNTY —
(KUTV) — Lisa Bierly paid $11.55 every month to her former landlord at the Holladay On Ninth Apartments. It was a fee that, according to her lease, went to the Unified Police Department.
"I thought it was strange that we'd have to pay a police fee, because we pay police fees in our taxes," Bierly said.
Lisa questioned the fee with the property manager.
"She told me that they get a bill at the office [from UPD] and that everybody's got to pay it," Bierly said.
But that's not true, according to the UPD.
"They said, 'No, we do not send out a bill,'" Bierly said.
Lisa has since moved, but believes she and her neighbors are due a refund for a so-called "police fee" that doesn't go to the police.
"It's a fraud," Bierly said.
The UPD did, at one point, charge a fee to those working and living in Salt Lake County, but that fee was scrapped in 2010 when the Legislature outlawed it.
So, if it's illegal, how did it show up in Lisa's lease?
Her former apartment complex’s attorney told Get Gephardt by phone that it simply never got deleted from the lease.
Still, tenants will not be getting a refund. The apartment is applying all that money to cover their taxes, the lawyer said.
But attorney Marty Blaustein with Utah Legal Services says landlords are supposed to be clear about all the fees and taxes tenants face in a lease.
"I think that's a misrepresentation," he says of the police fee in Bierly’s contract. "It's going to taxes? That's a bunch of crap. It says in the lease agreement it's going for police, that's where it should go. Period."
Blaustein says he thinks people who were told they're paying a police fee when such a fee has been banned should absolutely demand a refund and consider complaining to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection.
"People are paying fees that are not authorized by the legislature," he said.
Lisa says she's not done fighting for her money back.
“I think a lot of people are due a refund," she said.
The UPD confirmed they never received money for this police fee for the past several years.