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Muncie’s Middletown Property Group settles with state for business practices, will refund some renters

By Stephanie Wiechmann, IPR News | Published on in Business, Government, Law, Local News
Middletown will pay back $35,000 to renters in refunds or credits. (Photo: Jacy Bradley, Ball State Daily News)

A Muncie property management group has settled with the state of Indiana for what the attorney general’s office calls “alleged misconduct” after hundreds of renters came forward complaining of problems.

The company does business under the names Middletown Property Management LLC, Middletown Property Group LLC, and more frequently in signs across Muncie, as BSU Rentals.  In an agreement with the state attorney general’s office, the company will have to stop using the last name.

It will also have to refund or credit renters a total of $35,000.

Middletown made statewide news last year when tenants shared their living conditions – like mold, standing sewage, and leaking roofs.  Tenants have said rents and mandatory fees are high, while emergency maintenance requests go unanswered for weeks or longer.

According to the AG’s office, Middletown will also have to stop charging an unrefundable “redecoration fee” instead of a security deposit.  It will need to remove “as-is” language from leases and abide by state law that governs landlords.  To make sure the company complies, it will be monitored by the office’s Homeowner Protection Unit for two years.

Middletown also has to reimburse the attorney general’s office $10,000 for its investigation.

Last year, the Muncie City Council complained that a 2020 state law restricts local governments from enacting measures to increase renter rights and penalize landlords.  The council said all Muncie could do was have the building commissioner’s office tag problems and fine the building owner.

Read More: Affordable housing is out of reach for a majority of renters in Indiana – and the problem is only getting worse.

In April, after a year-long investigation by the Ball State Daily News student newspaper, Middletown president and CEO Matthew Abner wrote to renters in a newsletter that Middletown is “improving our maintenance coordination and quality, refining our customer communication and working only with owners who will invest in their properties.”

Middletown says controls more than 3,300 residential units throughout Indiana, including in Muncie, Indianapolis, Crawfordsville, Anderson and other cities.

Stephanie Wiechmann is our Managing Editor and “All Things Considered” Host.  Contact her at slwiechmann@bsu.edu.