The opinion of the court was delivered by: SCHOONMAKER
This is an action under the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942, Sec. 205(a), 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix § 925(a), by Leon Henderson, Administrator, Office of Price Administration, to enjoin defendants from demanding, or receiving, rent in the Erie Defense Rental Area in violation of the price-schedule effective in that area under the provisions of Section 2 of that Act, 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix § 902.
A preliminary injunction was granted, and the case came on for trial on the complaint, answer and proofs.
The facts of the case are briefly these. By Maximum Rent Regulations No. 28 (Fed.Reg. 7, 4913) effective July 1, 1942, the Administrator fixed as the maximum rent for housing accommodations in the Erie Defense Area, the rents prevailing as of March 1, 1942. The defendant, George Daniel Baldwin, doing business as Baldwin Brothers, owns some five hundred and fifty housing units in the Erie Defense Area. Defendant J. Robert Baldwin also owns various housing units in this area.The defendant, Gladys Riede, owns approximately ten housing units in this area. These two defendants are employees in the Baldwin office in this area, and the rents on their housing units were collected at the Baldwin office.
Notwithstanding the Maximum-Rent Regulation No. 28 for this area, effective July 1, 1942, defendants, in the month of July, 1942, collected rents in excess of the rentals prevailing on March 1, 1942, from approximately one hundred and fifty tenants, refusing all tenders of rent made on the basis of the schedule of March 1, 1942. When tenders of July rent at the price-schedule of March 1, 1942, were made by check, the check was returned with the following notice by defendants:
"Check not acceptable. Kindly send it for the full amount. When the new rent law if finally on the statute books and has been properly interpreted by our courts, we will be glad to take up the matter of adjustment with you, should there be any. Until that time we must insist upon having you live up to the terms of your lease promptly.
In one instance, the tenant tendering a check by letter of July 3, 1942 (Gov.Ex. No. 14), gave defendants distinct notice that these rent regulations were in effect. This letter and defendants' reply are as follows:
"Treasury Department United States Custom Service Erie Pa July 3 1942
"Inasmuch as the Federal Rent Regulations prohibit a tenant from paying an amount of rent in excess of the March 1st 1942 level and by paying an amount in excess of this level constitutes a violation on the part of the tenant and due to the fact that I am in Government employ I cannot violate any Federal Regulations I am again enclosing a check in amount of ...