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UNITED STATES v. KING

July 16, 1952

UNITED STATES
v.
KING et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY

The United States brings this action against Vernon King and Virgie King, defendants, because of rent overcharges in violation of Section 206(a) of the Housing and Rent Act of 1947 as amended, 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix, § 1881 et seq. The authority of the United States to bring such an action is found in Sections 205 and 206(b) of the Act, as amended.

The complaint demands, among other things, an injunction against the defendants to prevent further violation of the Act, judgment for three times the amount of the total overcharges received from the tenants within one year from the date of the institution of the instant suit or, alternatively, if restitution to the tenants be ordered, judgment in favor of the United States for twice the amount of the overcharges.

 The Court makes the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law:

 Findings of Fact

 1. The premises, 345 Mercer Street, Butler, Pennsylvania, are and were at all times material to the instant cause situate in the Pittsburgh Defense Rental Area and as such were 'controlled' housing accommodations subject to the terms of the Housing and Rent Act of 1947, as amended, and the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto.

 2. During the year 1947, the defendants, Vernon King and Virgie King, purchased the aforesaid premises 345 Mercer Street, Butler, Pennsylvania, and during the time set forth in the complaint, to wit, from February 5, 1948 to October 4, 1949, were the landlords of accommodations in said premises within the meaning of the provisions of the Housing and Rent Act of 1947, as amended.

 3. During the period from February 5, 1948 to October 4, 1949, the second floor apartment and an unfinished attic on the third floor of premises 345 Mercer Street, Butler, Pennsylvania, were occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Baldiga as tenants of the defendants, Vernon King and Virgie King.

 4. The Baldigas paid the sum of $ 50 per month during the period from February 5, 1948 to October 4, 1949, to the defendants, Vernon King and Virgie King, for the aforesaid second floor apartment and third floor unfinished attic.

 5. The unfinished attic on the third floor of premises 345 Mercer Street, Butler, Pennsylvania, during the period of occupancy by the Baldigas, consisted of one large unfinished room, and one wood-partitioned room, neither of which was suitable for living quarters.

 6. The tenant, Joseph Baldiga, installed water pipe leading to the third floor during the period of his occupancy, but no fixtures were ever installed.

 7. The only means of access to the third floor attic of the premises 345 Mercer Street, Butler, Pennsylvania, was through the second floor apartment of the said premises during the period of occupancy by the Baldigas.

 8. Prior to 1947, the premises 345 Mercer Street, Butler Pennsylvania, were owned by Howard Barnhart.

 9. From August, 1946 to February, 1948 the second floor apartment, together with the unfinished attic of premises 345 Mercer Street, Butler, Pennsylvania, was occupied by Mary Jane Chambers and her mother as tenants of Howard Barnhart and of the defendants during their respective ownerships.

 10. The former tenant, Mary Jane Chambers, used the aforesaid attic for storage purposes.

 11. The former tenant, Mary Jane Chambers, paid the sum of $ 25 per month during the period from August, 1946 to March 28, 1947, and $ 28 per month from March, 1947 to February, 1948.

 12. In March, 1942, John Chermitski occupied the second floor apartment of premises 345 Mercer Street, Butler, Pennsylvania, as a tenant of Howard D. Barnhart, paying the sum of $ 25 per month as is evidenced by a registration statement filed by Mrs. C. D. Barnhart on behalf of Howard Barnhart.

 13. Under date of December 31, 1946, Howard Barnhart filed a petition for increase in rent, which petition was accompanied by a letter dated January 13, 1947, and which letter referred to the subject premises as an apartment consisting of separate entrance, four rooms, bath, ...


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