Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against University of Washington sorority Alpha Omicron Pi for unlawfully charging more than $6,000 in rent for a house some students could not live in due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lawsuit also includes allegations the sorority illegally charged late fees, threatened students with membership suspensions and damage to their credit if they did not pay.
Ferguson says the UW chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi violated the governor’s emergency proclamation and eviction moratorium.
Nine UW students complained to the Attorney General’s Office.
One student wrote in her complaint, “We are all college students, most of us living away from home for the first time. Alpha Omicron Pi has taken advantage of that and made us believe that our only option is to pay whatever they tell us or else risk being sued or having our credit scores ruined.”
“Tenants have protections for a reason,” Ferguson said. “Charging Washingtonians thousands of dollars for housing they cannot access due to a global pandemic is illegal — and wrong.”
Alpha Omicron Pi’s national office has not responded publicly to the lawsuit.
The Attorney General’s office has an online complaint form for those who feel their landlord is violating the state’s eviction moratorium.
So far, the office has received 6,716 complaints and contacted 5,243 tenants and 3,491 landlords.
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