Tenants File Lawsuit Against Landlord Running Unlicensed, Dangerous Properties in Somerset County, Maryland

Tenants File Lawsuit Against Landlord Running Unlicensed, Dangerous Properties in Somerset County, Maryland

Maryland Legal Aid (MLA) filed a lawsuit in Somerset County Circuit Court against Eric Sessoms and Mt. Vernon Group, LLC, who owns roughly 40 rental properties in Somerset, Worcester, and Wicomico Counties. The case stems from Mr. Sessoms and Mt. Vernon Group’s renting out properties in Princess Anne and Crisfield without a rental license. The two properties each have dozens of safety and code violations. One family lives in an insect-infested home, plagued by bedbugs and roaches, while the other family lives in fear of an electrical fire, due to the severe and dangerous electrical problems in the home. The conditions in both homes fail to meet housing code standards and Mr. Sessoms has failed to address these fundamental issues as required by law. 

Mt. Vernon Group and Mr. Sessoms advertised a $2,500 security deposit for each property, but then later increased the security deposit to more than two times the monthly rent – which is illegal. The Defendants violated the Maryland Consumer Protection Act and the Maryland Fair Debt Collection Act by seeking rent on their unlicensed properties. Lastly, Mr. Sessoms and Mt Vernon Group retaliated against both tenants by trying to evict them after they complained about the dangerous conditions which they have a right to do. The Defendants’ retaliation is illegal.  

Due to Mt. Vernon Group, LLC and Eric Sessoms’ conduct, the Truitt and Vance families have suffered extreme emotional distress, enduring sleepless nights worried about unsafe and unhealthy conditions in their own homes.  

Supervising Attorney for Maryland Legal Aid’s Lower Eastern Shore Office Jamie Miliman said, “MLA warns tenants in Somerset County to be wary of these illegal and predatory tactics by landlords, particularly those families who are struggling to find affordable housing. It is important to do your research to make sure the property you are renting is licensed and does not have serious health and safety violations. If you are living in a rental property that you believe is unsafe or unhealthy, please reach out to Maryland Legal Aid or other legal resources to find out about your rights and get help.”  

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Contact Jennifer Lavella, Director of Marketing and Communications at jlavella@mdlab.org for more information or to request an interview.