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U.S. attorney settles with apartment owners over treatment of military families

January 13, 2012 |  7:32 pm

The owners of three apartment complexes near Camp Pendleton have been charging illegal fees when Navy and Marine families have to move because of deployment orders, the U.S. attorney's office said Friday.

The owners have agreed to stop charging such fees and to start complying with the World War II-era  Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, meant to keep military personnel from being gouged, under a settlement with the U.S. attorney's office.

In one case, a Marine and his family are being excused from paying more than $10,000 in improper fees, according to U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy.

The act, among other things, allows military families to break leases when the service member is deployed overseas or reassigned to another base. It also protects such families from being sued in absentia.

The issue was referred to the U.S. attorney's office by the legal office at Camp Pendleton.

Involved are the Waterleaf Apartment Homes and Villa Del Mar Apartments in Oceanside and the Prominence Apartments in San Marcos.

--Tony Perry in San Diego