Rent To Own Statutes Affecting Your Business

by Tina Berg - Date: 2010-02-21 - Word Count: 517 Share This!

Although the judiciary, symbolized by a blindfolded woman holding a balance, is supposed to be impartial - we all know better. While most federal judges are appointed for life in order to relieve political pressure on them, state court judges usually have to run for office and get themselves elected just like any other politician. Thus, in adddition to the vagaries of different rent to own state laws, the RTO legal situation is complicated by the fact that these laws are adjudicated by judges susceptible to political pressures. And, the record is that over the years many rent to own issues have been treated unfairly and inconsistently by judges in all state courts, from small claims to bankruptcy to appellate courts. State supreme courts in particular have been quite harsh for RTO businesses. The issue of lease versus sale has so far been reviewed in five state supreme courts, with two losses and three wins for the industry. The Association of Progressive Rental Organizations is instrumental in monitoring all state legislation which affects the RTO industry. Throughout the country there average twenty-five bills each year which can affect RTO and most of them are prejudicial. APRO is vigilant in fighting to assure a legal evironment in which RTO can thrive.

Besides the differences between individual states' legislation and judicial reviews, since 1993 there have been 7 federal rent to own statutes which could cripple the national rent to own industry. These laws would pre-empt the existing state RTO laws which protect the rights of rent to own dealers to conduct their businesses. For the past two sessions of Congress, United States Senator Charles Schumer (D., NY), one of the most powerful members of the Congress, introduced bills to the Senate which if enacted would annihilate the rent to own business. Fortunately, APRO's government relations and grassroots organizing saved the RTO industry each time it was attacked.

APRO continually defends the RTO industry's right to do business. For the past seventeen years, APRO dealers from across the country have met yearly in Washington D.C. with Senators and Representatives to promote and protect the rent to own industry. Rent to own dealers, vendors, and employees unite to explain the rent to own story directly to members of Congress as well as their staffs. With APRO's support, Rep. William L. Clay has obtained a large number of rent to own bill co-sponsors for his RTO bill pending in the House of Representatives. This Consumer Rental Purchase Agreement Act of 2009 (H.R. 1744) is a regulatory bill which defines rent to own transactions as a lease. This act requires full disclosure of consumer pricing, disclosure of advertising, and reinstatement rights. It is a good and fair bill, striking a balance between protecting the consumer on the one hand, and allowing small businesses to remain competitive on the other. But there is more work to do. Further congressional action to regulate financial institutions could have a detrimental effect on the rent to own industry. Therefore APRO is vitally concerned with helping to correct the misconceptions which legislators might have about the RTO business.

Related Tags: rent to own state laws, rent to own statutes, rent to own bill co-sponsors

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