State Lawmaker Admits Not Fully Understanding Law

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BLOOMSBURG -- A family flooded out of their home last September now claims a state representative is trying to get them to leave that home in a month.

However, this time it was no evacuation.

State Representative David Millard wanted tenants Joe and Jeni Hassel and their child to leave their home in Bloomsburg because Millard found someone to buy the house.   

That buyer wanted to move in right away.

"So we would have to be out by November 30 of this year," said Jeni Hassel, who then asked, "What the heck are we going to do?"

Jeni believed the situation is more intimidating because her landlord is also a state representative.

Millard wrote a letter last week requesting the Hassels leave in a month even though their lease runs through June 1 of next year.

"Just the fear of it. We need to be out," said Jeni. "We need to leave. We don't know what is right and what is wrong."

"I'm not strong-arming anybody," said Millard who admits the prospective buyer of the home wants to move in right away.

He wrote the Hassels,
"...the lease would not convey to the buyer of the new home."

That's not true. By law, the lease would transfer to the buyer, who would have to honor the Hassel's lease, and Millard cannot force the Hassels out to complete the sale.

"It was wrong. I was wrong," admitted Representative Millard to Action 16 Investigative Reporter Dave Bohman.

When asked, "You're a state lawmaker, yet you don't know even know landlord/tenant law?" Millard said, "Boy, did I know you were going to come at me with that one. At the end of the day, we're all human."

Millar said he's not greedy, adding he let the Hassels and other tenants whose houses were flooded, live rent free for six months after last year's flood, while he fixed the homes.

As a result of our reporting, Representative Millard said he will now try to negotiate with the Hassels, to see if both sides can agree on a way to end the lease early.

The possibilities might include a buyout of the lease or an offer to pay for moving and a security deposit for a new place to live.