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(a) Any person subjected to any unlawful practice under this Chapter may file a complaint in writing with the Department under the provisions for filing complaints in Chapter 29.
(b) After receiving a complaint under this Chapter, the Department must conduct investigations and hearings authorized by Chapter 29 as necessary to resolve the complaint.
(c) If the Department finds that there has been a violation of this Chapter or any regulation, the Department may in its discretion:
(1) Attempt to conciliate the matter by conference or otherwise secure a written conciliation agreement; or
(2) Seek a written assurance of discontinuance signed by the developer and the Director; or
(3) Issue appropriate cease and desist orders; or
(4) Refer the matter to the County Attorney for injunctive or other appropriate legal action.
(d) Any person who violates any provision of this Chapter or fails to fulfill any obligation imposed by this Chapter or who makes any untrue or misleading statement of fact in the public offering statement or consumer guide or fails to state any fact required to be stated therein shall be liable for payment to the County of a civil penalty, recoverable in civil action, in the sum of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each such violation. Each copy of the public offering statement or consumer guide containing an untrue or misleading statement of fact or omission of any fact required to be stated therein shall constitute a separate offense. In addition thereto, the County may also proceed to enforce or correct any violations of this Chapter as a class A violation in the manner prescribed in Chapter 1, Sections 1-18 and 1-19 of the County Code.
(e) The criminal provisions of Sections 1-19 and 1-20 of the Montgomery County Code shall not apply to any violation of this Chapter.
(f) In addition to any other penalty herein provided, injunctive or other appropriate action or proceeding to correct a violation of this Chapter may be instituted by the County Attorney's office; and any court of competent jurisdiction may issue restraining orders, temporary or permanent injunctions or other appropriate forms of relief.
(g) Nothing herein shall prevent any person from exercising any right or seeking any remedy under this Chapter or exercising any right or seeking any remedy to which such person might otherwise be entitled or from filing appropriate complaints with a court of law or equity. (1982 L.M.C., ch. 2, § 1; 1983 L.M.C.,ch. 22, § 17; 1996 L.M.C., ch. 13, § 1; 2005 L.M.C., ch. 26, § 1.)
Editor’s note—2005 L.M.C., ch. 26, §§ 2 and 3, state:
Sec. 2. Regulations. A regulation which implements a function transferred to the Office of Consumer Protection by this Act continues in effect until otherwise amended or repealed, but any reference to any predecessor department or office must be treated as referring to the Office of Consumer Protection.
Sec. 3. Transition. This act does not invalidate or affect any action taken by the Department of Housing and Community Affairs before this Act took effect. Any responsibility or right granted by law, regulation, contract, or other document, and which is associated with a function transferred by this Act from the Department of Housing and Community Affairs, is transferred to the Office of Consumer Protection.