Bats create problem for Chesterfield townhouse tenant

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A Chesterfield landlord cited for building code violations is talking about bats, at a Berwick Village townhouse he owns.

He says, tenants distorted his position, when they accused him on Tuesday of keeping their deposit and not fixing the problem.

Steve Lowe sent an email that says he found out about the bats the same time the tenants did and immediately tried to scare them away.

A month has passed since his tenants first complained and a building inspector is investigating.

NBC12 got close ups of the more egregious violations. But the county building inspector found seven breaches, the worst for the family living here, bats in the attic at the Chesterfield County townhouse.

"There's definitely bat excrement laying on top of the insulation. Their urine is running down the walls," said building inspector Jody Moncrief. "It has fallen on their grill. A little bit has fallen on their tables. Not a place, I wouldn't want my kids to be trying to play around in here."

Landlord Steve Lowe says, he installed an electronic device to scare away the bats, the day before Crystal Harris moved in, in August and she knew the bats wouldn't leave until their young could fly.

Lowe also says, he told crystal he would seal the openings to the attic when they finally ventured out to feed.   The tenant says that's not true.

"I feel like it is something he should have told me about and I could have had the option to say yes I want to move there or no I don't," said tenant Crystal Harris.

Other problems including not having smoke detectors, and electrical hazards, got the inspector's attention.

"If somebody were to come over here and twist the wrong nut on this, they could get shocked or killed," Moncrief said.

The landlord says as of today, all but a few minor repairs have been done.

"I just want to move," Harris said. "I just want my security deposit back."

Crystal wants her $750 security deposit now. But, according to the Landlord-Tenant Act, Lowe has 45 days to refund the deposit, if the property is left in good condition.

Meantime, Lowe is evicting Crystal for not paying September's rent.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.