PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Don't skip the home inspection, even if you're purchasing a home through a lease option to buy. It's just not worth the risk, as a Petersburg couple soon found out.
Alfred and Lakeisha love the house but say they've run out of patience waiting on repairs.
Landlords and tenants rarely ever agree on how things transpired. Here, the tenants say they trusted the landlord to repair what's broken, so they gave $4000.00 and signed a lease-to-buy contract.
The property manager says the couple was in a rush to move in, so he allowed it and tried to work with them.
Every house has its secrets, but there's not much mystery here. Big problem-items start at the front door, which appears to be on the verge of coming unhinged.
In the hallway and most of downstairs, the flooring looks nice, but in some places, the floors rise and fall with soft spots and sloping one side higher than the other.
"Right here, it feels like there's no support," said tenant Alfred Winfield, stepping on a soft spot. "Right here, it feels like it's going to give right here."
The closet designed for the family's heating unit... has none. The house has no heating system, and in the kitchen they have an electric stove they can't use. The kitchen is hooked up for gas.
"He told us he would wire it for electric, is what he told us, and he never did that," said tenant Lakeisha Goode.
Their lease-to-buy agreement includes a $3,500 deposit plus the first month's rent. The tenants say they're holding up their end of the contract but say the landlord isn't.
"I have no more money," said Winfield. "I just have no more money."
I reached out several times to the company manager for Noel Properties, LLC Anthony Balthrop. He sent me two emails.
The first states he's aware of the situation and is working to install the heat pump and new line for the electric kitchen stove. He goes on to say his electrician has been ill and the couple won't let him in the house.
They say it's not true.
"I send him a text message, saying 'Wow, Why are you ignoring my calls?' I call him the next day, he tells me 'Look, don't call my phone anymore. I'll call you,'" said Winfield.
The second email from Noel Properties to me threatens a trespassing complaint.
He included surveillance video of each of my visits to his office, and in essence, says don't come back.
Noel Properties Manager Anthony Balthrop says: "Up to this point we have followed through on everything promised in our agreement but it has just been
a scheduling issue with our workers and the weather."
"Love my house. I gave you my money expecting for you to work on this house," said Goode.
We will continue to stay on top of this story. Meantime, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors, an inspection costs about $500 and takes about three hours. You should also ask the seller for a copy of the CLUE report - Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange. It will list every insurance claim filed on the home over the past seven years.
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