Wheelchair-bound tenant says Richmond apartment won't accommodat - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Wheelchair-bound tenant says Richmond apartment won't accommodate her disability

Source: NBC12 Source: NBC12

A Richmond woman contacts NBC 12 after she says she was lured into a new apartment, that didn’t deliver what she was promised.

Susan Reuben is wheelchair-bound, but says a leasing agent at The Flats at Ginter Park told her they had a wheelchair-accessible unit that she could live in. When she went to move in, she claims they changed their story.

“I do my own laundry. I do my own cooking,” she said while watching dishes. It's what helps Susan Reuben feel independent. "I don't have help. I have to go to the grocery, do my laundry. I have to do everything by myself."

Back in August she says she paid a partial deposit to move into an apartment at The Flats at Ginter Park that would have a ramp outside her door. But come move-in time....

"They say 'I'm sorry but someone has rented it to someone else…We have another apartment. It doesn't have a ramp but the contractor will come out in a week and build one for me,'" Reuben explained. That was three months ago. "’We will come tomorrow. We will come tomorrow’ and still no answer…They keep telling me the person is out, the property manager is out."

In fact, that's what staff told NBC12 crews when we showed up to the Leasing Office. NBC12 even emailed to get the leasing office’s side of the story
but no answer yet.

"Tenants do have legal rights,” says Marty Wegbreit of the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. He points to federal Fair Housing laws. "It provides for both reasonable modifications and reasonable accommodations. A reasonable modification is an actual change to the structure, such as a ramp. The general rule is that all landlords have to provide reasonable accommodations -change their rules, practices, policies, procedures if necessary to house a person with a disability."

If they don't, he suggests taking the matter to court - pay the court your monthly rent - and let a judge handle the case. That's what Reuben is doing.

"I keep telling them I need the help because I can't do nothing and I'm in a lot of pain,” she explained.

At one point, Reuben took a board out of her closet and put it in front of her door to try to get in and out but she says the complex took it away.  Last month while trying to go get groceries, she fell.

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