Apartment tenant upset with cleanup, how to get landlord to make repairs

Apartment tenant upset with cleanup, how to get landlord to make repairs

MIDLOTHIAN, VA (WWBT) - A tenant at Midlothian Village apartments says a massive leak in her apartment was like a volcano boiling over. She sent NBC 12 video and asked for our help.

The leak was stopped, but the tenant says the cleanup was less than adequate. We talked with both sides in this complaint.

Some tenants just stop paying rent if they can't get repairs done. That's a bad idea, because you could get evicted. In this instance, we went to the property manager, who says they have responded to every complaint and they promise to do more.

The mother of three wants to make sure her family is safe and their apartment is fit and habitable.

"I have kids so I'm worried about mold." said Monique Stephens.

Because of a massive leak, which she says has happened on two different occasions, she worried about their health. She videotaped the most recent leak and talked to NBC12 about it.

"There's water running from my bathroom. It's leaking into my walls, into my carpet. It's leaking into my hall closet. It's also leaking into my living room," said Stephens.

Stephens is concerned that even though the leak has been repaired, there may be hidden damage and possibly mold in the walls and carpet.

"If there's mold, which I'm pretty sure there is, get the mold up. We're people too. Even though it's income-based and we don't pay a lot, we still pay and those that don't pay they still live. Come on. No one deserves to live like that," said Stephens.

There's a legal procedure tenants must follow when repairs are asked for and the landlord is slow to deliver.

"I think most people would say dwellings, apartment places should not have mold, and if they have mold, that makes them certainly unfit if not also uninhabitable," said Marty Wegbreit of Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.

Written notice to the landlord on what you want done and when is crucial.

"The initial burden is on the tenant to provide that written notice to the landlord, and then the burden shifts to the landlord to do something about it and make sure the premises are fit and habitable," said Wegbreit.

Stephens believes she's being dismissed. NBC12 made a visit Tuesday to the property manager. She was cooperative but declined to speak on camera.

Diane Walker: "You know who I'm talking about?"

Property Manager: "Yes. She's one of our tenants."

Diane Walker: "So, you'll talk to me about her situation off camera?"

Property Manager: "Ah, as much as I can."

Diane Walker: "We'll turn the camera off and hopefully get some answers."

The property manager researched work orders for a kitchen stove, broken heat pump and new carpet. She said parts had just come in for the tenant's heat pump. The kitchen stove she thought was working fine. She promised to send someone over to check the carpet this week.

"I got so fed up. I'm tired," said Stephens.

You can also make arrangement through General District Court to pay your rent through an escrow account until repairs are made.

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