RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond teen claims a day after her mother's death, property management locked her out of the apartment where she lived with her mother, even though her name was on the lease. 19-year-old Marisha Sampson called 12 On Your Side looking for justice.
Sampson says it was a difficult blow when her mother Cassaundra died in September. It was followed by another knockout punch when she says property management changed the locks on the unit that she shared with her mother at The Townes of River South in Richmond the very next day. Sampson had lived there since she was a little girl.
"We didn't understand why she just locked the doors," Sampson said. "My mom passed Sept. 1, she locked the doors Sept. 2."
She says notification followed from apartment management saying the apartment had to be cleared out in days.
"You're forced to throw all your stuff away and sell all your clothes and be pushed out of your mother's apartment and still grieving," Sampson said.
What baffles her the most is she's listed as a lessee on the lease. Her signature appears in several spots on apartment paperwork, and she says the rent was current. She says apartment management told her this was the procedure because her mother, the main lease holder, had died.
"She said it's by law she has to lock the door, but if I'm on the lease, you can't lock me out of my apartment," Sampson said.
On Your Side Investigator Eric Philips tried calling apartment management several times with no return call. Philips then called their corporate office in Florida multiple times and left messages. Nothing.
Philips went in person to the Townes at River South in search of answers, but suddenly the office was temporarily closed. An officer arrived minutes later and told Philips office management did not want him on their property.
Finally, Philips got a response from a corporate office out of New York. A spokesperson sent a statement which says:
But again, documents show Sampson listed as a lessee and she insists no one in her immediate family was contacted by management. She says she tried several times to get answers from management because she thought what happened was wrong.
"I'm supposed to have an apartment somewhere to lay my head, but she's already moved someone into my mother's apartment," Samson said. "I mean, that's fine, but still you left me out here homeless. I can't let it go. I just can't let it slide off the back burner."
Sampson says the apartment was quickly re-rented. Two attorneys NBC 12 consulted said this may have been a violation of the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. Sampson is considering legal action.
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