HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - It's probably the worst plumbing disaster a tenant can experience: an exploding pipe from the upstairs apartment that sends sewage seeping into yours.
It happened to a Henrico woman. Maintenance crews at Cambridge Apartments responded, but she tells On Your Side Investigators the cleanup was less than adequate.
Lighting a fire under an unresponsive landlord is not Tiffany's problem. Managers at Cambridge Apartments - The Wilton Company did respond initially and a couple times after that. The tenant says she just can't get them to clean up the smelly mess the right way.
Renters have rights, and one of them is the right to a safe and livable home regardless of the rent. Tiffany says her problem started when her upstairs neighbor used the commode while Tiffany was in the shower.
"She flushed her toilet upstairs, and whatever she flushed started coming out of the shower drain, black stuff," said Tiffany. "It smelled like poop. It got on my feet."
Tiffany says she jumped out of the shower and ran into her living room, where she spotted even more of the smelly mess.
"I see a big puddle of black water just kind of oozing out from underneath the door. My floor is soaked in whatever was coming up out of the pipes. It smelled like poop," said Tiffany.
All this happened Saturday, and Tiffany says the property manager sent in a contractor. He repaired the busted pipe and maintenance did a cursory clean up Tiffany says, but no one disinfected her home, and that's the core of her complaint.
The utility closet has much of the evidence still in it. Pipes that were once white in color are brown, and she's concerned it's harming her health when her heating and air system kick in.
"They can come and disinfect it. They can remove the flooring and replace it with new flooring so I don't have to have a floor that was soaked in sewage, toilet paper and poop that's under my water heater," said Tiffany.
Management sent another person Wednesday to clean, but still Tiffany says it wasn't properly done. We paid a visit to management on Thursday. We were told it's the first they've heard the tenant was not happy.
Here's how our interaction with the property manager at Cambridge apartments went:
On Your Side Investigator Diane Walker: "We talked to her again today and there's tissue and splatters of human waste on the walls in the utility room."
Property Manager Melina Velasquez: "I also followed up with the tenant, and she said everything was okay. I am going to reach out to her again."
On Your Side Investigator Diane Walker: "Are you willing to send a company? A professional company in to clean?"
Property Manager Melina Velasquez: "Absolutely. Absolutely."
Velasquez says they will meet Friday to make things right. Meantime, If you have a problem that persists, be current in your rent. Give your landlord written notice and time to fix the problem. If you don't get results, you can arrange a rent escrow account with general district court.
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