Henrico apartment fire victims angry they were charged for stora - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Henrico apartment fire victims angry they were charged for storage of damaged items

The fire in March displaced 21 people. (Source: Henrico Fire) The fire in March displaced 21 people. (Source: Henrico Fire)
HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

12 On Your Side is taking action for fire victims angry over the way their apartment management company is treating them.  

After a fire at the Tuckernuck Trail apartment complex off of Parham Road, renters say they're facing storage fees and unsafe conditions.

On March 3, 21 people, including a child, lost their homes when their building went up in flames.

"Everything is gone," said Kasey Neely, one of the fire victims. "Nothing was salvageable." 

Photos show the roof caved at her apartment. She says she had a hard time even getting access to her place. 

"They would never answer the phone," Neely said about the management company, King Properties and Tuckernuck Trails, LLC.

Then when Neely turned in her key and got her deposit back, she spotted an extra fee.  A receipt shows management charged her $188, a storage fee for five days. 

"It was kind of like a slap in the face," she said.

And she's not the only one.

Jonathan Inge's apartment was condemned.  There were holes in his ceiling and inches of water. In his case, his receipt shows management took out $266 for a storage fee of nine days. 

"The apartment complex is worse than a storage locker and you're charging me triple what it would regularly cost to have one," he said.

NBC12  reached out to King Properties and Tuckernuck Trails, LLC for an explanation.  A statement says, in part, "we made every effort to work with residents' as their respective Renter's Insurance claims were processed and their salvageable personal belongings were removed."

NBC12 ran this issue by Martin Wegbreit with the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. 

"The charges have to be agreed to by both parties; that's why we have agreements," he said.  "The landlord simply does not have the right to charge this money."

And this isn't the only complaint.  Joseph Ronan, whose apartment is right below and right next to two condemned apartments, wants to break his lease, but says management won't let him. 

"From my bedroom back is deemed unsafe," he said, showing the fence that surrounds the bedroom window.  "Mold is starting to grow on the walls. You can see there was probably three or four inches of water inside my apartment at one point."

Ronana has hired a lawyer and is putting rent into escrow. Tuckernuck Trails, LLC says Ronan's apartment was cleared by the fire marshal and inspector and wouldn't comment because there is now a court case.

Here is the full statement from Tuckernuck Trails, LLC about Ronan's situation:

After receiving notice from Henrico Dispatch, a management representative responded to the complex at 3AM, and remained on scene until all units were secure and Dominion Power had restored services.

All questions and concerns were addressed in a timely, professional matter.

Mr. Ronan's apartment is not in the same part of the building that sustained the fire. The Henrico Fire Marshal and Inspector cleared his, and 5 other units to re-occupy the same day the fire occurred. Due to pending litigation, we have no further comment.

While some units were deemed uninhabitable by Henrico officials, the units and their contents were securely held at the former residents' request. For everyone's safety and security, reasonable access was allowed during normal business hours. The items were held to allow Renters Insurance companies time to send in their claims adjusters, complete the damage assessment, and remove salvageable items.

Despite the need to rapidly remove water-logged items from the building to protecting the adjacent occupied units and the structure from further damage, we made every effort to work with residents' as their respective Renter's Insurance claims were processed and their salvageable personal belongings were removed. Due to pending litigation, we have no further comment. Utilities are billed by the service provider and are not a part of the lease.

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