PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - A young college student was denied an apartment at Perry Lofts in Petersburg, even though she and her mother say they were initially approved.
They say the application process was drawn out to allow another applicant to move in. The regional manager says the student did not provide a key piece of documentation.
It's tough cutting through all of the "he said, she said" conversations, but Petersburg agreed to return a $100 holding fee to Ruth Nichols on Thursday afternoon. At the same time, it says it followed procedure, but Nichols says the truth isn't being told, and she disagrees.
Nichols, who co-signed for her daughter's apartment, believes the leasing manager made it difficult. She says they met every requirement only to be rejected after Perry Lofts Petersburg told them they passed a credit and background check and were approved.
"Discrimination is not just about color. It can be other means of discrimination. I feel like, this young lady, for some reason, either she wanted someone else in that apartment or she just didn't want us there," said Nichols.
"My theory is that she gave it to another person that she knew. That's what I honestly believe," said Nichols' daughter, Kellie.
Nichols contacted the regional manager for Perry Lofts, Petersburg and says she was shocked to learn her paperwork had not been submitted for the final step in the process.
"You are certain he said the paperwork was never sent? I am certain that he said the paperwork was never sent. That's what he told me. It was never sent to compliance, and he told me you all are approved," said Nichols.
On Thursday, we called and spoke with both the leasing manager and the regional manager. Both denied the allegation. The regional manager said she misunderstood him and the paperwork was sent to the compliance office.
"Under fair housing, it cannot be that way. If you are approved and you have all of your paperwork. That's who should have gotten the loft," said Nichols.
The leasing manager says she handled the applications based on the order they were submitted. The regional manager says the application was denied because Nichols' daughter did not submit the required four check stubs. Nichols says they did everything that was asked of them.
"If it happened to me, I just feel like it's happened to other people," said Nichols.
Fair housing laws do not apply in this case. The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and the presence of children. Experts tell us that it may be a legal matter between the two parties if the former applicants want to pursue it.
Copyright 2017 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved