Tenant complaining about bad plumbing faces possible eviction

Your rights as a renter

PETERSBURG (WWBT) - Can a landlord show the house you’re renting while you are still living there?

A Petersburg woman is dealing with that dilemma after she complained her landlord wasn’t fixing a plumbing problem in her home only to find a “For Rent” sign in the yard. She also faces a court date to plead her case against being evicted.

Stacey Dubose says she washes in a bowl in the sink because sometimes the toilet backs up in her bathtub.

Dubose’s primary complaint is the plumbing and not being able to use her shower.

“Feces and urine sometimes come up and it’s disgusting," Dubose said. "The landlord tells me it’s not his responsibility and he’s not decorating the bathroom for me.”

Central Virginia Legal Aid Society said landlords Harold and Patricia Beasley have an obligation to make the repairs.

“The landlord can call it a bathroom make over all he wants," Martin Wegbreit with Central Virginia Legal Aid Society said. "If nothing more than providing working plumbing through the entire house is clearly the landlord’s responsibility. It can not be assigned to the tenant.”

But after lodging her complaints, Dubose is now faced with another problem. A sign was placed in her yard declaring the home for rent, though it does instruct potential tenants not to bother her.

That is legal, but the landlord has to be truthful about the situation.

“He also has to be truthful to the people he’s trying to rent to to say look there is still a tenant here," Wegbreit said. "I need to get the court’s permission to evict her and the judge may not do that if in fact she has a proper legal defense.”

Petersburg woman asks for help with plumbing problems

The Beasleys are trying to evict Dubose over a rent dispute. She says her payments are current and that the landlord altered the move-in date on her lease.

“It’s unfortunate she gave back the lease to the landlord and the landlord allegedly and probably truthfully altered it," Wegbreit said. "But, I think then the burden is going to be on her to prove with some other evidence that she really didn’t move in when the landlord says she moved in, but moved in a month later.”

Repeated calls, text messages and in-person attempts to reach the Beasleys failed until after this story appeared on TV. A few hours after airing Dubose’s complaint, the Beasleys returned a call and said Dubose had never once complained to them about the plumbing in the home.

They agreed to a sit-down conversation next week to address each allegation.

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