Head of Virginia property management group says training is needed to ensure fair housing

Head of property management group says training is needed to ensure fair housing

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The head of the state property management group says it is fighting every day to make sure landlords know how to look out for the best interests of tenants. In fact, he had one reaction when he saw the NBC12 report involving a landlord who used offensive and profane language to a tenant who asked for repairs..

"Appalled. I had seen the story and actually referenced it in my classroom teachings Tuesday. I had 25 students in there that were absolutely aghast that somebody would be treated like that,” Patrick McCloud said.

He teaches fair housing classes every month. It’s part of his work as the head of the Virginia Apartment Management Association where he trains landlords.

"First, we have the straight out legal training, what the law says you can do, what the law says you cannot do…The second component of what we do is train on the soft skills, the customer service aspect of it,” he explained.

He does it in hopes of avoiding issues like what was seen by the one landlord. A Richmond landlord was captured on audio calling his tenant the N-word and referring to her with profanity when she asked for repairs to the home she was renting.

"It’s extraordinarily disturbing to know that we still have to deal with that across this country and no one deserves that,” McCloud added.

McCloud says that particular landlord is not a part of his association, one that prides itself on professionalism at all costs.

"We try very hard to make sure all the professionals in the apartment industry understand that and are hired accordingly so that customer service is at the top of the list,” he continued.

After NBC12’s report, the NAACP requested a meeting with the landlord. The group said Tuesday, the landlord has not responded to their request. Nor has he responded to NBC12’s request for comment. But the community is talking. Some 100 people showed up to a housing justice forum in Richmond over the weekend. Renters discussed major problems they’ve had with landlords as housing advocates work to overcome those challenges.

"Quality housing is one of those things that is something everyone needs regardless of your socioeconomic class. Everyone needs a place to live,” he said.

It’s why McCloud says the local housing industry will continue to work towards that goal.

"In this business, very honestly if you don’t like dealing with people, you’re not the right fit for this business,” he said.

Organizers say the housing forum gave people a chance to vent about their issues. The NAACP is organizing a follow up forum in a few months to discuss solutions.

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