City records: Richmond apartment managers warned to resolve violations prior to forced evacuation
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Newly obtained images of deteriorating conditions inside a Richmond apartment complex that prompted city officials to shut it down. Residents at Grace Place Apartments were told last Friday to leave because it’s no longer safe to live there. It turns out these problems didn’t happen overnight.
City documents show apartment managers were told back in August there were a series of violations that needed to be resolved right away. When they weren’t, some two months later, inspectors took quick action.
“Please stop filming. Turn your camera off,” an apartment official said unhappily that media outlets were there.NBC12 stayed on the scene so that you could know exactly why this was happening.
City inspection records show that inspectors found rooms and stairwells damaged by water leaking from the roof back in August. In fact, the entire 11th floor has been declared unsafe due to severe leaking. Authorities say they even found standing water on the floor.
Authorities say a resident told them that the ceiling in her unit caved in and that the apartment officials allegedly wouldn’t move her into another unit, although they still expected rent.
Other issues remain of concern, including non-working elevators, alarms, and equipment to prevent and put out fires that require repair. After meeting with management this week, city officials say the complex has begun to reverse some violations. However, much more work is still to be done, meaning residents must continue living away from their own homes.
“They paid full rental value, and they haven’t gotten in return full rental value,” said Marty Wegbreit with the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. He wants to make sure people who live there fight for their rights by communicating with the apartment’s owners.
“They should be hearing from tenants who are justifiably angry and upset about what has happened because it is ultimately the landlord’s responsibility to maintain fit and habitable premises…Without proper fire suppression, alarms or elevators, only by the grace of God have they avoided tragedy, and no one should have to live like that.”
NBC12 reached out to the owners of Grace Place several times, but no response yet. City documents show the complex is looking for a contractor to sanitize the building since inspectors found the entire premises needs to be disinfected.
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