‘We shouldn’t be living like this’: Delmont Plaza residents asking for improved maintenance, communication from landlord

Residents of a Henrico apartment complex say they are exhausted and feel ignored.
Published: Oct. 17, 2023 at 2:51 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2023 at 3:05 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Residents of a Henrico apartment complex reach out to 12 On Your Side, saying they are exhausted and feel ignored.

Delmont Plaza residents are asking for changes and more responsiveness from the property owner.

“We deal with floods. Floods and bugs. Roaches, to be exact,” explained Juanita Jones.

Jones is one of many who have called Delmont Plaza home for years. She says a change in ownership also brings property management and maintenance issues.

“We just recently got maintenance on Monday, the 21st of August, and the emergency number that we received, we can’t actually call,” she said. “He asks, why do we have his personal number? 2020 to 2021, it was okay. It just is going downhill and getting worse. We shouldn’t be living like this.”

Called 12 On Your Side after her apartment flooded three times
Called 12 On Your Side after her apartment flooded three times(NBC 12)

The day before Jones says new maintenance started, her apartment flooded due to what firefighters deemed was an issue with her water heater.

“The fire department told me to try to get in contact with my landlord. I told them that was hard because we couldn’t get in contact with anyone,” Jones said. “This has been our third [flood], but this has been the worst one. It is going to happen again.”

Just a few doors down from Jones, the On Your Side Investigators met with Shellisa Wheless, who dealt with toilet flooding twice in a week. She says she notified management in the past that her toilet was not working well.

“I called the emergency maintenance number the first time [it flooded], he said, call the office in the morning,” Wheless said. “The second time, no one answered. No one showed up. I left a voicemail. No one called back.”

Called 12 On Your Side after her toilet flooded damaging her ceiling.
Called 12 On Your Side after her toilet flooded damaging her ceiling.(NBC 12)

During the second incident with the toilet flooding, the mom of young kids ended up calling the fire department for help.

“I had to call the fire department just so they could cut my power because I didn’t know if that was going to affect the electricity. I was really scared for that,” she said.

With the toilet in a second-floor bathroom, the water was seeping through the ceiling into pots and pans that Wheless placed on a table. Water was also leaking near a light fixture. The leak eventually caused a hole in the ceiling.

“I’m tired. I work hard. I don’t hang out. I just I work, and I come home and take care of my kids,” Wheless said. “It’s very depressing. When something goes wrong, I don’t have no one to call in my apartment, but the emergency help from the fire department and police.”

After first meeting with Wheless, she says her toilet was eventually fixed, but she continues to deal with other issues.

“They fixed the toilet. They fixed the ceiling, but the mice have gotten worse,” she explained. “I’m looking to move. I’ve been trying to move, but my credit’s not good. So it’s like I’m just stuck until someone gives me a chance and trusts me in their property.”

In July 2023, Henrico County building inspectors visited Delmont Plaza, sending notes to the property owners and suggesting how to proceed with repairs.

“It is the opinion of my staff that the current management is being responsive, and we will work to ensure that any further concerns are addressed in a timely manner,” a building inspector supervisor wrote to NBC 12.

Also, in July 2023, a Delmont resident’s Facebook post was shared hundreds of times as she continues to lead the change for residents to get answers and help. The full post can be found below:

“Delmont Plaza Residents are tired. Don’t have a landlord, maintenance man or a lease. If something break in ur apartment, it’s best to learn how to fix it yourself. In 2 yrs, we have had 4 different landlords, and now we don’t have a landlord or maintenance man at all. Residents have call or email 2 TV stations, sent them emails and call them no response at all. We also notify HUD and still waiting to hear from them too. Facebook friends and family, can y’all please help the residents in Delmont Plaza found some one who can help us. We have a lot of residents without Air also. Thank you. If you know someone that can help us right away, please let me know.”

Leading the charge to make changes at Delmont Plaza
Leading the charge to make changes at Delmont Plaza(NBC 12)

Felicia Ford says residents come to her often for help. She says one of the other issues tenants deal with is no official lease for the property since 2021.

Ford says she questions who has been cashing her rent checks each month.

“I have been paying to Delmont Plaza in a money order. I asked the new landlord who has been cashing my check. She hasn’t gotten back to me yet,” said Ford.

Ford said she also recently dealt with an issue with her water heater. A malfunction sent her electric bill skyrocketing.

“I had a $893 light bill because of my water tank was not good,” said Ford. “I had to pay it. My daughter talked to the owner of this apartment. She put them on three-way with me. He kept saying, we are looking into it.”

While the water heater was eventually replaced, Ford says she has been waiting for an answer from property management about reimbursement after overpaying due to an issue out of her control.

“We need somebody on the premises,” Ford said. “I think all apartments need new wiring. I think it’s two apartments. The foundation is cracking or something. In the 3800 building, they have bedbugs. They treated one apartment. You have to treat the whole the whole building.”

Frustrated with maintenance, Ford says her son often comes to her apartment to fix whatever is in need of repair, but she knows not everyone has that support.

When the On Your Side Investigators visited with residents at Delmont Plaza, no property manager or staff member was on-site around midday. Ford says there is no one on the property daily, which she says needs to change.

12 On Your Side first reached out to Capital Realty Group, which owns Delmont Plaza, in August. Soon after an initial email, the property owner reached out via text.

After two phone calls, he agreed to send a written statement regarding the resident’s concerns. After follow-up emails and text messages, 12 On Your Side continues to wait for a response from Capital Realty Group.

Felicia Ford says tenants have created an association. They plan to keep working to improve conditions.

“I just want to be able to communicate with the landlord and maintenance people,” said Ford. “We just want our stuff fixed. Everybody wants their apartment fixed. We don’t deserve to live like this.”