12 On Your Side: Avoiding landlord/tenant nightmares - FOX Carolina 21

12 On Your Side: Avoiding landlord/tenant nightmares

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The cold weather can cause problems in your home. A Richmond tenant says her pipes have burst three times in one month. She claims her landlord is not doing enough to make things right on North 32nd Street. 

"The whole situation to me is crazy," said tenant Jennifer Shaw.

Water has repeatedly flooded Shaw's rental property. 

"Two of them flooded the apartment," said Shaw. "One flooded the kitchen."

Shaw has pictures of carpet damage and roof leaks.

"I can't take showers because the pipes froze," said Shaw. "The pipes burst. You have to cut the water off."

This was all enough to make Shaw consider cutting off her $750 dollar monthly payments.

"The worst thing you can do is to stop paying your rent," said Christie Marra with the Virginia Poverty Law Center.  "Because then your rights go out the window. But a tenant who is in that situation, where the landlord simply will not make necessary repairs, can file something in the general district court called a tenant's assertion."

That assertion can be filed only after you have sent the landlord an old fashioned letter.

"Saying exactly what the problems are," notes Marra. "Asking him to fix it, and giving him a deadline."

NBC 12 reached out to Shaw's landlord. He immediately hung up the phone when we called. He later called back to say he had no comment.

Meanwhile, Shaw no longer has access to the unit. The locks have been changed. Her $750 security deposit is still up in the air. 

"So in theory this particular tenant could file a case against the landlord to get her security deposit back," said Marra. "In practice they are sort of hard cases to win." 

But they are not impossible cases to win. Shaw says she plans to take legal action as early as Monday. 


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