Good Tenants Nightmare
By: A Voice in the Wilderness
Imagine; if you can, a landlords dream tenant. A tenant who cleans their apartment daily, spot cleans the carpet weekly, follows all the rules in the lease, minds their own business – not their neighbors, pays rent on time, and never complains. Imagine that tenant having to file a complaint; due to black mold in the bathroom and bath tub missing enamel with a busted out section that had rusted after twenty-two years of use. Imagine that tenants shock when the regional manager replied, “You are not living in the Taj Mahal. You are living on subsidized property, and we can’t satisfy you. Follow me to the office, we will relinquish your lease, and you will have ten days to move from the property if you want to keep your housing voucher.” The tenant speaks up answering, “I have another option that you failed to mention – I am going to find out my legal rights as a tenant.” Only then were the repairs started. Over the next four months the repairs are still ongoing, leaving the tenant feeling stressed beyond relief. The tenant is then falsely accused verbally, and later receives a written violation. She is promised a reduction in rent one month, and is given back her rent the next month; with the understanding it is because of repairs not being finished, she is given a receipt the third month showing she owes past due rent – which is a lie. She has documented each day the work that has been done, kept copies of all letters she has written, and seeks legal help - knowing there has to be someone to stop this living nightmare.
Imagine; if you can, being handicapped living in the same apartment for over fifteen years. One evening you return home to discover your bedroom window has been opened, and you have been robbed of all your medication. A police report is filed stating “bedroom lock doesn’t work” and within a week YOU are the one falsely accused of threatening two tenants, issued violations, and an eviction letter. The regional manager calls you stating, “You have ten days to find somewhere else to live if you want to keep your housing voucher; otherwise, if you wait the full thirty days you will lose your funding.”
The first tenant sees the manipulation procedures that govern the property and how evil the procedures are - those in need of repairs are bullied into moving. Knowing that handicapped persons have rights she seeks help from Human Rights Commission. The handicapped persons eviction was lifted once the commission became involved; however, the false written violations remain on his record at this time.
The remainder of “good tenants” continues to have apartments in need of repair, but fear being evicted if they voice their concerns. The “corporate giant” makes millions of dollars yearly from subsidized rentals; yet, they refuse to spend any money in repairing the units to the safe, sanitary dwellings they promised in our lease. They “pick and choose” which rules they enforce with the attitude of “live with it, or get out.” Surely there is someone somewhere that can help put a stop to the poor being used for dollars! If you are this person, please contact: P.O. Box 1138 Pineville, WV 24874
In January, after receiving a call for help from residents of a Wyoming County low income housing community, DAWG went to pay a visit and see how bad its was. We found that repairs were not done in a timely manner, there was a mold issue, and that the “handicapped accessible” apartments were not truly accessible. Wheelchairs would not fit through the doors and grip bars were misplaced. One example was that grip bars were placed behind the toilet. Management had told the tenant to straddle the toilet backwards and then she could use the bar. In another apartment, the toilet handrails were laying in a utility closet. The tenant was told he would have to install them himself. In another apartment we found water damage around a ceiling light fixture. The light work but flickered. The damage had been reported several months earlier when the apartment above had flooded.
DAWG has been working with the tenants to try and convince them to organize a residents council, however, the tenants are afraid of further retaliation.
It is a situation that is beyond what we can do so, we have included this article above by a tenant hoping someone can help them further. If you can help please contact the tenant at the above address or you can contact the DAWG office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org