More tenants could face eviction after landlord avoids bills

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Residents at an apartment complex in Richmond are talking to their attorneys and looking to break leases after learning their water will be shut off next week because their landlord didn’t pay the bill.

This comes just two days after residents in Hopewell were told they were being evicted from their homes — owned by the same landlord — for the same reason.

Max Longston is one of more than a dozen tenants who live at 101 Tempfords Lane and are facing eviction for something beyond their control. Thursday night, he and other residents met to discuss their options.

“Our water is going to be shut off because it has not been paid to the city,” Longston told 8News. “If we get evicted, we can’t stay here.”

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The Richmond tenants say Richmond Public Utilities informed them their water will be shut off next Wednesday if the owner of Landmark Oaks, LLC, Brian Spencer, does not pay.

“If the water is turned off Wednesday and a home inspector finds that the water is off, the property should be condemned at that point,” tenant Mike Dillon suggested.

Tenants tell 8News they’ve made countless attempts to reach their landlord, Spencer, by phone and email him about the bill. Some even went to his home.

“There’s very little communication,” Dillon added.

8News found the address for the landlord and went to his home. Someone answered the door and asked, ‘can I help you?’ 8News replied, ‘yes, is there a Brian Spencer here?’ They answered, ‘no, I’m sorry.’

49c07093b96045f7ab22e5e8126547ecTenants say this isn’t the first time this problem has occurred. Earlier this year, the online payment system stopped charging them for utilities.

“Although I’ve paid my rent every month, I’ve never seen any request for utility payment,” Dillon said.

The account became overdue and the city posted notices on their doors. The landlord paid the bill at the last minute and forced them to pay back the fees.

“You don’t know when your landlord will hit you with a huge bill because he hasn’t been charging you, even though he says he will in the lease,” Dillon said.

Amid the chaos and uncertainty, renters are now looking for somewhere else to live.

As for the situation in Hopewell, the city manager says the owner still has not paid the utility bill for the properties located there, either.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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