8News helps Richmond renters avoid eviction from unpaid water bills

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – 8News got results for renters facing eviction in Richmond.

The close call began after their landlord failed to pay the water bill for more than six months. The city threatened to shut off water to the John Rolfe apartment complex on Tempsford Lane, putting the property at risk of being condemned.

The crisis was averted after 8News began reporting on the matter in late October.

70db35bf10ee430d8edcb4c5963d6443Cheryl Kapec and her neighbors are breathing a sigh of relief, no longer facing eviction from homes in danger of condemnation.

“The water did not get turned off,” she told 8News reporter Matthew McClellan. “The landlord apparently paid the bill at the last minute.”

On October 20th, Richmond Public Utilities warned tenants that their water would be shut off on Wednesday, October 26th if the owner, Brian Spencer of Landmark Oaks LLC did not pay.

“If the water is turned off on Wednesday and a home inspector finds that the water is off, the property should be condemned at that point,” said renter Mike Dillon during a meeting held by tenants ahead of the city’s deadline.

The notices were posted at the Richmond apartment building only two days after people in Hopewell were evicted from three buildings owned by the same company because of unpaid bills.

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“Our only theory is that he was so caught up with the Hopewell situation that he forgot about us,” Kapec said.

Despite countless attempts to reach the property manager, requests for comment have gone unanswered.

“What concerns us is that this could happen again,” added Kapec, pointing out that similar incidents have occurred in the past.

In March, the property’s online payment system stopped charging renters for utilities.  The account became overdue and the city posted notices on their doors. Once again, the landlord paid the bill at the last minute and forced them to pay back the fees.

“We’d like to know what we fairly owe,” Kapec said. “We never see a receipt. He just sends us a bill. We’re worried that every six months we’re going to have another heartrending catastrophe.”

Even after learning the utility bill for the complex have been paid, the renters said they have yet to see how much they owe their landlord for the water they’ve used over the past 6 months.

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

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