UPDATE: City moves to take property owner to court

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — When 8News last saw Crystal Brown she didn’t have a doorknob, she was living without heat and her windows were held in with nails and chains at her McGuire Avenue home in Richmond.

PREVIOUS STORY: Tenant turns to 8News for help with problem property with a history

When 8News shared what we found with City officials, the property owner, Joseph Arena, was hit with six critical violations. Arena had a couple weeks to make repairs.

City inspectors tell 8News since we were last there the critical safety violations like heat and electric have been fixed. But we’re told inspectors found six minor violations and are issuing summonses to Mr. Arena to take him to court.

“I think it was a fast job, a quick job, it’s sloppy,” says Brown about the repairs that were made.

She points to how contractors repaired the hole in her bathroom.

They didn’t patch anything up. They just put this big old piece of wood over it, there is still a big hole back there,” she said.

While Brown no longer needs nails and a chain to hold up her front windows. The windows in the kids’ bedroom still won’t stay up or lock.

“They’re in the back, I need to lock this room. Safety! I am scared,” she said.

Brown also says since we last visited, the City Health Department confirmed the room off her kitchen has mold. We can see the drywall and sheetrock were patched and replaced.

“They patched the holes up, but as far as the rotten wood that is still there, the mold is still there. Just covering up is not getting rid of it, it’s not treating it.” Brown claims.

8News has uncovered this is not the first time the property owner has been hit with violations. We found Mr. Arena was cited in July and October of 2016 before Brown ever moved in.

“I’ve been patient, my rent is on time. I shouldn’t have to live like this. I love the community I am going to miss the people but I have to leave,” says Brown.

Arena tells me 8News everything that needed to be fixed was fixed. He says he’s tried to reach out to the inspectors but they don’t return his calls. Still, he says he wants to make the tenant happy and he’ll get it all repaired.

Meanwhile, a court date has been set for January 9.

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