Richmond mother of three asks for help after rental loses heat, water; blames landlord

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond mother of three says she’s upset that she has no heat or water in her rental house as temperatures continue to remain freezing in the Richmond area.

“In 24 hours I have not slept. I’ve been up all night making sure my babies was warm,” said Latoya Jones.

Jones says it’s been nearly two weeks since her home had heat.

“This is how we sleep, with our hats and our coats,” said Jones.

Inside the house, the thermometer is set to 74 but the actual temp reads 53 degrees when we arrive Tuesday afternoon. Jones says she contacted her landlord about the problem.

“He then told me that he was not putting any more money into this house, for me and my children to pack our things and to leave,” said Jones.

Jones says the landlord’s solution was a single space heater left on the front porch.

“My son plugged it up and it conked out all of my lights,” said Jones. “I want to call them slum lords because that’s what they are, slum lords. They’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”

As a result, she says her pipes froze and burst leaving her without water. Jones says she’s had problems with the HVAC system since August and each time the landlord sent someone out to fix it, but she says she’s tired of calling about the same problem.

“I shouldn’t have to go through this, I’m up on my rent, I do my part. They should do their part. I should be able to come home and live comfortably,” said Jones.

We spoke to the home’s property manager who didn’t want to appear on camera but told us they have always been responsive to the tenant’s needs. They said there is a bigger issue beyond the HVAC system that’s causing it to break and they’re currently doing everything they can to figure out what the problem is. Meanwhile, they’ve suggested Jones use her rental insurance to stay at a hotel as they try to fix the issue. They say they do not have a timeline of when it will be fixed.

To that Jones had this response: “I can’t say what I want to say. I can only say I’m praying on it.”

We also reached out to the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) which helps Jones with rent. They tell us they inspected the home back in 2016 and the house passed inspection. They say they haven’t received a complaint about heat or water until this Tuesday. RRHA says they will now do another inspection of the house.

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