RICHMOND, Va. -- In October of 2021, residents in Grace Place Apartments were given just hours to leave their units after the building failed inspection. It's now months later and a resident who still lives there reached out to The Problem Solvers after she said she feels like not much has changed.
After being homeless for almost four years, the tenant who did not want to be named said when she found Grace Place Apartments, she was glad to finally have a place to call home.
Despite the relief, she said living at Grace Place apartment has not been easy.
“My sink has mold in it, my dishwasher has mold in it. I have holes in my walls,” she explained. “My tiles are coming up from the floor, dealing with roaches and gnats.”
Since her move-in day, she said she’s asked management numerous times to fix some of these issues but so far all they’ve done is paint her walls. She now said she’s convinced that her recent health issues are due to the mold in her apartment.
“I did not want to take it to this extreme, I didn’t want to take it to this point but,” she said. “Once I noticed I had coughed and the blood came up I was like oh no this is serious.”
She ended up in the emergency room and hospital documents say she was seen for asthma and mold exposure. She was instructed by the doctor to use an inhaler and create a healthy environment.
“I already have enough health issues as it is and now to have new health issues that I have to have a breathing pump now,” she said.
She wasn’t the only tenant who said they were frustrated with unfilled maintenance requests.
Another tenant who did not want to be named told Problem Solvers he was asked by management to repair his leaky toilet himself while parts to fix it were being shipped in.
“In order to use the bathroom here, I have to put water in the bucket and put it back in the toilet.”
When CBS6 Problem Solvers asked management about both issues, he declined to comment. We also contacted the owner of the building, Franklin Capital Group via email.
President Joseph Resende confirmed they owned the building but said the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority owns the economic interests in the property and suggested we reach out to them.
When we reached out to RRHA, a spokesperson told us that Franklin Capital Group is responsible for making repairs.
With no definitive answer as to who’s responsible, we investigated what rights tenants have in situations like this.
Under Virginia law, tenants faced with fire or health and safety hazards can give landlords a notice to make repairs. If the repairs aren’t completed within a certain amount of time, the renter can deduct the amount spent to fix the issue from their rent. Tenants can also terminate their lease with a written 30-day notice.
“It’s sad that I have to go here and there and still come out of my pockets,” said the tenant.
We did learn that maintenance crews are supposed to begin work Friday evening on the apartment of the woman that reached out to us.
Meanwhile, another tenant who’s wheelchair-bound reached out to us saying he’s currently staying in a hotel after the one working elevator broke.
The CBS6 Problem Solvers reached out to management on this issue and they declined to comment. We also reached out to the health department and are waiting to hear back.