ROANOKE, Va. – Two weeks after a deadly fire, residents at Stratford Village Apartments are fed up.
“It’s frustrating because she has all her stuff there. Everything she has is there at the apartment,” said Missy Spradlin, whose mother lives in one of the units.
Despite being displaced for two weeks and not being able to return for another week and a half, residents are being charged a full month’s rent for the month of October.
“This goes against their rights as tenants, and it goes against their rights as elderly. They live on a fixed income,” Spradlin added.
The Red Cross and Adult Protective Services have helped many of the residents get hotel rooms during this time but residents tell 10 News apartment management did little to help.
Justin Steele, an attorney in Roanoke, said not only should management be paying for these people to live somewhere else during this time, but they also should not be charging a full month’s rent when residents are unable to live there.
“My understanding from the VRLTA, which is the Virginia Residential Landlord Tennant Act is that no, a landlord isn’t entitled to a full month’s rent when they can’t deliver possession of the property,” Steele explained. He said one option for the residents is to file a tenant’s assertion to get the court to order the owner to prorate the rent for the time the tenant is not able to use the property.
“You’ve got to pay your rent as though you’re still living there through the courts, then the court gives the rent to you back as the tenant if they decided the rent in fact should be prorated,” Steele added.
Steele said if residents can’t afford an attorney, they can try contacting the Legal Aide Society which provides legal services to low-income residents.
The owner told 10 News he is working with rental assistance to try to get residents some money back.