CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – A woman with a disability in Christiansburg is fighting for fair housing after she claims a political leader violated her rights as a tenant.
“I decided to say enough is enough, it’s time to stand up,” Debra Long said.
She is wheelchair-bound and relies on her grandson, Daniel Price, to be her primary caretaker.
Long moved into an apartment complex in Christiansburg in late March of last year.
She said the issues began not too long after she moved in. Long claimed a man affiliated with the property harassed her over the next four months.
In August, a judge approved a protective order against him for two years.
Then, Long claimed that the landlord, Marie March who is also a Virginia Delegate, informed Long’s grandson that he was trespassing.
“She had three or four cops with her and they come knocking on the door,” Price said. “I was hurt and sad, couldn’t take care of my grandmother.”
“My grandson had to leave the property, I spent two weeks alone with no caregiver and couldn’t do anything, and it got to the point where I couldn’t do it anymore,” Long said.
Long then filed a complaint with the Virginia Fair Housing Board. She claimed she didn’t feel safe in the complex because of the harassment.
We’re told the Virginia Fair Housing Board is looking into the matter.
A lawyer with Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society, which provides free legal aid followed up to ask March if Price could be on the property to be her caregiver.
“They did not respond,” Long said.
10 News check with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, which helps enforce professional conduct standards. They stated that the Fair Housing law requires housing providers to rent to people with disabilities. It also states a housing provider cannot evict a tenant with a disability.
The first priority is making sure there is an accommodation that would alleviate or modify the lease violation.
“She said where we lived there could be only one tenant per apartment,” Long said.
March sent 10 News an email about this matter which said in part, that none of what we’re told is true. She said Price was living with her without being on the lease.
Long said she moved from the property in September for safety and peace of mind. The concern now is finances – she said she’s paying for two apartments.
“I went through misery, I am currently in financial ruins,” Long said.
And she’s hoping to live comfortably in the safety of her home for the future while waiting for the situation to be resolved.