Richmond apartment managers warned to resolve violations before forced evacuation

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – Recently obtained images of deteriorating conditions inside a Richmond apartment complex have prompted city officials to shut it down. Residents of Grace Place Apartments were asked to leave last Friday as it is no longer safe to live there. It turns out that these problems did not happen overnight.

City documents show apartment managers were told in August that there were a series of violations that needed to be addressed immediately. When they were not, about two months later, the inspectors intervened quickly.

“Please stop filming. Turn off your camera, ”an apartment manager said with annoyance that the media was there. NBC12 remained on the scene so you could find out exactly why this was happening.

City inspection records show inspectors found rooms and stairwells damaged by water leaking from the roof in August. In fact, the entire 11th floor has been declared unsafe due to major leaks. Authorities say they even found standing water on the ground.

Authorities say a resident told them the ceiling in her apartment had collapsed and apartment officials would not have moved her to another accommodation, even though they were still awaiting rent.

Other issues remain of concern, including elevators, alarms and equipment that do not work to prevent and extinguish fires that require repairs. After meeting with management this week, city officials said the complex had started to reverse some violations. However, there is still a lot of work to be done, which means residents must continue to live away from home.

“They paid full rental value, and they didn’t get full rental value in return,” said Marty Wegbreit of the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. He wants to make sure that the people who live there fight for their rights by communicating with the owners of the apartment.

“They should hear from tenants who are rightly angry and upset by what has happened, as it is ultimately the landlord’s responsibility to maintain adequate and habitable premises … Without fire extinguishing, alarms or proper elevators, it was only by the grace of God that they avoided tragedy, and no one should have to live like that.

NBC12 has contacted the owners of Grace Place several times, but no response yet. City documents show the complex is looking for a contractor to disinfect the building, as inspectors discovered that all of the premises needed to be disinfected.

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