As we told the community recently in ‘Radford Companies At It Again’ this local slumlord has been negligent towards their tenants, allowing water to leak for close to a year now at this particular tenant’s dwelling. And as we mentioned last time the source of this leak was speculated by Radford Companies to be an “underground stream” or “spring” and that there was nothing they could do about it – even telling tenants to move out if they didn’t like it. In fact it was a busted pipe. The tenants can bear no blame for not notifying Radford Companies of this issue, they tried to notify them for almost a year about this problem, which progressively got worse and led to the growth of black mold and fungus under their dwelling unit.
For good measure we followed up with the various agencies, New River Health District and Montgomery County Building Inspections, who’s stated purpose is to serve the public and ensure health and safety, but we found they were largely apathetic in aiding local working class people to hold this slumlord accountable. Whereas the NRHD representative said they can only “advise” (essentially making a phone call to say stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes) Radford on addressing the stagnant water, the MCBI would not even give us the time of day unless we paid them a $50 “inspection fee”. This only confirms our suspicions that when these regulating agencies claim they are meant to serve our community to keep us healthy and safe, they really mean they are just serving the interests of the local rich at the expense of us workers.
What took these tenants close to a year to try to fix New River Tenants Union got addressed in a matter of days! This is just one example in which working class people, as individuals, are largely powerless against a millionaire like Jim Radford and his slumlord empire Radford Companies. All of this points to the necessity of workers getting organized independently and moving as a collective force to make local slumlords meet their legal obligations as well as move these regulating agencies to actually serve our interests as working class people rather than just real estate developers and those with money.
The word is out, the New River Tenants Union is here, we are getting results and building workers power. We even have community members independent from NRTU taking their own initiative to post our contact information on the doors of other tenants in the area suffering from slumlord negligence. Every day we are getting new calls in the community to come and inspect truly horrid living conditions. We will provide more updates on each case to highlight this as well as call on the community to join us as we fight to hold local slumlords accountable and change the balance of forces in favor of us local workers. Stay tuned!