While we have become accustomed to the negligence of Radford Companies Inc. towards their tenants we are thoroughly DISGUSTED that this slumlord has allowed this particular family to live in totally unacceptable conditions. It highly disturbed our NRTU inspectors to find out that children are being forced to live in such conditions. As their father said “the sad thing is we have become use to this”, despite giving verbal notice of these issues many times in the past.
Bed bugs, cockroaches, fungus, black mold, and holes in the floor are riddled throughout this dwelling. Since the launch of NRTU we have never seen a Radford Companies dwelling unit in such bad shape. This family is struggling with one disabled parent who is unable to work, leaving only one source of income to provide for this family of five.
As such they have struggled to pay their rent on time, putting them in a tenuous position where Radford Companies can evict them at any time for up to a year from their last late rent payment. This is called “rent with reservation” in the state of Virginia. It is a very regressive law that favors the landlord and allows them to wield the threat of eviction over the heads of tenants who may wish to take action and work with a tenants union. We have had this same problem in the past when we first launched our social investigation into the local trailer parks. It is a very similar dynamic workers face on the job, we have little security from both our bosses and landlords if they wish to retaliate on us worker-tenants since the law provides wide discretion and leverage to be used against us.
This family has had to deal with an exploded water heater that did huge damage to their personal property, while black mold has been allowed to grow around the area where the water heater exploded, even though Radford Companies have since replaced the water heater! Their refrigerator is sinking into the floor, huge divets run the length of their hallway to their bedrooms, which is also lined with fungus growing in corners of the carpet and walls. Rather than replace the flooring where holes have formed Radford thought placing scrap pieces of plywood would be adequate, even the handrailing leading to their front door has been broken since they have lived in this dwelling – over three years now.
All in the meantime this family has been eaten up with bed bugs – they are all getting bit. The father told us the bed bugs are mainly in the sofa, which he sleeps on so they go after him rather than his kids. This is what working class people in the New River Valley are dealing with on a daily basis. We do everything to keep our community going yet we can’t have safe, secure, and affordable housing, healthcare or a living wage despite the huge amount of wealth floating around in this area. This is totally unacceptable and we won’t take it anymore.