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Narrows, VA: A disabled mother and her young child find themselves huddled around a tiny space heater in the living room of their rental unit owned by RGR Properties. The furnace has been broken for months during this winter, leaving the family struggling to stay warm, having to resort to using the oven as a heat source.

As they walk into the kitchen the child trips and falls due to the sinking floor, which is a result of rotting floor joists. This isn’t the first time they’ve been injured due to the sinking floors. The family applied for a HUD voucher only to be turned down because the unit failed HUD inspection. The landlord, Robert Givens, had refused to make the necessary repairs to meet HUD safety standards. The family says this isn’t the first property Givens has provided to them with safety issues. Their last unit had a crumbling foundation.

As New River Tenants Union inspectors toured the property they discovered in the basement the severity of the problem. Major water leakage from the bathroom pools at the base of the steps leading into the basement, floor insulation falling off and covered with white and black mold, floor joists also molding and rotting with piles of rotted woodchips on the dirt ground underneath them, there are even ferns growing in the basement. On the outside of the unit there are multiple holes into the basement and the roof which birds nest in and which the family can hear the birds rutting in the walls of the unit.

On February 19th New River Tenants Union sent a certified letter with the photo evidence above to RGR Properties to provide notice for repairs. Givens has taken no action to make repairs, pushing the family to leave before their lease ended this coming May. The family is fed up with the property and Givens refusal to provide safe housing as defined by the VRLTA (Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act). They wanted to make sure no other working family would be put in their unsafe unit.

As the pictures show this unit needs to be condemned, but when New River Tenants Union called the Giles County Building Inspectors and scheduled an inspection to condemn the unit they failed to follow through. The community needs to be aware of these unsafe and dangerous units across the New River Valley. We cannot count on government authorities to represent our interests. With the help of New River Tenants Union the family has now been moved into a HUD-approved housing complex.

4 thoughts on “RGR Properties Refuse to Fix Unsafe Home in Giles County

  1. If I had been living there I sure wouldn’t have paid a damn penny of my income for rent till it was fixed. That’s what I call a slum landlord that wants their damn money but, not fix anything. They need to be forced to live the same way and see what it’s like.

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  2. If you look in the VRLTA, you will see that there is a statute in there that says the “landlord must make necessary repairs for habitation or the tenant can withhold the rent through the courts!” This is definitely a breach of the landlord tenant law and the tenant needs to take action through the courts!
    I am familiar with the VRLTA from working in property management in previous years.
    Tenants need to be educated about the laws more often!!!

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  3. Where is number of houses in giles county mostly Narrows that’s going through the same situation different landlords but nobody seems to care about the working class or the low income as long as the landlord’s get what they want they could care less and I don’t think it’s right something definitely needs to be done

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  4. I know the feeling. Mine was not that bad. I kept having problems with the Septic system the people he hired to fix it would come out and flush it and say it was unstopped and it wouldn’t be Finally gave up called someone myself cost me $300 and the owner wouldn’t pay me back problem was in the septic line someone put T where a 45 should have been. But this owner is building half million house for him and his wife. It’s still not fixed so now when it backup you got to go down put a barrel under the pipe open up the sewer pipe and let all the back up out. He gets 850. for this house that what HUD says he can get. Not on hud anymore this what he still charges.

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