- Important Update: Phone Zap 1.13.23
Join RTDC Friday January 13th for our Red Oak Phone Zap. Call and leave a voicemail or send a text expressing your solidarity with Red Oak’s demands 9-11 AM or 230-430 PM. For voicemails please call 804-329-6249. Dial *67 before you enter the number to protect your anonymity. For those sending text messages the best number to text is 203-309-0754.
Whether texting or calling if you need help with what to say here is a script:
Hi, I’m calling in support of tenants at Red Oak Apartments. These tenants have demanded that you take action! The ridiculous water bills, being charged for nonexistent pest control, and lack of proper heating in many of the residences. These are reasonable demands. Red Oak has not responded in writing as og January 2nd, the dealine which tenants have set for you. Does Red Oak intent to fix these problems.
If you are a tenant at Red Oak you DO NOT have to say your name or unit number.
If you would like to read the letter sent to Ginter Park LLC on behalf of tenants visit this link here.
- An Open Letter to Red Oak Apartments/Ginter Park LLC
Dear Red Oak Apartments,
This letter is written by the Richmond Tenants’ Defense Council, on behalf of the tenants of Red Oak Apartments. Residents have identified a number of reasonable demands that can be quickly rectified by Red Oak.
The following concerns must be addressed immediately:
Tenants have received water bills for absurd amounts of money– even hundreds of dollars– with no accurate information concerning how those bills were calculated. Tenants who request individual water meters must have them installed. Red Oak must provide tenants with detailed accounts of how their previous water bills were calculated, including copies of original bills from the City of Richmond. Tenants demand an end to service fees to third party companies like Conservice.
Tenants have been charged as much as one-hundred dollars for failing to move all of their appliances and furniture away from their walls in advance of visits by pest control. Red Oak must immediately cease to charge penalties for pest abatement issues. Tenants must be provided with electronic pest abatement devices free of cost.
Tenants at several buildings have identified that signs warning of towing are out of date and no longer reflect the towing policy in their leases. All signage regarding towing must be current, and all changes must be clearly communicated to tenants. Tenants must be provided with a parking pass and a guest pass.
Many tenants report that their heat is not functioning, and requests for maintenance are not being responded to in a
timely manner. Heating units must be fixed as soon as possible, and tenants must be provided with space heaters in good condition until repairs are complete.
We expect to receive a response from you detailing a timeline for addressing the concerns mentioned in this letter, in writing at the above PO Box, no later than January 2, 2023.
Richmond Tenants’ Defense Council
- Building Community, Building Power
“The Richmond Tenants Defense Council is an organization in the Richmond area which brings together working-class tenants and community members to build power. The following interview is a conversation between two founding members of RTDC about the organization’s history and its future. It was originally printed in the first issue of RTDC’s tenant newsletter.“
In January we did an interview with the Virginia Worker. For the full transcript visit:
- Newsletter NO.1
Welcome to RTDC’s first newsletter! It has been a busy year and this is a small window into what we have been up to. We have some updates on our campaigns, testimonials from fellow tenants, and some tips for dealing the inevitable maintenance problem…
Please reach out to us using our report an issue page or our contact page if you have any issues or would like to get involved.
- An Open Letter to KRS Holdings Property Management Company
Dear KRS Holdings,
Over the past three months, tenants at Sherwood and Wynwood Apartments came together to discuss their concerns with conditions in their communities, the properties you manage. They identified specific, low-cost solutions to their problems, and they brought their collective suggestions to you. Yet for the last three months, with one meager exception, you could not be bothered to acknowledge their concerns, let alone act to alleviate their hardship.
On July 25th, August 6th, and September 14th, the concerns of tenants at Sherwood Apartments were sent to you in letters asking that you issue two visitor parking passes to each unit, replace light bulbs in the outdoor lights, and fix the exterior door to the building (the lock has simply been removed making tenants feel unsafe in their own hallways). On September 21st, the issues raised by residents of Wynwood Apartments were written down and mailed to you in a letter asking for the return of marked visitor parking spots, limitation of towing hours to midnight through 6:00am, effective abatement of pests, and repair of failing floors. On September 29th, we sent a letter highlighting an issue that a tenant at Wynwood Apartments had already brought to you herself. This tenant has spotted 40 mice in her apartment since February, experienced emotional distress documented by her social worker due to living in a building infested with mice, and lost access to a bedroom due to the stench of mouse urine and feces. (The tally has since reached 50 mice.)
While we are pleased to see that outdoor lighting at Sherwood Apartments has improved, the other issues remain unresolved. When we initially contacted you about towing issues you claimed that the parking lot is not big enough to accommodate visitors. We not only provided you with references to the City Zoning Ordinance demonstrating that by the City’s own standards, you have plenty of surplus parking but also did the work of mapping out the parking lot using city GIS data and current parking standards to demonstrate the carrying capacity of the parking lot. As of today you have ignored the front door issue and we are still waiting for a timeline on when tenants can expect those repairs to be carried out.
We recently received a document which appears to be your response to the letter we wrote on behalf of tenants at Wynwood Apartments. (We have not received a response to any of the other letters mentioned above.)
In your response, you stated that the towing process is “designed to improve the safety of the residents.” One Wynwood tenant shared that his car was towed one day after his tags passed their renewal date. At Sherwood Apartments, a home health aide was towed while providing health services to a tenant. These are only two examples among many. While these practices clearly serve the towing company’s bottom line, it is less clear how this practice serves the safety of tenants. The same applies to your decision to remove visitor parking spaces and refusal to limit towing hours. Your tenants often describe feeling extremely isolated, afraid to have friends, family, or service providers visit due to the excessively aggressive towing practices at your buildings. How does this “improve the safety” of your tenants?
You also explain that “some technologies… should be able to validate violations,” though you have given us no indication what these supposed”technologies” are or how they address your tenants’ concerns. To be clear, residents are asking for two simple things – the restoration of visitor parking and the limitation of towing hours – in order to prevent their visitors from getting towed in the first place. This can be achieved at low cost and without any special “technologies”.
Regarding pests, you explain that “a licensed pest control company … services the property on a weekly basis,” and the tenant portal enables you to monitor pest control response times. Please note that in our letter, tenants demanded “the effective abatement of pests”. The issue is not how many times a licensed pest control company services the property, but the effectiveness of the service provided.
Regarding dangerously weak floors and stairs, you asked for “specific feedback” and say that you “have not received this feedback from residents…” The instability of many stairs and floors in the common spaces at Wynwood are apparent to anyone who walks on them, so it is telling that you are unaware of which stairs tenants are referring to. It is also notable that this issue, which tenants were eager to discuss among themselves, has apparently not been reported to you. The fact that KRS routinely responds so slowly and inadequately to maintenance requests (example) obviously disincentivizes reporting on maintenance issues because tenants rightly assume that at best they’ll wait long periods for nothing more than a band aid solution.
You encourage tenants to stop by the office for resolution of towing and pest control issues. The tenant with 50+ mice in her apartment brought her issue to the office over and over again for months, and the tenant whose car was towed for barely expired tags stopped by the office with “concerns about a specific incident,” yet these issues were not solved. Substantial change to towing, visitor parking, and pest control, not a few more trips to the office, are needed to address tenant concerns.
To reiterate: Sherwood Apartments still needs a secure entry and two visitor parking passes per unit. Wynwood Apartments still needs the restoration of visitor parking, limited towing hours, effective abatement of pests, and floor repair. The Wynwood resident with a rodent infestation needs immediate relief, habitable accommodations, and compensation for property damaged by the mice.
We expect KRS to promptly respond in writing to RTDC and, most importantly, take immediate action to meet these demands. Failure to do so will result in further action.
Richmond Tenants’ Defense Council