‘I’m stuck’: Multiple renters complain about Main Street Renewal

CHARLOTTE — Seven renters have complained to Action 9 about a property management company in recent months.

According to property records, Texas-based Main Street Renewal owns at least 225 houses in Mecklenburg County.

Traveling nurse Charmaine Nealy, who moved to Charlotte last summer, lives in one. Since she moved in, she’s had sewage backup, water leaks, the ceiling caved in and there were electrical issues.

Nealy also noticed a smell, “like something had caught fire,” she said. “And my oldest said mom my lights are flickering.”

The fire department told Action 9 something was wrong with the electricity at the house and it had cut off Nealy’s power to be safe.

Nealy says she and her children have been in and out of hotels since the fall.

“I can’t afford it. And you know people say, ‘Oh, you’re a nurse, yes, you can.’ No, I can’t. I have four children. I’m a single mom,” she said.

“I’m stuck. I have nowhere to turn, and I’m a firm believer of God and that’s who I’m relying on right now — faith and the man above because I don’t know where to go.” Nealy added.

Main Street Renewal would not discuss Nealy’s issues with Stoogenke, citing privacy reasons, but emailed him the following statement: “We take any concern raised to us by our residents seriously. We have resolved or are actively working to resolve these issues, and look forward to continuing to serve and support our residents in the Charlotte area.”

But Nealy says the company gave her the runaround.

What are your rights as a renter?

The law says landlords have to keep homes in habitable condition. That means they have to address certain issues as quickly as possible. For example:

- unsafe wiring

- dangerous ceilings

- no drinkable water

- locks to outside doors that don’t work

- no heat in extreme cold (65° when it’s 20° outside from November 1 through March 31)

- no working toilet, bathtub, or shower

- rats

- flooding

- sewage backups

- dangerous flooring or steps

- dangerous chimneys or flues

- broken windows or locks on windows that don’t work

If you have a problem:

- Ask your landlord to fix it right away. That may mean calling. If so, follow up with the request in writing.

- If that doesn’t work, you can always pay to fix it yourself. Just make sure you keep your receipts. Remember, there’s no guarantee you’ll get reimbursed.

- Never withhold rent out of protest unless your lawyer tells you to. You don’t want to sacrifice any of your rights.

- If the problem is a safety issue, tell code enforcement.

- If nothing else works, you can always sue in small claims court. Just remember, even if you win your landlord won’t have to pay your lawyer’s fees, so some people prefer to represent themselves.

(VIDEO: Man gets heat for first time after 4 years of failed requests at Charlotte apartment complex)

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