Friday, December 17, 2010

Roanoke Landlord Evicts Deadbeats Who Are Also Possible Murders


Jeffery Easley turns up in San Fransisco panhandling with 12 yr old Brittany Smith after abducting her and killing her mom. Roanoke Landlord, Charles Chang, evicts Adam McElvy and Jordan McClure for not paying rent. They just so happened to have a bunch of personal items from the Smith's household and McElvy was seen the day of the murder on video at the Salem Apple Market with suspected murder Easley and the abducted Brittany Smith. In 2002 McElvy was charged with Sodomy of a 14 year old little girl.


Jeffrey Easley back in Roanoke to face abduction counts in Brittany Smith case
The suspect in Brittany Smith's abduction is scheduled to appear in court Friday.

By Amanda Codispoti and Jorge Valencia
 The Roanoke Time

Jeffrey Easley, caught with his slain girlfriend's 12-year-old daughter in San Francisco last week, landed in Roanoke on Wednesday night with two detectives to face abduction charges.

Easley, 32, was brought off a passenger jet at Roanoke Regional Airport with cuffs around his wrists and ankles and placed in the back seat of a silver minivan, where two more officers awaited him. Another police vehicle followed them to the Roanoke County-Salem Jail, where a magistrate ordered Easley locked up under medical watch and without bail.

He stepped out of the minivan at the jail with the detectives who picked him up in California, John McPhail and Chris Welch, unshaven and with a blank stare.

He was to appear in Roanoke County General District Court at 1 p.m. Friday to be arraigned on a charge that he abducted Brittany Smith, 12.

Easley and Brittany left Roanoke County Dec. 3 or Dec. 4 in a Dodge Neon owned by his live-in girlfriend Tina Smith, 41, who police said was killed in her Fort Lewis Circle home on Dec. 3.

They were spotted panhandling outside a San Francisco supermarket, near a park where they had pitched a Walmart tent, on Dec. 10. Roanoke County detectives brought Brittany home Monday.

The investigation into the killing of Tina Smith, a senior citizens center nurse, gathered speed Wednesday. Police have called Easley a suspect. They won't say the cause of death.

Police also said a Garden City man "could have assisted in the murder," according to a search warrant for his duplex apartment. An inventory filed with the warrant Wednesday showed police seized a flat-screen television, remote control, a DVD player, Wii video games and an assortment of DVDs they believe were taken from Tina Smith's house.

The warrant said police suspect the duplex resident, Adam McElvy, 27, was with Easley the day Smith was killed. A man who looks like McElvy was seen on surveillance video with Easley and Brittany at the Apple Market on West Main Street in Salem on Friday night, the warrant said.

McElvy and Jordan McClure, the woman he lives with, bought Easley's red Chevrolet Blazer just before Easley and Brittany left town, the warrant said. The vehicle was parked in front of the Garden City Boulevard duplex on Wednesday.

Neither McElvy nor McClure has been charged with a crime.

McElvy's criminal record includes a 2002 charge of raping a 14-year-old girl and two counts of sodomy, according to court records. Under a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and the sodomy charges were dropped. He was sentenced to a year in prison, according to court records.

McElvy's landlord, Charles Chang, said he is seeking to evict McElvy and McClure because they haven't paid December's $550 rent or the water bill.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Landlord Bill White Turns Water off on Unpaying Tenants

Once landlord Bill White's tenants found out that he lost a half a million dollar lawsuit all of them with exception of 2 stopped paying their rent. The one complaining in the video has not paid her rent. White turned off the water and the tenants illegally turned it back on so the Water Authority understandably took the meters. White turned off the water to all of the units just like Gunther Gass did and the links below are the result of what happened to Gunther from one single house. The Water Authority turned all of their water back on apparently deciding to give them free water likely seeing that the media coverage would end up getting them dragged into court on this issue as well.

Gunther Gass turns off Water

Gunther Gass loses Thirteen Thousand

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Foreclosure system ripe for errors in Virginia


The state has one of the fastest-moving systems in the country, and one lawyer said flaws are likely common.

By Laurence Hammack
 981-3239 Roanoke Times

M.T. Warden's home in Salem was sold in a foreclosure two years ago, but he sued the mortgage company and won back his house when the company wasn't able to produce proper documents.

The day his house was sold at an auction on the steps of the Salem courthouse, M.T. Warden said he didn't even know he was facing foreclosure.

He knew he was several months behind on his mortgage. When he called American Home Mortgage Servicing to make a payment, Warden recalled recently, "they said my home had been sold, and I didn't live there."

That was news to Warden, 30, who, at the time, was sitting in the kitchen of his Valleydale Road home. The next week, he found an eviction notice taped to his front door.

Rather than move, Warden filed a lawsuit challenging the foreclosure. After his attorneys found flaws in the paperwork leading up to the Dec. 2, 2008, auction, the case was settled last year and Warden was allowed to keep his house.

It was a rare win for a homeowner in Virginia, which has one of the fastest-moving foreclosure systems in the nation, according to consumer advocates. Foreclosures can be carried out in as little as 15 days -- less time than it can take to evict a renter.

"There's no doubt that Virginia is one of the leaders in getting people out of their homes quickly," said Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. "Its laws are designed to help the banking industry, not the homeowners."

In recent weeks, foreclosures in Virginia and across the country have fallen under increased scrutiny in the wake of revelations that some mortgage lenders cut corners and falsified documents in their rush to take houses from struggling borrowers.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli joined his counterparts in the other 49 states in a national investigation into foreclosure practices.

It's unknown just how many forced home sales in Virginia might have been affected, and to what degree. Tom Domonoske, a Harrisonburg attorney who represented Warden in the disputed Salem foreclosure, said he believes the flaws uncovered in that case are common.

After Warden fell behind in his payments in fall of 2008, an official with Dallas-based American Home Mortgage Servicing signed a document initiating the foreclosure, asserting she had power of attorney to act for the lender, U.S. Bank.

The foreclosure fell apart when the mortgage company could not produce the power of attorney -- a document that Warden's lawsuit claimed never existed.

"It was just part of a shortcut they were taking," Domonoske said of the missing document.

"Virginia allows the quickest, easiest foreclosure practice in the country, and it's still not quick enough for them," he said, speaking in general about the practices of mortgage service firms and others involved in the foreclosure process.

"It's cheaper to cheat," Domonoske said. "If you cheat, you can get more money in your pocket."
"Please be advised ..."

Nine years ago, Warden took out a loan to buy a modest, white frame house that sits amid shade trees on a quiet street in West Salem. Assessed at $105,000, the house and two-acre plot seemed like the perfect starter home.

"I thought I was doing pretty good," Warden said. "There aren't that many 21-year-olds who go out and buy a house."

Warden, a home improvement contractor, didn't have any problems with his monthly mortgage payments of about $700. But after his daughter was born in 2005, he decided he needed a car.

To get some extra cash, he refinanced his home. The arrangement gave him $5,000 up front, but left him with an adjustable interest rate that in a couple of years nearly doubled his mortgage payments.

"Looking back, I should have found another way to get five grand, but I was just 25 years old," he said.

About the same time, Warden decided to form his own home improvement business. Times were tough, and it wasn't long before he started to have trouble paying bills.

On Oct. 29, 2008, a law firm that had been appointed the substitute trustee by the mortgage company -- which in Virginia is usually a sign that foreclosure is imminent -- sent Warden a certified letter.

"Please be advised that this firm has been requested ... to institute foreclosure proceedings," read the letter from Bierman, Geesing & Ward, of Bethesda, Md.

Warden never got the letter because his mailbox had been knocked down during a traffic accident, he said. But that doesn't matter, according to Domonoske. Virginia law requires that notice be sent to a homeowner within 14 days of a sale -- a burden the law firm met -- but failure of delivery does not necessarily invalidate a foreclosure, he said.

State law also requires that a foreclosure be advertised in a local newspaper at least twice in the 14 days before a sale. Had Warden known to scour the fine print of legal advertisements in The Roanoke Times, he would have seen two ads in November for a trustee's sale the afternoon of Dec. 2 on the steps of the Salem courthouse.

Warden said he never saw the ads. At the auction, his home was purchased by the lender, Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank.

About that time, Warden said, he contacted American Home Mortgage Servicing and offered to make good on his payments. "It was odd," he said, "because I was trying to give the people money, but they were refusing the money, saying it was too far gone."

It was only after Warden went to Roanoke lawyer Roy Creasy, and later Domonoske, that the two attorneys were able to set the sale aside by filing a complaint in Salem Circuit Court.
The lawsuit claimed that American Home Mortgage Servicing lacked the power of attorney it claimed to have from the bank when it appointed the Maryland law firm substitute trustee.
Three months later, the case was settled. Warden was allowed the keep his house, and the foreclosure did not affect his credit rating.

An attorney with Bierman, Geesing & Ward declined to comment. A call to U.S. Bank, which was named as a defendant in the lawsuit along with American Home Mortgage Servicing, was not returned. Equity Trustees, a branch of Bierman, Geesing & Ward, was also named as a defendant.

A spokeswoman for American Home Mortgage Servicing declined to comment on Warden's case but defended the company's general practices.

"We have spent an enormous amount of time over the last few weeks reviewing our foreclosure practices," Philippa Brown said.

"We have very strong processes and procedures in place to ensure that our officers who sign affidavits and similar documents are appropriately reviewing those documents and validating the material."

The foreclosure mill
Although Warden fought the system and won, many homeowners in the midst of foreclosure don't have the money, time or fortitude to follow his example.

Unlike when renters are evicted, there is no judicial oversight of foreclosures in Virginia, unless the homeowner files a challenge. Virginia is one of 27 states that does not require judicial approval. In the states that do, the process can take much longer -- six months or more.

"The lack of protection for homeowners is just amazing to me," said Jay Speer, executive director of the Virginia Poverty Law Center.

In Virginia, the process can be completed in as little as 15 days, after the 14-day requirements for notification to the homeowner and legal ad are satisfied, Domonoske said. The normal time in Virginia is 45 days, according to RealtyTrac, which tracks foreclosures.

For years, foreclosures were relegated to the fine print of legal ads and the sparsely attended auctions outside courthouses, where, often, the only bidder was a bank taking a home back to recoup its loss.

But after the housing market crashed in 2008 as subprime borrowers defaulted, attention eventually turned to the foreclosure fallout.

As the number of forced sales soared, attorneys for some homeowners began to question the paperwork from mortgage lenders and their law firms, dubbed "foreclosure mills" for their large-volume specialty.

In depositions, bank officials admitted that they had not read the affidavits and other documents they signed en masse, a practice known as "robo-signing." Some of the lenders -- including Bank of America, GMAC Mortgage and JPMorgan Chase & Co. -- suspended foreclosures while investigating their practices.

Banks have argued that any mistakes were technical and that the people being foreclosed on were in fact delinquent.

"Our ongoing assessment shows the basis for our past foreclosure decisions is accurate," Bank of America said in a statement.

Although many foreclosures have resumed, the investigation continues by the coalition of all of the nation's attorneys general.

In the end, Warden admits he was late paying his mortgage and that he shares some of the blame. But he's troubled by the way delinquent homeowners are treated by a banking industry that received a bailout from the United States government.

"As far as the foreclosure goes, banks are going to do whatever they want to do. They always have," Warden said.

"What irritates me is they get all the money from the bailout because they were going to go under. But everybody who is being foreclosed on -- we don't get squat."

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Rundown of the Eviction Process in Virginia For PROP Proponents


This is for those who are not familiar with landlording in Virginia. It will explain the eviction process and the time it requires to do so.

The case at hand I'm using as an example is one in which there is a tenant in a house that is causing problems for neighborhoods. In the case of a tenant not paying rent you would start with a 5 day pay or quit.

Most of our tenants already know what they are what they are not supposed to do. Our leases are often very heavily worded requiring the tenant to behave in their community. Unfortunately, sometimes the tenant you think will be best will do an about face and end up being the worst tenant you have.

Keeping the yard free and clear of trash, mowing on a regular basis, not causing disturbances of any kind to the neighbors, etc. The problem is that if they pay their rent the landlord is required to give a 21 day notice to remedy. Can't give a 5 day pay or quit. And if not remedied within 21 days the 30th day the landlord can file for eviction. If they fix the problem within the 30 days and let it happen again next month or whenever in the future, the law requires that the landlord files "another" 21 day notice to remedy. And that has to go on and on until they mess up and don't remedy the issue within the given period of time. If the landlord unlawfully files for eviction prior to the given period of time the Judge will not only throw out the case but legal aid will sue the landlord for triple damages.

There is even more to it beyond the 30 days to remedy that is in a landlords way of terminating a tenancy within a reasonable amount of time. Once we can get to the point where we can file for eviction, we have at least 3 weeks to wait for a court date.

If the tenant says the words "I contest" and the judge often leads them to do so by asking them if they contest, the judge will give them a couple more weeks to return to court to prove that they have not caused the violation of the lease at hand.

Sometimes on that 2nd court date the tenant will call up and have it continued which gives them another couple weeks. They will only allow them to continue the case 1 time. And on that final court date, if the judge sides with the landlord, the judge will grant "possession" of the property to the landlord.

The landlord is then required to wait for 10 days before filing a "writ of possession" which is basically getting the sheriff to come out and allowing the landlord for the first time to physically remove them and their property from the dwelling. The 10 days is to give the tenant a chance to "appeal" the judges decision.

If they appeal it the process drags out even further.

Once the writ of possession has been filed the sheriff typically will give the landlord a call within 3-4 days to schedule a time to come out.

The sheriff by law has up to one month to meet the landlord and get the people out. Most often the sheriff does not wait for the month but will schedule the time for about 2 weeks from the date that they call you.

Best case scenario, the tenant "doesn't" show up to court on the first court date so they don't contest and there are no problems. In this case you have them out in 1.5 months from the date you file for eviction... which is already "at least" 30 days beyond the time where the neighbors called with issues that the tenant is having.

And normally the landlord will first attempt to resolve the issue with the tenant by requesting that they stop what they are doing before jumping the gun and giving them the written 21 day notice to remedy the second they get their first call. So in best case scenario we have 2.5 months if the landlord gives a notice to remedy on the very first call.

And if the tenant shows up to court as you can see above from the notice to remedy + the court dates you're looking good if you can get them out in 5 months.

At this point in time the neighbors are burning up thinking the landlord isn't doing anything about it through this very long legal process. And we are burning up as well. Because the minute we give them that notice, quite often they stop paying rent. So we now have deadbeat tenants but still have to pay the mortgage throughout that time, and furious neighbors calling up thinking we aren't doing anything about it. Meanwhile we have a tenant tearing up our house because they are mad at us for trying to get rid of them and calling code enforcement on the damage THEY just created. And code enforcement is all over us about fixing the TENANT damage.

So everyone is mad at the landlord but the anger in my opinion is most often misdirected and should be focused on the legal system and the politicians who decided what's best for the tenants with complete disregard to the landlords and the neighbors.

For those who are thinking it is a case of improper tenant screening, you are wrong. Most of us screen our tenants because we don't want the drama and loss of income associated with not doing so.

I see the root of the problem as being a characteristic of a different socioeconomic class of people than the property owners within the neighborhoods and is part of having diversity of various economic backgrounds living amongst each other; which is a goal of the city. Therefore good solutions would include a speedy removal of tenants that are disturbing the neighborhood. One man can not justly be blamed for the actions of another.

Problems associated between neighborhood associations and landlords can easily be fixed but it requires communication in doing so. REI of Roanoke has solutions to the issues at hand which will require the support of the Roanoke City judicial system and Roanokes Legal Aid in working with landlords and neighborhood associations on a specific law within the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act that gives room for speedy judgment on drug related issues but is not presently clear enough for a landlord to act upon tenant / neighbor problems other than something drug related.

Force (PROP) by any means is not only a form of tyranny but it's an abuse of power and the outcome of this oppression will not be beneficial for any side. Good communication is always the solution to an issue but for some reason there has been a major lack of communication in Roanoke.

Honestly I'm not understanding why the neighborhood associations and city have gotten together without inviting the leading investment group in Roanoke, REI of Roanoke.

Proposed Local Legislation - The Evil Rich Landlord Will Now Be Punished For What Their Tenants Do


We have some very serious stuff coming our way. The city and neighborhood associations are planning a full out attack against landlords. They have been working with neighborhood associations for months about this plan. REI's lack of organization and not having every landlord in Roanoke as a member of our group has caused some serious problems. The City of Roanoke sent people down to Raleigh to learn about their extreme hardline force they put upon landlords.

I researched Raleigh's Probationary Rental Occupancy Permit program (PROP Program) and it's very bad. If the tenants don't mow their yard, you're royally screwed. If the tenants cause disturbances to the neighbors you're screwed. If they tell you to fix something and you don't do it within the time required, you're screwed.

Lets say you bought a place and are fixing it up and the code enforcer failed you on the first shot which can easily happen. Then the tenants move in and you get a violation that they didn't cut the grass. Then later you get another violation that they didn't cut the grass. And at one point in time the cops were out there for your tenants because the neighbors called. 4 violations including cop violations and your property goes on the probation PROP program. There are many ways your property instantly goes on the program. You will have 10 days to file a prop application (lol, they make you apply for the probation) If you don't apply in 10 days you are prohibited from renting the unit.

This is very serious oppression!

If you fail to send in the PROP application you will be fined $50 per day until the application is completed and returned. You must pay a $200 application fee to apply to be on probation even if you send it in on time. + if it's your first violation on the property you automatically get a $50 civil penalty to go along with the first $200 you will pay.

Then when you get on PROP you will immediately be sent a temporary permit until the real permit is issued. Once you get the real permit you will be required to pay $300 for it for the first year and $500 for it for each year thereafter. The fee will be in addition to other code enforcement citations and fees that they will charge you. You also must get your application to get screwed notarized.

Here's what happens if your tenant doesn't mow the yard or a neighbor who doesn't like them or you and calls the cops on them for some bogus reason.

EACH of these warnings that you get while you are on prop will get an additional $200 administrative fee tacked on to the other fees.

First violation while on PROP and you get a $50 dollar civil fee and $50 per day until the violation is resolved, plus the $200 administrative fee.

On the second warning they will give you a notice that they may suspend your right to rent the unit. (as if it was a privilege to rent a house or something) This second warning comes with a $250 civil fine. And $100 per day civil penalty until the violation is in compliance. And on the 2nd violation the permit is revoked for that unit for 2 years.

A third violation results in a $250 civil penalty and $250 per day until you comply to your superiors.

Other things about PROP.

If you are sent a letter from code enforcement saying that you are "eligible" for PROP and don't respond these fines will accrue on a daily basis.

You can appeal it. You will send a letter of appeal to the director of inspections (Tom Carr or Dan Webb?) and if he doesn't approve it you can appeal a 2nd time to an arbitrator but if you lose you will be responsible for an administrative fee of $200 and half the costs of arbitration. Then you can appeal it one more time to city council (I believe in Roanoke there is a charge to do this as well) and you are not allowed to present any NEW evidence when speaking to your leaders.

* If you rent out the house without first getting a certificate of compliance you're instantly on the prop program.
* Reoccupying a house that the city condemned you're instantly on it.
* If your tenants get a third conviction for violating the Cities nuisance party ordinance. (having a party where the cops are called by the neighbor) They don't have to be convicted of anything. Just 3 complaints. That's it. And each time you as a landlord will get sent a civil penalty by the cops. THIS IS THE PROGRAM THAT CHRIS PERKINS TOLD US HE'S GOING TO SUPPORT. I've looked high and low for this thing he said that will help landlords get tenants out and there is no Virginia bill that is being introduced like that. I'll bet that Roanoke will add something to this horrible Raleigh program to help us get them out. In an attempt to try to look like this program is fair to landlords and only "those who don't care about their property" will get screwed. I guarantee you they will position it that way! They will give a warm and fuzzy feeling to those who are easily convinced and will not disclose all of the details until they voted in city council on it and made it LAW of Roanoke City only.
* If any tenant on your property has been convicted of a crime 3 times in 2yrs you get put on the PROP program.
* Failure to repair, demolish or vacate the house within the granted time-frame that they require you get on it.
* If more tenants move into the house than are allowed to be there you're instantly on it. Violation of zoning density.
* If you have unlicensed or un-inspected vehicles or a vehicle that the tenant has partially dismantled because they are working on it you are on the probation program.
* 2 nuisance abatement violations within 2 yrs and you're on it.
* 4 notices of any violation within a 2 year period even if you corrected the problems or got the tenant to mow or stop causing drama or whatever.

However, you still must follow all of the guidelines for Fair Housing and give the opportunity for all to live in your property.

If you get put on PROP you must also attend a city approved residential property management course which you will also probably have to pay for.

You must notify the tenants, condominium and townhome associations and all other effected entities (all of the neighbors?) that your house is on probation PROP. That gives the other people surrounding your house the ability to burn you good if your tenants piss them off.

If the city calls you and you are within 25 miles within the city you have exactly 2 days to respond to the code enforcers questioning about your property.

If you get cited even one time while on PROP you can lose your "rental permit" for 2 years and not be allowed to rent the place out.

If you get a 3rd violation while on the PROP program, they will take away your right to rent all other houses you have on the PROP program.

You are exempt from PROP if you are a bed and breakfast, hotel, motel, guest house, rest home, rooming house, lodging house or tourist homes.

I sure hope that you guys are good at kissing code enforcements you know whats because if not you will definitely be driven out of business. You better bring cookies to the surrounding neighbors houses on a weekly basis too. Very easy to get on this program. Your tenants can even get you on it.

Even playing loud music in Raleigh where you can hear it from 50 feet from the car will get the person a jail sentence of up to 30 days and a maximum fine of $500

PROP does not apply to the neighbors in the neighborhood associations. They can do as they wish. They can throw parties, they don't have to mow their yard, can get violated but their house won't get on Probation. They can get arrested, they can start fights with your tenants but the call to the police will only result in you getting fined, not the neighbor. It ONLY applies to landlords, not neighbors or tenants. Just you the landlord.

Interesting backwards logic right out of Raleigh's play book.
Q: Why aren't tenants held responsible?
A: Ultimately, the condition of the rental property and the activities of the tenants must be closely monitored by the property owner. Property owners are expected to write clear expectations of tenant behavior relative to neighbors into leases, and take action to encourage tenants to comply with these expectations or seek evictions for problem tenants. Rental property owners can also attend the City's Landlord Training Class given three times a year for more useful information about renting and protecting rental property.

The pieces of the puzzle have now been put together and are in place. We need to ban together and break it before it's too late. Fight for your rights or you will no longer have any! One attack after another on the "evil rich landlord" and we have to work together to stop it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Woman Evicted After Her Late Rent Money Was Stolen


Here are the basics. Tenant is continually late on her rent. Every time the landlord starts to take her to court she pays just before the court date. This time she was late and she claims someone broke in and stole her late rent money and her daughters ashes. Who would do something like stealing someones ashes. Very evil thing to do.

Landlord continues with eviction. Tenant is evicted. Richmond Channel 12 reporter seems to wonder how it could be legal for a landlord to evict a tenant who claims to have their money stolen. Richmond legal aid lawyer says "What I think this case indicates is two things," said attorney, Marty Wegbreit. "One I think it indicates how unjust Virginia Landlord Tenant Law really is and second I think it shows the lack of mercy that many landlords show to their tenants."

Both this particular news channel and Richmond's legal aid lawyer seem to think that if a tenant gets their rent money stolen, the evil rich landlord should not worry about it and get their property foreclosed on because they didn't have the money to pay the bank.

It blows my mind that so many people out there think that all landlords are rich and they own their property. The reality is that most are heavily in debt and if they don't get rent it is difficult to pay the mortgage. And I can assure you that the bank will have no pity for what your tenant couldn't pay. That excuse with the bank simply isn't going to fly so don't bother trying it.

Click here for the story.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Government And Banks Have Scammed You Again

So what do you think? Should we keep these same deadbeats in office or run them all out, democrat and republican?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Getting rid of bedbugs: Is landlord or tenant responsible?


Getting rid of bedbugs: Is landlord or tenant responsible?

The rules can vary from state to state and even county to county but in Virginia they are pretty consistent. They go by the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act. I was unable to find specific rules for Roanoke but Arlington County, Alexandria, Fairfax County, Fairfax, Falls Church, Loudoun County and Prince Williams County are all the same. They all follow Virginia Code. This is why I'm having a hard time understanding why Legal Aid sued the landlord in the post below. Is Roanoke going against the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act? Robert Akerson Jr. lost the case. And if they are going against what our politicians thought would be fair, why are they doing this?

Here are the guidelines for the counties listed above.

The tenants are responsible for exterminating infestations in apartments. And that includes all infestations such as bed bugs, roaches, ants, stink bugs, etc. The responsibilities for infested single-family rentals and leased condos depend on how many rentals the landlord owns.

Here is info on Arlington which is the same across all of the above listed counties who follow Virginia code.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Roanoke Landlord Robert Akerson Gets Sued By Legal Aid Attorney For $4,767 / Tenant Had Bedbugs / Quite Possibly Brought Them To The House Herself


Bedbugs creep into area homes, businesses

The tiny, bloodsucking bugs have started infesting the Roanoke area, and property owners are paying a hefty price for their removal.

By Amanda Codispoti

Move over, stinkbugs. There's a new bug in town, and this one bites.

Blood-thirsty bedbugs have arrived in the Roanoke Valley, embarrassing panicked home and business owners who are spending thousands of dollars to eradicate the critters.

"It's happening more and more," said Jerry McLawhorn, president of Superior Exterminating in Roanoke.

At least three hotels in the Roanoke Valley have harbored bedbugs this year, according to the Virginia Department of Health. One Roanoke tenant sued her landlord because of an infestation.
Bedbugs have been in the news for months as they've covered the East Coast, moving into federal buildings in Washington, department stores in New York, even the Lincoln Center performance hall. Paranoia has spread to the Internet, where travelers report infested hotels on bedbug registries.

Now they're spreading en masse in Roanoke, after apparently hiding in small numbers for the past few years, according to the state health department and local exterminators. They most likely arrived in travelers' luggage.

"The way these things are spread, it's not like a spider coming out of the woods and into the house," McLawhorn said. "These are blood-eaters. They live with people."

Bedbugs first showed up in Roanoke apartment buildings and hotels, McLawhorn said. Now, they're in homes, in the city and in the suburbs. Superior Exterminating sprayed at least 150 homes in the past year, McLawhorn said.

The bugs hide behind bed headboards, in carpeting, and in the seams of bedding, mattresses and upholstered furniture. They can travel quickly from room to room, nimbly hop rides on people's clothing and shoes, and can cruise beneath baseboards or through electrical outlets like motorists on Interstate 81.

Many bugged homeowners make their first move to hardware stores.

The Northwest True Value Hardware store on Brambleton Avenue on Friday was sold out of bedbug-killing aerosol spray, which costs $8.29 for a 16-ounce can, a manager said.

The Home Depot on Hershberger Road in Roanoke has been selling bedbug pesticides so briskly that workers have been restocking weekly, manager Susan King said.

"People are just buying it left and right," King said.

Tim Nininger, vice president of Bug Man Exterminating in Roanoke, said his company has been getting several calls a week for bedbugs, mostly from homeowners so ashamed that they put off calling a professional until the infestation is out of control.

"They tell us they were hoping it wasn't bedbugs because it's embarrassing," Nininger said. "It's nothing to be embarrassed about."

Once Bug Man gets involved, the price of bedbug riddance climbs to $1,500, which includes three treatments. Exterminators must repeat the treatments to wipe out new generations.
Bug Man exterminator Chip Nininger, Tim Nininger's brother, attacked bedbugs at an infested Roanoke County house last week with fellow exterminator Curtis Morgan.

Morgan unscrewed electrical outlet plates and sprayed pesticide inside. Nininger, wielding aerosol cans of a pesticide called Bedlam, coated pillows, cushions and every inch of upholstery in the house.

The homeowner, who didn't want to be named, said he found bedbugs crawling behind a headboard. He said he spent $1,000 on dry cleaning, pesticides, new carpet and new bedding, trying to get rid of the bugs himself.

After five weeks of skin-crawling, sleepless nights, he called Bug Man.

"We've given up," the man said.

The Virginia Department of Health said investigators confirmed at least three Roanoke Valley hotels have had the bugs this year.

Health officials found bedbugs at the Days Inn in the 500 block of Orange Avenue Northeast in May. A month later, they found them at the Embassy Inn in the 4500 block of Melrose Avenue Northwest. Last month, the Comfort Suites Inn at Ridgewood Farm in the 2800 block of Keagy Road in Salem was found to have an infested room.

The health department ordered the infested rooms, and rooms adjacent to them, closed until they were treated. The rooms were allowed to reopen once a health inspector pronounced them bug-free.

Managers at the Days Inn and Embassy Inn said a pest control company has been checking rooms monthly since the problems. The Comfort Suites Inn manager did not return a message.
Bedbugs were also the focus of a July lawsuit in Roanoke General District Court that Monica Ransome filed against her landlord for $4,767, saying her Northwest Roanoke home was infested.

The landlord "declined to pay for or deal with the infestation," the suit says. Ransome said she paid more than $1,000 for an exterminator to spray the Lafayette Boulevard house. The extermination was unsuccessful, and a city inspector condemned the house in April.

Ransome sought two months rent, the security deposit, the exterminator's bill and the value of her furniture, which she threw out.

Neither property owner Robert Akerson Jr. nor his attorney returned phone messages.

Ransome's attorney, Henry Woodward, said Ransome didn't want to be interviewed until a judgment is filed.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Western Virginia Water Authority Continues Their Relentless Attack


A bill got passed in the late 1990's that requires landlords to pay for tenants unpaid water bills. Over the years many changes have been made in an apparent attempt to tame rogue Water Authorities. No change has been accepted that removes the responsibility of a landlord for their tenants unpaid bills. Billing a third party for a product or service that they had no beneficial use of is not only unconstitutional but is illegal in all forms of law.

There are a number of states that fought legislation like this and won deeming it unconstitutional.

A number of REI members started getting liens placed on their properties for tenants unpaid bills starting in 2009 so we put together a water committee to work on getting things changed. We talked with many local Virginia senators and delegates for the state legislature and everyone we talked with was surprised that this unconstitutional law could even have gotten through. They are also willing to help us repeal it... with exception of Onzlee Ware.

Delegate Matthew Lohr and Senator Ralph Smith in the 2010 Session tried to help repeal all language that states the 3rd party landlord would have to pay the tenants unpaid bills. The bill they were introducing was sent to the Committee of Counties, Cities and Towns and they "stalled" the bill or in other words shot it down not allowing it to be voted on.

They later in the 2010 session supported a bill by delegate Glenn Oder that still required the property owner to pay the tenants bills.

The members on the Committee of Counties, Cities and Towns who "stalled" the bill that repealed the unconstitutional language are:
Glenn Oder, Matthew Lohr, Riley Ingram, Robert Marshall, Daniel W. Marshall, Salvatore Iaquinto, Anne B. Crockett-Stark, Charles D. Poindexter, Donald W. Merricks, Barry D. Knight, James W. Morefield, James e. Edmunds, Christopher Stolle, James LeMunyon, Lionell Spruill, Onzlee Ware, Albert Pollard, Delores McQuinn, Algie Howell, Scott Surovell, Kaye Kory, and Luke Torian.

I contacted Onzlee many times and his receptionist blocked me on every contact saying that Onzlee was concerned about the issue at hand and was looking into it and he will give me a call once he gathers some information. She obviously didn't think that I would end up finding out that Onzlee is the reason it got passed.

We also talked with the water authority in an attempt to get them to back down on their attacks against landlords while we get things changed. They said they would make a number of concessions but if we attempted to get the legislation changed they would require no water can be turned on in any house without it being in the name of the homeowner. Quite a stretch in my opinion and I think they would have an extremely difficult battle in doing so that would end up in failure.

Mike McEvoy, the Executive Director of Wastewater Services for Western Virginia Water Authority said:

"The Authority will set up an email account for property owners to register their properties with the Authority's billing division. In addition to physical addresses for each property, the registration information shall include contact information (name, address, telephone number, and email address) for a representative of the property owner so Authority staff can verify lease information. The Authority will require customers requesting service at these locations to provide the Authority with a copy of their lease. The Authority will copy the property owner on delinquent statements for customers at these locations. The Authority will set up direct telephone access to a staff member should property owners wish to verify the status of a particular account. The Authority will investigate use of credit reporting for customers that default on their accounts. Both parties agree to look for ways to get property owners with ongoing leak problems to make necessary plumbing repairs. Although not discussed in the meeting, the Authority will review its lien program to see if it can be modified to focus more on problem locations. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions."

I registered with them thinking that Mike was a man of his word and found that they reneged on their original agreement. They said on one property I own, there has never been a delinquent payment so they will not inform me of their being one until the 3rd issue. Personally, I would like to know right away so I can contact my tenant and nip it in the bud but the Water Authority refused to let me know. I also sent them a copy of my lease that the tenant signs to that allows me to check their utility bills from time to time to ensure they are being paid. They didn't care about my signed approval to check their utilities and still refused to let me know.

Another one of my properties that I just bought they told me that I will be notified because the house already has 3 delinquent payments on it. The funny thing about that is that I just bought it and my tenant has never been late. They decided to judge it based on the house and the previous landlords who have owned it. Now this rogue Water Authority has really taken it to the extreme.

A few years ago (2004) they were given the label of being a quasi governmental agency when they became an "Authority". What that basically means is that they are a private business with government powers. Similar to the Federal Reserve. And they are taking advantage of their title in a big way.

In addition they have not honored their agreement to focus on problem locations as they continue to give our members liens. They previously defined problem locations as being locations where a landlord knows of a leak in the house but refuses to repair it and continues to rent it out. The tenants get a huge water bill the first month they are there and move out without paying it and the landlord turns around and rents it again without fixing the problem.

This is one of the most ridiculous things I have heard. Why would a landlord not make a couple hundred dollar repair and continue having to re-rent a house over and over every year. Sounds far fetched to me but they said it exists.

Due to their lack of honoring our agreement we have no other option than to continue with legislative changes and or to sue them. Right now it's time to stop talking and start doing.

Thursday, October 7, 2010



I bought a foreclosed house on 832 Patterson Avenue in Roanoke from the bank a few months ago. The house was previously owned by a landlord who is the commander of the American National Socialist Workers Party, Bill White.

The American National Socialist Workers party is an offshoot version of Hitler's party. White is very well known both locally and nationally for his controversial views. So well known that he even has a Wikipedia page.

Bill White Wikipedia

White is presently serving a 2.5 year prison sentence for racially related statements he made to tenants in the Virginia Beach area.

Enough with the background information.

A couple weeks ago I was the victim of an arsonist. This person caught the corner of the 832 Patterson house that I bought from the bank that was owned by Bill White on fire. Fortunately the fire department showed up quickly and it only caused a few thousand dollars in damage.

The following week the arsonist burned another house diagonally behind my Patterson house on Campbell Ave. That house is presently owned by Bill White. The fire department called this fire an electrical fire because it started at the box.

After this fire I called Detective Williams to ask him about these fires and if he thought they were related. It's a pretty big coincidence for these two houses both at one point in time owned by Bill White to have had been burned in just a week. I suspected that these fires were possibly related and Detective Williams agreed.

Another indication is that Bill White had the power on in the vacant Campbell Avenue house for the past 2 years. It seems a little funny that for 2 years that box was fine and all of a sudden it catches fire for no apparent reason.

Last night the arsonist went back to my 832 Patterson house and burned it again. This time it appears that they climbed up on a 2nd floor porch and broke into the back door. The fire seemed to happen in a closet on the second floor and it burned up through the walls into the third floor apartment and did some pretty heavy damage as it worked it's way up the walls and poked out of one of the peaks just below the roof.

I've been contacted by most of the local media about this fire and have given a few interviews that will air tomorrow. It is very clear now that there is someone trying to retaliate against Neo Nazi Bill White and they thought my house was still owned by him.

I also felt I needed to post bright orange signs all around the house that say "Bill White Does NOT Own This House. PLEASE stop burning it!!!" in an attempt to notify the arsonist that I am not his or her enemy. In all honesty, I don't know what to do to stop this person.

I had previously disagreed (click here) on this blog with Vice Mayor and City Councilmen, Sherman Lee's idea to put 24hr surveillance cameras in the low income areas of town but am now having second thoughts. The ability to put "temporary" cameras in high crime areas might just be a good idea. The problem I see is the high likelihood that the government will abuse their power as they do with everything they put their hands on.

I'm a hard working guy who's just trying to make a living by fixing up junker houses and turning them into nice, safe and affordable housing for the people of Roanoke.

I would like to offer a $200 reward to any single person who gives information that directly leads to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals who burned my house twice.

If you have information please call me at 540-293-2335 or detective Williams at 540-853-5304.

Some Other Related Stories:


Channel 13

Channel 13 Video

Roanoke Times

Hampton Roads

Channel 7

Friday, October 1, 2010

Virginia Tenant Foreclosure Rights Code


Some interesting information I have found pertaining to foreclosures. Virginia State Code does not protect tenants rights in a foreclosure.

But there is recent federal legislation that was passed by the Obama administration. It's called the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 that gives rights to tenants when a property has been foreclosed that they are renting.

Before Bill 896 was passed, landlords getting foreclosed on didn't have to tell the tenants that the house was in foreclosure. They now are required to give them notice. Also, tenants now have the right to stay in the home until the end of the lease. Section 8 payments will stay in effect and will be sent to the new owner.

There are a couple of exceptions. If there is no lease the new landlord can give a 90 days notice to the tenants to move. Also if the new owner wants to live in the house they can give a 90 day notice. Landlords are required to honor the lease if there is one. If the tenants don't move out in the 90 days the new owner who wants to live in the house or the landlord who bought it and there was no lease will have to start the eviction process which will often takes between 2-4 months.

Therefore assuming there is no lease or the new owner will be an owner occupier of the property, it will take approximately 5 - 7 months for a new owner to get the tenants out of the house if the tenants refuse to leave.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Foreclosure Success for Property Manager Spanky Macher


Sounds a little strange huh? Success from a foreclosure.... Well that is exactly what happened. Spanky's building and parking lot in the heart of downtown Roanoke went to foreclosure sale this past Tuesday.

Here's a little background information:

Last October Spanky's mother passed. The properties Spanky managed were owned by his mother. All of the property was given to Spanky's kids and Spanky remained as the property manager. Recently Spanky made July's payment to Zions Bank one month late in August. The bank called and wanted payment immediately and Spanky paid August, September and part of October on August 29th.

Insurance was currant, taxes were being paid, everything was good. During August the bank proceeded with foreclosure even after being paid in full. Their reason was that his mother was the only signer on the note and there was no one to guarantee the note. The bank was using the "due on sale clause" that you find in all mortgage agreements due to the death of his mother. Highly unethical thing to do.

Spanky tried very hard to work with the bank, injunctions to stop them, etc but the bank and Marryellen Goodlatte (Bob Goodlatte's wife) were not willing to budge or even give him the time to have his kids secure a loan on this property that has boatloads of equity and ongoing cash flow from Nawab restaurant and 4 high end apartments upstairs. Given just a few weeks they easily would have had enough time to secure a loan on a property that has that much equity.

Spanky's kids only owed $423K on this 1.1 million dollar property (tax value). The 1.1 million dollar building is in one of the best locations in Roanoke City. Dead center in the heart of downtown. When the market is up that building is going to be worth it's weight in gold.

Remarkably luck was on the side of Spanky's kids. The property sold at foreclosure to Nawab Restaurant who was the highest bidder. They paid $780,000 for this property. Yes, the tax assessed value is 1.1 million but Roanoke City has not dropped the value of their assessments in an attempt to collect money that is not owed to them from all Roanoke citizens. Property values went down by 18-20% since the bubble popped as reported by the president of the Realtors Association in Roanoke.

You see, commercial property is valued based on it's capitalization rate (Cap Rate). Most commercial property is sold at or better than a 10% cap rate. A 10% cap rate for that property is $750,000. That's it's true value as a commercial property based on rents, expenses, and many other factors. Therefore this was untypically a very successful foreclosure considering the equity in the property and amount it sold for.

It also turned out good for Nawab because they now own the building they are in, have 4 apartments upstairs that will cover a great deal of their mortgage and have a large income producing parking lot behind the building right across from the art museum.

REI Approved Contractors List


These are contractors and vendors that various members of our group have recommended. The only way to get on this list is from a recommendation from one of our members.

The criteria of being on this list require that pricing is lower than other equally qualified people in their field. If you have been using someone that you like but have not had comparative estimates please don’t recommend them.

If someone on the list does work for a member and does them wrong in some way or another they will be removed from the list. Email me if you would like to add someone. Email me if someones contact information no longer works.


Architectural Engineers 
- Day and Kinder Consulting Engineers PLLC 540-774-5706

Asphalt Driveways
- D.L. Barker Paving 293-1453 We called around, got many quotes, they had the best prices. Job looked good, a little grass grew through the asphalt and we sprayed some round up on it. Cheap, good for a flip.*

- Our member Taz, Custom built, fair prices. Can beat Lowes! or 540-892-0454 *

Carpet, Floor, Furniture Cleaning

Carpet and Vinyl Installation

- Billy - 540-570-2905 works in Roanoke, Lexington and Buena Vista, will travel.

Drywall / Plaster

- Shane Boone, 397-3287 beautiful plaster work (textures), drywall.

- David Woodie “Name Your Price” 540-580-4060 good work and price*
- Tim Dooley, 540-563-8519 or cell 540-354-1279
- Keenan Electric, John Keenan; 540-334-4168, Licensed; quality work and reliable for reasonable price. Use for renovations and service rentals. Accept credit cards
- Robbie Reedy 540-537-7357

General Handyman

-C. David Woodie, master electrician, state license, planning and design consultations, footer to trim construction, full electrical services, "Name Your Price" Service, emergency service available, Call 540-580-4060. Leave a message, calls returned within 1 hr.
 -Macon Claybrook - Painting, general repairs and landscaping - 540-494-7752

Hardwood Flooring

-Lee-Tech Hardwood Floors, these guys are great at refinishing hardwood floors and the price is right. Can also install new hardwood. Call 540-588-6217 *

- Tim Dooley, 540-563-8519 or cell 540-354-1279, good prices and I called him on Friday at 2pm, he had a new heating system in for my tenants the same day. Tim is also an electrician and was a builder so he has extensive knowledge of many trades*

-Everything from cheap fiberglass options to open and close cell spray foam. They have very affordable solutions. New River Insulation 540-320-7508. Ask for Dennis.

-Tripp Godsey 540-777-1566 or  Landlords, remodelers, homeowners, business, auto, life, health, etc.

-Macon Claybrook - Landscaping, painting and general repair - 540-494-7752

Lawyers Real Estate
-Ross Hart - Landlord tenant expert 540-375-3281 or
-Darren Delefield - Agreement with group on pricing 540-366-8665 or
-Laura Wright - Closing Attorney 540-293-1510 or

Licensed Contractors
- Millers Home Improvements - REI Member - Dennis Miller: 540-312-8085, Remodeling, Roofing, Siding, Drywall, Decks, Foundation Repair, fair prices, high end work.

- Bill Hayes - All kinds of brickwork, cinder blocks, stucco, concrete, etc. Fair prices. Call 540-204-8257



-Dooley Brothers Painting (Tommy Dooley) 597-4080 Highly recommended. Fast, dependable, high quality work. Good pricing.

Pest Control
- REI Member Twoie Knox @ B and C Exterminating - 540.342.5828. Quality, Economical and Dependable.
- Jerry Compton 389-0356 (price is right)*


- Tim Dooley, 540-563-8519 or cell 540-354-1279
- Plumbing Specialists, Ricky May; 540-387-2153, Licensed; quality work and reliable for reasonable price. Use for renovations and service rentals. Accept credit cards.
- CJ's  Plumbing, Heating and AC, 389-5909, dependable, reliable, easy to work with, knowledgeable, guarantee their work.
- Alan Wood, small jobs and repairs, good and reasonable, 540-890-6040


Scrappers (work for free in trade for the metal)
-Bob’s Appliance and Metal Removal 540-342-2811, Bob is also good at drywall work and can pull together people to get the job done

-Siding, gutters, windows and roofing. Robbie Pierce of Pierce Siding and Window Co. 389-1168. Excellent work.
-  Daniel Wright.  Gave lowest bid on siding on a two-story house.  Was reliable in completing the job in a timely way.  If you write a detailed punch list, he tries to follow the list.  He said that he can also install roofing shingles and hang drywall (but doesn't do the finish work on drywall).  540-352-7336.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Just A Few Of The Hidden Taxes Slipped In To The Health Care Bill


3.8% sales tax on your home. Beyond closing costs and real estate fees you will as of 2013 be forced to pay tax on the sale of your home of 3.8% if you sold it for more than 250K being single or 500K being married. A qualifying factor is you have to make over 200K a year if you are single or 250K a year if you are married to be punished with this tax.

If you don't buy a government approved health care plan you will be required to pay 2.5% of your annual income as a fine to the government.

You will pay a fine of $347 per kid if you don't buy your kids a government approved health care plan.

If you have 50 or more employees you will pay a fine of at least $2,000 per employee if you don't get a government approved plan.

If you are an investor who makes over $200,000 a year you will pay 3.8% of your annual investment income to the government.

If you get a better health care program than the regular government approved program you will pay a 40% annual tax on the plan.

If you earn $200,000 or more you will pay a special Medicare tax of 3.9%


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lowes Defective Drywall Lawsuit


One of our members tipped me off on a lawsuit against Lowes for defective drywall that was sold prior to 7/27/10. This is similar to the drywall that we have been hearing about that causes health problems, corrosion of metal pipes in your walls, damage to HVAC systems, etc. It has a slight rotten egg smell from the off gassing or VOC's of sulfur.

The court only required Lowe's to publish this information in only a few relatively obscure publications so many don't know about it. You may have seen it on the bottom of your Lowe's receipts lately.

The choices I see on the suit are to either get a
* $50 gift certificate if you bought it but can't prove it with a receipt
* $250 gift certificate if you bought it and can prove it
* $2,000 gift certificate if you bought it, can prove it and can prove damages, health issues or some issue directly related to the drywall.
* If you can prove you spent over $2,000 in drywall you can also get an additional cash reward of $2,500 along with the 2K gift certificate.

If you take the money you hold Lowes not responsible for all future claims and can not sue them if you find problems down the road.

As you know, $4,500 wouldn't even come close to covering the damages that could be caused by defective drywall over the years.

If you wish to not take any money from the settlement but want to have the right to sue Lowes in the future if you have damages you can prove you are required to officially "exclude" yourself from the settlement.

And if you do nothing at all (if you don't exclude yourself or don't take payment), you get no part of the above settlement and you forever give up your right to sue Lowes for any future claims related to the off gassing of sulfur from defective drywall.

For more information and claim forms click this link.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Roanoke Landlord Bill White Faces Civil Charges While Still In Prision

The Civil case against Bill White is over. The jury awarded $545,000 to the plaintiffs who received a letter from White making statements like "Dear Whiney Section 8 N-----", "dirty parasites", "patience with you and the government that coddles you runs thin" etc. He then went on to describe blacks as animals and Jews as demons.

The letter was sent by White after the five black females filed a discrimination lawsuit against their landlord in Virginia Beach. Their landlord (retired dentist John Crockett Henry) in Virginia Beach was accused of racial slurs and imposed a curfew for black residents only in his 30 unit apartment complex. They won this case as well.

Apparently Henry told one of the black females that the complex was his "ghetto tribe plantation" and that if she would "act like a human being, he wouldn't have to train her". He established a quiet time policy requiring them to stay in their apartments from 10PM to 6AM and engage in quiet activities. He also apparently was harassing them by serving trespassing notes to their guests.

Many other black tenants in his complex reported many good things about Henry saying these charges were false.

Henry lost the civil case and was ordered to pay $361,000 for violations of the Fair Housing Act. His loss was based on refusing to rent apartments to families with three or more children, restrictive rules on Blacks in the complex, verbal harassment of blacks in the complex and enforcing a limit of 2 children per family at the premises.

Roanoke Landlord Ordered To Pay Triple Damages Totalling $13,600


Landlord Gunther Gass was charged triple damages in court today for trying to use an unconventional method of tenant removal. From what I understand a landlord only pays triple damages if they have over 10 units or are Section 8 landlords. Gunther Gass appears to have 2 houses and this case doesn't appear to be section 8 because the tenant had rent to pay. If anyone knows the law on this please comment.

Landlord ordered to pay tenant

Gunther Gass of Elliston had tried to evict his renter by turning off her water. By Mike Gangloff

A landlord who tried to evict a tenant by turning off her water, reporting her to Child Protective Services and summoning police to roust her from her bed must pay $13,600, a judge said in an order to be entered in Roanoke General District Court today.

Shannon M. Boyd's struggle with her landlord, retold last week in court, began in December when she notified him she had lost her job and would be unable to pay the $575 monthly rent until she got her final paycheck. Boyd shared a Southeast Roanoke duplex with her two children and her boyfriend.

The landlord, Gunther Gass of Elliston, replied that she'd better find the money.

On Dec. 29, Gass had Boyd's water turned off. On Dec. 30, he came to the duplex with a city housing inspector, who condemned the building and said no one could live there unless water was restored within two days. Gass said he had no intention of doing that unless Boyd paid him, she said.

Then, after Gass and the inspector left, a Child Protective Services worker arrived to tell Boyd that Gass had reported she was keeping her children, ages 1 and 4, in an unsafe home.

Boyd moved her children to her parents' home in Bedford County, but returned to the apartment late on New Year's Day. Her arrival was reported to Gass by neighbor Elizabeth Dudley, who described herself in court last week as a neighborhood watch leader.

Gass called police, then came to the duplex and unlocked the door so officers could enter. Boyd testified that she was in bed and was undressed, and officers made her put clothes on as they watched, then charged her with trespassing and told her to leave the apartment. The trespassing charge was thrown out when it came to court.

In last week's hearing, Gass apologized and said he had acted badly. He said he had been swayed by months of calls from Dudley, who said the eight security cameras around her residence recorded activity that included fights and what she thought might be drug dealing.

But when Judge Frederick King asked Dudley if she had definitely seen drugs, she said she had not. And Boyd said that topless video footage of her that Dudley claimed to have taken could only have been shot through Boyd's window.

In the order set to become effective today, King said that Gass, who had more than 15 years experience as a landlord, knew how to lawfully evict someone. Instead, Gass showed a "willful and wanton disregard" for Boyd's rights and violated his own lease with her, King said.

King awarded $2,500 to Boyd for a trespass claim, $2,500 for malicious prosecution, $2,500 in punitive damages and refunded her $575 security deposit.

He said Gass violated Virginia landlord-tenant and consumer protection laws, and awarded Boyd $525 as triple damages for an illegally steep $175 late fee Gass charged when Boyd was a few days late with her November rent. King also ordered Gass to pay $5,000 to the Legal Aid Society of Roanoke Valley, which represented Boyd in her lawsuit against Gass.

"It's really nice to have recognition that all the claims were well-founded," attorney Henry Woodward of the Legal Aid Society said.

Gass will have 10 days to appeal King's order.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

All Of The Auctioneers Mailing Lists Around Here


If you would like to get on all of the auctioneers mailing lists..... here they are. If you know of any others that auction property in the Greater Roanoke area please comment.

What You Need To Know About The Mortgage Crisis


Liberal New York Times Article, Further Evidence

Nearly 50 Percent Leave Mortgage-Aid Program

Obama and the Democrats who voted for the bailout gives your hard earned tax payer dollars to banks to help people who never should have owned a home. The banks line their pockets with your money taking it in trade for extending someones length of mortgage or discounting it for a while and charging them on the back side of the mortgage. Nearly 50% of the tax payer money welfare program participants can't make those reduced payments either and drop out or get kicked out of the program. Your grandchildren will be paying back this bailout which in all reality ended up in the banks pockets. The banks historically take about 100,000 houses per year. We are on track for 1 million this year. In 2011 it is predicted that there will be about 1.5 million foreclosures or short sales.

WASHINGTON (Aug. 20) -- Nearly half of the 1.3 million homeowners who enrolled in the Obama administration's flagship mortgage-relief program have fallen out.

The program is intended to help those at risk of foreclosure by lowering their monthly mortgage payments. Friday's report from the Treasury Department suggests the $75 billion government effort is failing to slow the tide of foreclosures in the United States, economists say.

More than 2.3 million homes have been repossessed by lenders since the recession began in December 2007, according to foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc. Economists expect the number of foreclosures to grow well into next year.

"The government program as currently structured is petering out. It is taking in fewer homeowners, more are dropping out and fewer people are ending up in permanent modifications," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics.

Besides forcing people from their homes, foreclosures and distressed home sales have pushed down on home values and crippled the broader housing industry. They have made it difficult for homebuilders to compete with the depressed prices and discouraged potential sellers from putting their homes on the market.

Approximately 630,000 people who had tried to get their monthly mortgage payments lowered through the government program have been cut loose through July, according to the Treasury report. That's about 48 percent of the those who had enrolled since March 2009. And it is up from more than 40 percent through June.

Another 421,804, or roughly 32 percent of those who started the program, have received permanent loan modifications and are making their payments on time.

RealtyTrac reported that the number of U.S. homes lost to foreclosure surged in July to 92,858 properties, up 9 percent from June. The pace of repossessions has been increasing and the nation is now on track to having more than 1 million homes lost to foreclosure by the end of the year. That would eclipse the more than 900,000 homes repossessed in 2009, the firm says.

Lenders have historically taken over about 100,000 homes a year, according to RealtyTrac.

Zandi said the government effort will likely end up helping only about 500,000 homeowners lower their monthly payments on a permanent basis. That's a small percentage of the number of people who have already lost their homes to foreclosure or distressed sales like short sales - when lenders let homeowners sell for less than they owe on their mortgages.

Zandi predicts another 1.5 million foreclosures or short sales in 2011.

"We still have a lot more foreclosures to come and further home price declines," Zandi said. He said home prices, which have already fallen 30 percent since the peak of the housing boom, would drop by another 5 percent by next spring.

Many borrowers have complained that the government program is a bureaucratic nightmare. They say banks often lose their documents and then claim borrowers did not send back the necessary paperwork.

The banking industry said borrowers weren't sending back their paperwork. They also have accused the Obama administration of initially pressuring them to sign up borrowers without insisting first on proof of their income. When banks later moved to collect the information, many troubled homeowners were disqualified or dropped out.

Obama officials dispute that they pressured banks. They have defended the program, saying lenders are making more significant cuts to borrowers' monthly payments than before the program was launched. And some of the largest mortgage companies in the program have offered alternative programs to those who fell out.

Homeowners who qualify can receive an interest rate as low as 2 percent for five years and a longer repayment period. Those who have successfully navigated the program to reach permanent modifications have seen their monthly payments cut on average by about $500.

Homeowners first receive temporary modifications and those are supposed to become permanent after borrowers make three payments on time and complete all the required paperwork. That includes proof of income and a letter explaining the reason for their troubles. But in practice, the process has taken far longer.

The more than 100 participating mortgage companies get taxpayer incentives to reduce payments. As of mid-June only $490 million had been spent out of a potential $75 billion the government has made available to help stem the wave of foreclosures.


AP Real Estate Writer Alan Zibel in Washington and Alex Veiga in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Roanoke Landlord Strong Arm's Deadbeat Tenant Out Which Causes Unnecessary Drama

We all know how it feels when a tenant is shacking up in your place for free while you have a mortgage and many other expenses to pay. Much of the problem is related to the politician created Virginia Landlord Tenant Act which allows the tenant to get a free ride for 2-3 months or more. Gunther Gass, a Roanoke landlord tried to get this deadbeat out of his house using a number of unconventional methods. One of which was cutting off the water he was paying for the tenant who refused to pay him. In this particular incidence, I would have to side with the landlord. It should be allowed to end the water bill if your tenant refuses to pay rent. And it's outrageous that landlords in Virginia are forced to provide utilities that they are paying for even if the tenant is a deadbeat.

Lets turn this around. A politician owns a business and gives credit to some people. They don't pay for the items or services they bought. Should the politician be forced to continue to provide the product or service until a judge decides they can stop which could be 2-3 months later or more, increasing the debt substantially? If not, why should a landlord? Is it because the landlord is an evil rich landlord who doesn't have mortgages and mass expenses to pay? And is the politician is a good person who is only looking out for the people so he or she shouldn't have the same thing imposed on them?

Lets get real people. Enough is enough!

Read this Roanoke Times article to see how it turned out.

Court testimony details tenant-landlord tensions
The tenant filed the lawsuit to accuse her former landlord of trespass, malicious prosecution and other violations.

By Mike Gangloff

Retold Thursday in a Roanoke courtroom, the eventful end of Shannon M. Boyd's tenancy in Gunther Gass' rental duplex in Southeast was a tale of landlord-tenant relations gone awfully wrong.

"It's way over the top. It's the sort of thing you just don't hear about even in fiction very much," said Henry Woodward of the Legal Aid Society of the Roanoke Valley, who represented Boyd in a lawsuit she filed to accuse Gass of trespass, malicious prosecution and violations of Virginia housing regulations.

Consider just the events of Dec. 30, none of which Gass disputed.

First, Boyd testified, she discovered via a home test that she was pregnant with her third child.
Later that morning, Gass, who owned Boyd's apartment and who a day earlier had cut off the water because she was two weeks late with her rent, showed up with a city building inspector. The inspector condemned the building, telling Gass he had two days to restore water service or no one could live there.

Then, after Gass and the inspector left, a child protective services worker arrived to look into a complaint -- filed by Gass -- that Boyd was keeping her 1-year-old and 4-year-old in an unsafe home. Eventually satisfied that Boyd was not causing the problem, and that she was taking her children to stay at her parents' home in Bedford County, the social worker advised her to get an attorney, Boyd said.

That eventually led to Thursday's hearing.

Boyd said she, her boyfriend and her children had moved into the duplex in September and paid the first couple of months rent on time. She was a few days late in November, and Gass charged a $175 late fee.

Then about Dec. 10, five days before her rent was due, Boyd lost her job at Hotel Roanoke. She said she tried to do the right thing, calling Gass to say that she would not be able to pay until she received her last paycheck. Her boyfriend, who had worked nights for her father's cleaning business, had already lost his job because of a decline in cleaning contracts, she said.
Gass told her to find the money, and said he'd kicked people out in 48 hours before.
Boyd said she heard nothing more until Dec. 30.

The final blow came on New Year's Day. Boyd had gone to her parents' home and spent New Year's Eve caring for all her family's kids while the adults attended a pray-in-the-new-year church service. Late on Jan. 1, she came back to the duplex to retrieve some of her belongings.
She, her boyfriend and her 4-year-old daughter -- her other child had remained with her parents -- went to sleep soon after their 10 p.m. arrival. About midnight, Boyd said, she was awakened by Roanoke police who Gass had let into the apartment. Officers held their lights on her while she got dressed, Boyd said, then kicked her out after giving her a summons for trespassing -- a charge that was thrown out when it came to court in February.

With Gass not challenging the sequence of events, Thursday's hearing really revolved around how much he would have to pay Boyd, who asked for just under $15,000, plus about $5,000 in attorney fees.

Gass, who lives in Elliston and said he had been a landlord for 15 years or more, apologized, saying he should have followed legal eviction steps if he wanted his tenants out. He said he panicked after getting numerous reports about possible drug use and fights from Elizabeth Dudley, who described herself on the witness stand as the neighborhood watch leader.
Dudley testified that she called Gass the night of Jan. 1 after seeing Boyd return. She said that over the months, her eight security cameras caught a variety of unsavory behavior at her neighbors' home, including footage of a partially unclad Boyd that Boyd said had to have been taken through the window of Boyd's apartment.

Judge Frederick King asked Dudley if she had actually seen Boyd or her boyfriend with drugs and Dudley said she had not.

"Did you consider her to be a busybody?" the judge asked Gass when the landlord returned to the stand. "She threw the bait in the water and you bit on it."

King said he would make no ruling Thursday other than to declare Boyd's lease terminated. But he said he would issue an overall decision soon.

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