Roanoke, VA

Flipping houses hurts the least of these among us

Cheryl E Preston
Some landlords are only looking out for the moneyPhoto byKostiantyn LionUnsplash

Kicked out after 40 years

An older couple retired couple whose family I have known for 45 years was forced to move last December. I was told they had been in their home for 42 years but were renters. Their landlord died and his children decided to sell the house. The new landlord refused to renew their release and they had 60 days to find somewhere else to live. Spending 4 decades in one home and abruptly having to look for a new one had got to be traumatizing but it was done. I have been told this takes place across the state as well as the US.

There was no regard for the fact that the former occupants were a couple of seniors who had called that address home for over 40 years. They were kicked out as if their lives did not matter all in the name of money. They now are paying higher rent and adjusting to a different neighborhood. Senior renter's rights don't seem to cover these situations.

I had wondered if the new owner was going to raise the rent after the renovations or flip the house to make a profit and now I know. Someone else will purchase this home more than likely at a price far more than it is worth but will it be to live in it or only to make additional changes and flip the house again? I never saw the first landlord make any repairs while the older couple resided there. He just collected the rent money as the house aged.
Older renters have problemsPhoto byAaron SousaonUnsplash

Why not look out or the elderly and the poor?

This scenario is not a one-time thing as it is playing out all across Roanoke City and the US as the love of money is valued more than the wellbeing of humans and landlords seek profit over helping those who need it the most. It would have been nice if the previous landlord had made necessary repairs or the new landlord had allowed the couple to remain and still fixed up the house but that decision would not have resulted in a profit. Sadly this is one of the reasons the homeless population is growing. Renters are put out and most times cannot afford to go somewhere else because the rent is too high.

In another local situation, a landlord sold a house and told the renters the new owner would honor the lease. Instead, a representative for the new owner showed up and told the family house was not livable and they had to move ASAP. They contacted Legal Aid and were told they could not be forced out immediately without notice and they soon found somewhere else to live.

Unfortunately in similar cases, the new landlord has sent City inspectors to condemn homes and the occupants had only 3 days to move. One elderly man decades ago was heating his home with a kerosene heater and a Roanoke City inspector told him this was a violation so he had to move. If a home really is in a state where it should be condemned there needs to be something in place to help those who cannot immediately find somewhere else to go.

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I write, about breaking news, and current events. I wrote a newspaper column from 1997 to 2007 and have written for various online platforms since 2012 including Yahoo Contributor Network, Hubpages, and Vocal Media.

Roanoke, VA

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