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East End News

What to do when tenants of a rental property are having a negative impact?

From Frank:

These are all photos from 300 block of N. 31st Street on either side of my house. This was today after the trash was picked of by the City!

I am at a loss. Every week, departing tenants leave furniture, trash and appliances in the alley and on the sidewalks. The chair in the photo actually had a sign: “FREE! Please Take!”.

What recourse do we have beyond having to call the city to pick up trash that we did not just leave.

I am assuming that these “landlords” have held a deposit; why can’t they hire cleanup crews?

The red brick building at 305 N. 31st seems to now offer weekly rentals as there is a new dumping every week. This particular property has gotten much worse over the last six months.

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51 comments

JessOfRVA 06/16/2017 at 10:20 AM

A few years ago a set of neighbors were particularly messy when they moved out (4 car lengths worth of garbage, trashed furniture, and stuff they didn’t want to bother taking to Goodwill). I put in a SeeClickFix request, but I also called my landlord immediately and let them know about the volume of stuff present, as I suspected the City would refuse to take all of it at once. She ended up docking a portion of their deposit for the cost of having someone haul away the stuff.

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H. Walker 06/16/2017 at 10:25 AM

Contact the owner of the building. Document the mess. Report Bulk Trash Pick-Up on See/Click/Fix website. Nice table and desktop book shelves though. If I had the time and vehicle, I’d come pick them up. Not the chair though.

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35th & M 06/16/2017 at 10:56 AM

Never understood why the Public Works employees who empty our trash are not told to report items they cannot pick-up when they make their regular rounds. Trash is trash regardless of whether it fits in a trash can.

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Jeff C 06/16/2017 at 10:57 AM

Hi everyone.

The table and all was actually left by the people living above us. We have contacted the property manager to try and have that stuff taken away.

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Michael Brap 06/16/2017 at 10:03 AM

Im sure someone has a pickup truck in Churchill. Too many cry babies in the hill lately

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Rita Austera 06/16/2017 at 11:16 AM

Some areas become a dumping spot. Once established people add to that pile because “someone will pick it all up.”
You see in a lot from the rentals on 31st and Q. I’ve even said to my daughter, surely people can’t be moving in and out that often! Often it looks like an entire household. I think it’s often eviction related too. Frustrating issue.

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mary 06/16/2017 at 1:13 PM

#5 – And so someone with a pickup truck in “Churchill” collects this stuff? What happens then?

Richmond has one dump that takes this stuff and it’s south of the river and a long wait once there because it’s the only place in the city open for this crap.

For nearly 6 years there’s been an effort to have what is now the mulch dump, our “dump” in the east end, ONCE AGAIN be open to taking this sort of stuff.

Since during those years our local council person was unresponsive to the problem, a public request to all of city council was made at one of their meetings in April following which our council rep got dumpsters put in place at “dump” to take bagged household debris…a nice but incremental step in curbing the real problem of illegal dumping in the east end.

Because the big problem is stuff like this illegally left littering our alleys and streets and sidewalks and vacant lots and this crap is SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED from the recent development of dumpsters for bagged trash.

At least one city council member responded at the meeting in April that she was totally unaware and surprised that there was not a dump north of the river to take this stuff…surprised in a city this size that so under-serves its residents.

And we can’t get our council person to respond to inquiries about progress toward having the dump take this stuff like it did for decades: Two requests to her for an update to present to a recent civic association meeting elicited “promises” but no responses.

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Teresa Nieding Carrel 06/16/2017 at 12:24 PM

Weekly rentals are never good for the neighborhood. It’s unfortunate that you have to deal w that. There is an app called "see click fix" where you can report pickups. I always put used appliances that I don’t want on Craigslist for free and someone always wants them for the metal. BUT, I think it’s pretty irresponsible of the landlord to do that. And, you’re right next to an elementary school. If it were me, I’d find out who it was and call them. I’ve done that. I’ve also called the city council rep before on a problem house near a house I owned where I didn’t get anywhere w the owner (bigger probs than yours). It actually was helpful in my case. Questions: what are zoning rules for weekly rentals? Isn’t there a city rule that trash can only go out the evening before trash day? Also, I didn’t think landlords were allowed to put stuff on the street like that anymore. Someone had told me that but I’ve never seen it in writing.

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Cameron Lockard 06/16/2017 at 12:41 PM

Ultimately, property taxes pay the city to hold such behavior accountable. So, ideally, you’d be able to simply report it. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though.

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Teresa Nieding Carrel 06/16/2017 at 12:46 PM

Lol, I know trash cans are out all the time. I didn’t see anything that forbids bulk pick ups being out there either. It says they come around monthly. Ughgh.

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Ashley Tucker 06/16/2017 at 12:49 PM

I would just like to point out that this issue occurs with people who own their homes too.

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Clay Street 06/16/2017 at 1:50 PM

Ugh that sucks. I would get in touch with the landlord (mail a letter) and tell them you may be complaining to the city.

Maybe it should be “inspection time” over at the property if weekly rentals are happening…

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Victoria McGovern 06/16/2017 at 1:03 PM

Cry me a river. The way this neighborhood has started treating renters lately and even long time residents, is appalling. Calling them "riff raff" and such. They are the same people who wouldn’t have visited this neighborhood in the past. People who own leave things out too by the way, and just as much as a renter. So stop trying to give renters a bad rap, because you are too high on your horse. There is a bed in our alleyway left by owners who sold their home and moved, but I’m not going to cry about it.

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Nia McCabe Strei 06/16/2017 at 2:20 PM

Where do you get the idea that they are ‘weekly’ rentals. ?

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Jeff C 06/16/2017 at 3:30 PM

I can speak from personal experience that many renters are not informed that bulk trash is even a thing – this is the first I’ve heard of that and the existence of a Richmond dump!

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Terry 06/16/2017 at 3:43 PM

In our alley on 30th Street between 29th and 30th the trash cans are alway full of stuff that regular pick up will not take. There are also weeds, sticks and dead grass in the recycle bins-which doesn’t get taken either. Broken furniture and such is not removed and the landlord unresponsive.

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Chromaticcolor@gmail.com 06/16/2017 at 4:09 PM

Call 646.7000. The city has free bulk pick up for almost anything. They are a few weeks out right now.

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CQ 06/16/2017 at 4:32 PM

I understand the frustration bulk trash causes on neighbors. It is definitely not a good thing to leave your problems for others to fix them regardless if you are a renter or an owner. I have a few neighbors that love to do that and after I clean up they do it again.

But I think if we clean up our alleys people would be somewhat discouraged to leave stuff like that. Should we organize a community group to clean up our alleys? Who is up for it?

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Brandon Czeizinger 06/16/2017 at 4:25 PM

I was wondering that to lol

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Kay9 06/16/2017 at 5:39 PM

Has anyone looked at the alley from 29th-31st that runs along Chimborazo Playground? It is DISGUSTING!!! And there are homeowners living in those homes. It is the most filthy sight and I’m embarrassed for everyone living along that stretch…obviously, no sense of pride. Trash on the ground outside of containers…do you really thing anyone is going to pick that up?…Trash and weeds, downed tress, downed wires, broken fences, shit all through the yards—a real pig pen!

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Frank 06/16/2017 at 6:00 PM

I appreciate the suggestions and thank my neighbor who has contacted property manager. I also apologize as I was not trying to disparage renters (i did not use the term “riff raff”) but rather describing the situation. I have been a renter on The Hill myself. Along with many current renter/owner neighbors, I take responsibility for weeding, cleaning, shoveling snow on sidewalks beyond mine and picking up trash in the alleys. MY CONCERN is the role of landlords; I am not on their payroll therefore I will not do work that should be their responsibility.

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Kay9 06/16/2017 at 6:02 PM

@18…No! The property owners should get their lazy a$$es out there and clean it up for God’s sake!

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Kate Meacham 06/16/2017 at 5:13 PM

Or you could move back to the suburbs

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Bill Hartsock 06/16/2017 at 8:32 PM

23. Snarky comments like that do not make for a friendly neighborhood. You add nothing to the discussion.

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Churchchillin 06/16/2017 at 9:34 PM

This is what u deal with when the neighborhood has been GENTRIFIED!!
QUIT crying and help your poor neighbor

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Ben 06/16/2017 at 10:22 PM

I can’t stand the argument some are making that because this is the city that it’s excusable. It’s asking almost nothing of people to act like decent neighbors and clean up their junk. The landlords need to be contacted and given an opportunity to respond, but I do sympathize if you live next to a deadbeat landlord property. I do think the suggestion to clean up the alleys is a good one…ever notice that everyone says their alley is the worst? Well guess what, that means they’re all a dump. Maybe I’ll get off my duff and clean ours this weekend…

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Lannie 06/16/2017 at 11:40 PM

@13- Amen, Victoria! There are professional people who prefer to rent and some who need to rent due to various circumstances. Many of us pay more in rent than homeowners pay in mortgages and there are quite a few of us who have lived here more than ten years. People need to stop generalizing, looking down on us and acting as if we are beneath homeowners!

I was just as disgusted as anyone to see an old plaid loveseat sitting in the 2500 block of East Franklin for weeks and weeks on end, but I didn’t presuppose it had been left by either a renter or a homeowner. I figured it belonged to someone who hadn’t been raised to understand and uphold our collective responsibility to be decent neighbors.

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Annon 06/16/2017 at 11:57 PM

I manage a few single-family and small multifamily rental properties (i.e. served by city trash service) in the area and I think the real issue is that the city takes SO DAMN LONG to pick up bulk trash. The process usually goes something like this:

First, a tenant gets a new sofa. Next, the tenant might ask me what to do with the old one (*might* being the key word). I tell them that, ideally, they should haul it to the dump, but since that’s on the other side of the river they can also request a bulk pickup. Usually, these folks don’t own a truck and, believe it or not neither do I – so the bulk pickup option is much easier. Sometimes, we skip this second step and the tenant just puts it on the curb and assumes the trash fairy will come and make everything better. Either way, step two usually involves the sofa ending up somewhere obtrusive where it’s not supposed to be.

Third step, and this is important: the city tells the tenant (or me, if I am calling on behalf of someone too hapless to realize that sofas won’t sublimate into nothingness) that they (or I) should put the sofa on the curb or in the alleyway, and it will (hopefully) be picked up within a month. Inevitably, the neighbors are pissed off by the end of the first week.

If I’m super lucky, someone who really wants a sofa and… can’t afford a brand new one (or just doesn’t give a damn? I really can’t figure this out: Bed bugs are horrible, and Richmond is crawling with them…) will just take it and, thankfully, it won’t sit there the whole damn month.

But unfortunately, the fourth step in this process is usually waiting 45-60 days (because really, you think Richmond city government can get anything done in thirty days? Dream on) for the city to come get the sofa. During which time other tenants, neighbors, and random strangers decide to throw all their bulk items (And even random stuff like rotten food and bagged garbage) onto the sofa.

In some cases, the city never comes to pick up this hypothetical sofa, or the city picks up the sofa but not all the trash that has accumulated, which leads to step five: Calling the city again.

Theoretically, this can devolve into an endless series of rinse and repeat (and somehow, the wait time grows exponentially each successive time you have to call about the same pile of trash). There are sometimes a few extra steps that come into play, like politely explaining to code enforcement that “the mountain of garbage that started out as a single coffee table at the curb has a bulk pickup request pending and I have no possible way of knowing when the truck will come to pick it up” which makes it extremely difficult to comply with their notice to remove the mountain of lawful and illegally dumped junk within five days or be fined. Usually they relent.

All of this ultimately leads to a final step: Calling 1-800-Got-Junk or renting a moving van and hauling the shit to the dump because the city is hopelessly inefficient. As an alternative, I occasionally take an axe to larger items, chip them into little pieces, and dispose of them with normal trash.

Obviously, this clearly should not be a theoretically endless process with contradictory instructions from multiple city agencies which typically ends with a very angry man with an axe turning furniture into mulch on what should have been his day off. But it is.

Not to keep ranting, but please also be aware: I have never received a completely clear answer from public works as to who is actually supposed to be responsible for garbage removal in a variety of landlord tenant trash situations. I am not out to take advantage of a free service that I am not supposed to use. I have made a point of being completely up front about the fact that I am trying to dispose of tenant move-out trash, for example, and the city always agrees to come and collect it anyway (well, they sort of collect it, see everything above).

I used to think that what was needed was a system where the landlord could provide tenant information to the city so the tenant could be fined for dumping the shit they left in the apartment when they moved out. But unfortunately, this still wouldn’t resolve the fact that it routinely takes the city a month or longer to collect bulk pickups, during which time a single dining chair can turn into enough trash to fill a dining room.

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Annon 06/16/2017 at 11:57 PM

P.S. – thank you to anyone that actually read that. This is an issue that makes me literally crazy.

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David 06/17/2017 at 7:20 AM

The old saying holds true – no good deed goes on punished Since when did it become the city’s responsibility to pick up bulk trash? It is the property owners responsibility to remove the junk from their property immediately I’m so sorry you don’t have a truck so pay somebody to get it out of there The entitlement mentality is over whelming.

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John M 06/17/2017 at 7:31 AM

@David – not sure that it’s exactly “entitlement mentality” to attempt to make use of a service that is offered by the city (http://www.richmondgov.com/PublicWorks/RefuseCollection.aspx – scroll down to “Bulk and Brush Refuse Collection”), or wanting that offered service to work better.

FWIW – this is something that Mayor Stoney has proposed a fix for (http://www.richmondgov.com/PressSecretaryMayor/robocopy/documents/LeafBulkBrushFAQ.pdf)

I do agree with David, though, in that ultimately it does come down to the landlord/property owner. If the service offered by the city doesn’t work, then dealing with it through other means is part of the price of doing business.

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Eds 06/17/2017 at 7:43 AM

In the old days, CHA organized alley rallies which was the neighborhood cleaning the alleys with city trucks. This tradition might need to start again.

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Frank reynolds 06/17/2017 at 8:25 AM

Everyone, calm down. This isnt trash, it’s a pop up art exhibit and coffee shop.it’s all the rage.embrace it!

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Annon 06/17/2017 at 8:39 AM

@David/@john –

Ultimately, what it comes down to is this: the city currently does offer bulk collection. And we already know that the city *should* offer bulk collection, because if the city didn’t collect bulk garbage, people would obviously just throw things out in the alleys and on the curbs anyway. I say “obviously” because the fact that folks already will just throw things out without bothering to call for a pickup is pretty good evidence that a lot of people don’t care. The fact that some will put it in someone else’s yard or in front of someone else’s property tells you that even when people consider whether it’s right/wrong/ legal/whatever – often enough they just do it anyway.

The issue is that the city does such a poor job of bulk pickup that it makes everything worse. I would have no issue with paying a reasonable fee to get rid of the garbage if that fee would ensure expedient removal, but that currently isn’t an option. Currently, the city charges $50 to remove appliances, but nothing for bulk pickup. Why not offer bulk pickup at that price point, with maybe one free pickup per year included with normal trash service?

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Jay McGee 06/17/2017 at 5:52 PM

Landlords can’t prove which unit the garbage was from so they can’t charge to clean it up from the alley. Consider yourself lucky that you’re in Richmond where free bulk pickup is offered and not in one of the counties.

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Bill 06/18/2017 at 7:00 AM

It happened to me once. I called the landlord neighbor to ask if I should deliver the garbage/refuse/furniture to the landlords home. It was cleaned up. It has not happened again

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Arrbie 06/18/2017 at 9:05 AM

Great discussion (for the most part). Thanks, Annon for a reasoned spiel on a very frustrating topic. We moved from the “suburbs” last year, into a rental on the Hill. (BTW, there is no such thing as county bulk trash removal in the suburbs, you do it yourself). I was dismayed at seeing the alley so trashed up. I found that this is not exclusively a “renter” issue. I also started cleaning up my alley on my own. That started conversation with several long term owner/residents (I’m talking 50+ years) and was told how clean and nice the alley used to be, back in the day. When Mayor Stoney took office there was a push to work thru the See/Click/Fix backlog, and I found that suddenly, my pick up requests were being acted on within a couple of weeks, instead of months.

So, there has been improvement. Thank you Mayor!

@32, alley rally sounds like a good idea.

In spite of the frustration and discouragement of cleaning up my alley, and then having more stuff appear the next week, I have kept at it. It’s my neighborhood, my alley, and my time to make it better. I can’t do it all, but I’ve found that by making an effort it has encouraged others to do better too. Be an example. Serve your neighbors. And, yes, keep pressure on our city government to do better.

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Union Hill Lady 06/18/2017 at 9:24 AM

These are really good suggestions. Snarky people, give me a break. This neighborhood deserves better. Lots of history happened here. There’s a dumping ground at the end of my driveway that I have to look at every day- a few mattresses, tvs, broken chairs and a trash can full of wood. Sorry to sound so crappy, but I think people ought to get a fine if they dump their large trash. The City won’t take it. The City put an orange tag on the dumpster. I guess that’s their solution. Give me a break. I feel like the high taxes we pay should pay for better trash services- and sidewalk repair while we’re at it! It’s not fair to say it shouldn’t matter.

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32nd St. 06/18/2017 at 11:48 PM

It is a problem! People lack responsibility these days. The owner/renter/landlord should have a minimum day allowance to advertise unwanted furniture. I have seen two desks sitting on the street for weeks now! I have also walked to the Chimborazo and nearly tripped on scooters and chalk in the middle of the sidewalk.
There must be a way that we can all sign a petition to make this change happen! What do you say folks?

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mjn 06/19/2017 at 8:00 AM

@39 The petition can be found at https://en.seeclickfix.com/richmond Just put in the address and maybe, eventually, the City will pick it up. Once you add the address, others can vote on the issue too.
This is the only way the City will know things like this need to be fixed.

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Neighbor 06/20/2017 at 8:52 AM

How about we put these students out of school for the summer to work? How about we take all of these people on one form of assistance or another and have them earn the money they are getting from the tax payer? How about we make clean-up and weed control in the city the penance for crime instead of just locking people up?

Lots of better ideas out there than enabling and cleaning up after the riff raff in our neighborhood.

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urbngrilla 06/20/2017 at 10:57 AM

There is a special place in purgatory reserved for the people who dumped the mattress at the end of our alley. That mattress blocks access to supercan pick up, emergency vehicles and basic alley right-of-way access for neighbors vehicles.

Able-bodied people who dump and run suck. And so do their lazy-ass landlords who fail to maintain their profitable property (and the area that surrounds it).

FWIW, alley rallys suck too. Clean for a month, then trashed again. Depressing. Be sure to get a tetnus shot before you participate, if so inclined.

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Running Dog 06/22/2017 at 7:10 PM

Yes, trash everywhere and it is not just renters, homeowners as well. A perfect place for all kinds of critters, rats, snakes, mosquitos and so on. People just don’t have any self respect or care about their neighborhood or homes.

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aimeebisoubisou 07/31/2017 at 9:19 PM

Visitor here from Jackson Ward. Probably a dead thread, but wanted to say thanks for (indirectly?) directing me to seeclickfix.com! The tenants above me have been slowly moving out over the past month and left massive amounts of junk, clothing, food, art, and furniture in the alley, creating a welcoming environment for homeless people to camp out in my parking space. {I’m all about helping the homeless, but don’t want them sleeping in my yard.}

Anyway, hoping that between seeclickfix and notifying my landlord, the stuff will be removed and the alleyways made clear. Will keep spreading the word.

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