NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A woman living in a Dickerson Pike mobile home park said she has to live off-and-on with her brother because her landlord will not fix her air conditioner nor make repairs to faulty electrical outlets.
The woman, who asked not to be identified, called an east Nashville lawyer when her repeated attempts to contact her landlord were ignored, according to Eastside Legal attorney Kevin Teets.
“It’s getting hot,” Teets said. “I decided to go to the location and see what I could find out.”
Teets went to the mobile home park located in the 2800 block of Dickerson Pike.
“While at the location, I found out from a woman there who said she was a manager that they haven’t had maintenance personnel since February,” Teets said. “There are a stack of work orders with no work done on them. I even found my clients from back in April where she requested to have her air conditioning fixed.”
News 2 checked with the Metro Codes Department and found a complaint on file from June 6 that the tenant made to the city. An inspector has not been out to the mobile home park yet, according to a codes employee.
News 2 also found a complaint from November 2015 for a separate apartment dealing with electrical and plumbing problems. There were also other complaints dealing with plumbing and electrical issues dating back to 2001.
In addition, there was a 2014 lawsuit filed by a tenant against the landlord claiming he was made to live in uninhabitable conditions and when he asserted his rights as a tenant, the landlord changed the locks on his home and evicted him.
The judge agreed and ordered the landlord to pay more than $12,000 in damages, attorney’s fees, and court costs. The landlord appealed and lost again.
News 2 called the landlord. A woman who answered the phone said he was not available and took a message.
When we called back a couple of hours later, an answering machine picked up, but disconnected before we could leave a message. A third call to the landlord yielded the same result.
News 2 is not naming the landlord because he has not been charged with a crime in connection with the state of his property.
“Nashville’s growing population and affordable housing crisis can put some people in a position where, even if they wanted to move, they could not find another place to live,” Teets said. “Unfortunately, that also creates the perfect environment for negligent landlords to put their profit ahead of your safety.”
Teets has written a demand letter on behalf of his client asking the landlord to make repairs and not retaliate against his client.
He also sent a letter to Metro’s Codes Department about the condition of the mobile home.
“I’ve seen it most often with college students and lower income housing,” he said. “It’s like any other type of bad act. The most vulnerable victims are usually without the education or means to protect themselves.”
Teets said if you have an issue with your landlord, the best first step is to contact your landlord to express your concern. He said in writing is best.
If that doesn’t work, you should consult an attorney.
Legal Aid Society may be able to help people who cannot afford an attorney. They have offices in Clarksville, Columbia, Cookeville, Gallatin, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Oak Ridge and Tullahoma.
Metro Nashville also has a section dealing with rental properties under its property standards division.
“Landlords must comply with duties that are part of Tennessee law and are part of Metro codes,” Teets explained. “It is very frustrating to think that throughout this all my client wanted to do was have this landlord listen to her.”