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River City Real Estate / Fraud and cheating

1 United States
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In short, our stay on Monument Avenue leasing through River City Real Estate has been both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, we have a great, spacious apartment on a beautiful street in downtown Richmond that affords us quiet, safe living. On the other hand, we've had to deal with the horrific management of River City itself.

Summarizing the laundry list of complaints we've had with this company is a chore, but we'll try our best to do so here. First of all, the company has ONE phone line for its entire operation. In these tenants' estimation, that is unheard of for a viable company. Anytime anyone in the business headquarters is on the line (and it's impossible to know how many employees they actually have there at any given time), their phone rings busy. This, logically, leads to one leaving a message either with the receptionist, billing, or maintenance departments. However, over the course of the past two months we have left ten-plus messages with a guy named Steve, who, according to the receptionist, is the only person in the company who can deal with billing disputes. We never had our calls returned, and each time we went to the company in person (again, ten-plus times over the past two months) we were told he was out of the office or with another customer and no one was present who could speak with us at that time.

Now, on to the main problem we have had with them. Due to the conveniently muddled language of an agreement sent by River City through the mail to us regarding our new rent/new terms of the lease (after renewing for a second year), we were paying the incorrect amount for three months before we were told of our discrepancy in payment (our payment was a mere 4% short for three consecutive months). We tried to resolve this issue via phone after the first late fee notice, but could never get a hold of anyone, and when we left voicemails, nobody ever called us back. Solution: take time out of our work day, and go to their office in person. When we tried to resolve this issue by paying the difference on the spot, we were met with resistance and told we could not resolve the issue at that time. They said they would send us a new balance with a corrected amount, and that we could pay the fees with our next rent payment, a few weeks later.

Shortly thereafter, River City sent us a new balance/amount owed statement in the mail for a lesser, but still incorrect amount. It was incorrect because the late fees were based on a 15% charge of the rent, not 10% as our lease stated. How did we resolve this issue? Physically go to their office. When I talked to Steve, he said he “couldn't provide the current terms of the lease" showing where the late fees are 15% and not 10%. This is ILLEGAL. I told him I would come back next time with a witness or tape recorder to document this.

Anyway, in the midst of that week coming up on our next month's rent payment date, we then received a summons to court for eviction due to unpaid late fees. Again, we sought clarification from the company itself. Again, our messages were left unreturned and face-to-face interactions with the receptionist again led to us being turned away without resolution. Thus, we decided to pay the late fees with our rent regardless, which we were told would wipe our slate clean and prevent us from needlessly going to court. However, the day before we were to be in court, River City STILL had not notified the district court that we were caught up on payments and thus we were still slated to attend.

The morning of, we phoned the court and were told to fax in our receipts of payment (which obviously, we had requested) and were able to avoid going to court for no reason. However, had we left it up to River City and, specifically, Steve, to do their jobs, we would have still had to go or been fined for not doing so.

Now, maintenance requests are another issue. When we moved in in August we had non-functioning air conditioning that relapsed the following August. Both times, it was days before our needs were met and none of our messages left on the “emergency" maintenance line were returned. When we requested to see our updated lease recently so as to see if rental rights had been broken, we were told no physical copy was on file and that we would have to request it at another time.

In short, this company is the most poorly-managed, unresponsive, devious company that either of us have ever come in contact with. We would strongly recommend that you avoid renting through them. We acknowledge that their properties are usually great places to live and in good locations, but it is generally not worth the hassle of being disrespected, ignored, and fleeced out of your hard-earned money. If you are currently renting and wondering if your complaints are valid against this company, take solace in the fact that we have gone through it as well and that litigation is a distinct possibility if these conditions continue.

Also, we have personally called the PRESIDENT'S cell phone and left a voicemail stating our general frustration with his company. The result: no callback, of course.


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