Another Victory for Woodward Tenants
After an investigation by the NC Utilities Commission, and a subsequent admission of wrongdoing on the part of the management company in regard to their rental and water billing practices, residents of Woodward Village mobile home community finally received some closure to the battle they have been waging against the company for months. To residents of this community, this outcome clearly illustrated what hard work and the will to fight injustice can accomplish.
For some time now, residents of the Woodward Village mobile home community have been living at the mercy of a repressive property management that has refused to address resident concerns. Resident grievances include high water bills, broken roads, lack of written rental leases, and local management’s refusal to accept rent payments from tenants if they do not pay their water bill at the same time.
In order to find a solution to these concerns, Woodward residents began knocking on their neighbors’ doors, collecting petition signatures, and formed their own neighborhood chapter of Action NC. To demonstrate to their landlord that the neighbors were united, residents of this community have held several marches and neighborhood picnics. At one such demonstration, local property manager, Kay Vanderburg committed to stop refusing rent when tenants pay water separately.
According to Action NC member Nery Navas “We are sick of being mistreated and have united, in order to make the property management listen to us”.
As part of this campaign for justice, Woodward residents sent letters to the NC Utilities Commission, explaining how property management would not accept rent from tenants if their water bills were not paid at the same time, forcing residents to incur late penalties on their rent. Other concerns included high water bills and the need for an inspection of water meters, to ensure that they function properly.
Based on these complaints, the NC Utilities Commission opened an investigation. As a result of several neighborhood marches and in response to the investigation, Woodward Communities admitted, “previous water bills appear to not fully comply with the requirements of the Commission Rules”. They go on to state, “the situation is remedied with the current water bill”.
According to Action NC neighborhood chapter president Julie Morgan, “I am happy that our hard work has paid off and we will finally be billed within the confines of the law; but, this is not the end of the road. The local property manager is still discriminating against immigrant residents and we still need written lot rental leases”. She goes on to say, “we will continue to fight the good fight until all our neighbors are treated fairly and we have all of our rights protected”.