Family of 6 homeless after fire destroys rental, question landlord for living conditions

- A North Charlotte family of six is in desperate need of help after a fire early Monday morning destroyed their home. The family believes the blaze started because of the poor conditions the landlord kept the rental in.

The family tells FOX 46 Charlotte they didn't have renters insurance because no company would give it to them because the conditions inside their home were so bad.

The City of Charlotte has sent several code enforcement violations, but the landlord says he's not responsible.

"When you are renting a property you have a responsibility to make sure these people are safe as well," said Towonna Ruth.

Ruth says her landlord didn't live up to that responsibility. A fire early Monday morning at the rental property in the Sunset Road Neighborhood nearly took the life of Ruth and her five family members, including a two week old baby.

"I could hear the air conditioner like it was about to blow up," said Ruth.

That sound was the fire starting. Investigators say an electrical problem sparked the blaze.

"Literally it was about 2 minutes from the time we got out that the whole thing blew up," said Ruth.

The home and everything inside was a total loss. What's left of the family's belongings now sit outside among the burned trees from the intense blaze.

Towonna and her family moved to the rental property this past July. They had to relocate quickly to escape a domestic situation.

"We had the rent, but we didn't have the deposit," said Ruth.

But the landlord allowed them to move in anyway, with one stipulation. He wrote the rental trailer was "as is" on the lease.

"It came down to us to start complaining about living in the home and things we were finding. He was blowing us off, like look you got your place to stay, be grateful, leave me alone," said Ruth.

Some of the complaints, the family didn't want left alone. They tell FOX 46 Charlotte they found several exposed electrical outlets they thought could start a fire. A bigger concern was there were no smoke detectors.

FOX 46 Charlotte called the landlord Wednesday in an effort to get results for the family, but a woman answered and simply said she would relay the message....

She refused to take our reporters phone number. The landlord has also refused to help the family, who are now calling a North Charlotte hotel home until their money runs out.

"Now when we check out of that hotel Friday, we are going to be displaced," said Ruth.

The landlord owned the trailer, but didn't own the property. A neighbor who owns the land  would receive the code enforcement notices at her door.

FOX 46 Charlotte will continue to try and contact the landlord.

The family has started a GoFundMe page to help get them back on their feet.

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