CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - An east Charlotte woman who said rats were tearing up her apartment is getting results thanks to a FOX 46 Charlotte investigation.
Tranisha Bardlaves lived at Woodford Estates off Central Avenue. Bardlaves reached out to FOX 46 with video of what appears to show a rat lurking across the apartment. She said she's seen plenty of rats over the past few months.
"The rats have started to chew up the bottom of the blinds," Bardlaves said. "It's kind of disgusting."
A newly-opened program called T.O.R.C. (Tenant Organizational Resource Center) has been started by the non-profit Action NC. It's designed to help tenants, like Bardlaves, work through potential code enforcement violations and facilitate meetings with Legal Aid.
T.O.R.C. started after FOX 46 began investigating hundreds of apartments with code violations at Lake Arbor Apartments.
"Lake Arbor definitely let everyone know, 'hey, this is something that's really needed,'" Action NC's Jessica Moreno said. "The purpose is to spread Know Your Rights."
Bardlaves notified City of Charlotte Code Enforcement. Records show, they found 11 violations in her apartment including, "evidence of rodents, insects or other pests." She wanted out of her lease, but said management wouldn't allow it.
That is, until FOX 46 got involved.
Managment called CMPD when FOX 46 came onto the property to search for answers. Later, however, Bardlaves showed FOX 46 an email where management agreed to let her out of her lease and even refunded her $1,143 in rent.
Code Enforcement said the apartment (1521 Willow Park Dr. #808) has since been treated for infestation.
Woodford Estates was under no obligation to let Bardlaves out of her lease and did not have to refund her any money. In North Carolina, tenants cannot withold rent from their landlord (without a court order) even if the unit is under code violation(s).
Action NC said it's important to document complaints to management and code enforcement, especially, if a tenant is contemplating legal action.
In Bardlaves case, she's just happy that her complex decided to let her out of her lease and refund money and that FOX 46 played a role in getting results.
"Thanks a lot, you don't know how much you really helped me through this situation," Bardlaves later said in a Facebook message.