RICHMOND, Va. – A local veteran who recently moved into his own apartment through the Richmond Housing Authority discovered an issue when he tried to make his first rent payment.
Larry billings said he had a tough time paying his first rent payment, not because he didn't have the money, but because of the process he's supposed to go through to get it done.
Unlike most apartment complexes where tenants can drop off a check at the office, RRHA uses vendors to collect rent.
There's an official list of convenience centers that are supposed to take RRHA rent payments, but it's outdated, Billings said.
“They need to update it and see was working and what's not,” he said.
CBS 6 Problem Solvers contacted all 26 payment locations on the list.
Seven accept the rent via cash payment only, six did not accept rent anymore, and two of the phone numbers were disconnected.
Billings finally found one that only accepted cash and said he was uneasy because the week before he was robbed. He didn't report it to police.
When he tried to pay cash the store's system did not recognize his RRHA id number and would not accept his payment.
“I could not pay my rent how am I going to pay my rent if you don't activate my number, my apartment to the account with them,” he said.
Now Billings is concerned for other RRHA tenants who pay their rent every month in cash, because they don't have checking accounts.
He believes it's just too easy to be a target.
“You're telling the robbers that you can rob these people,” he said.
RRHA officials said the convenience centers are offered as payment sites as a courtesy to tenants because many of the residents don't have banks.
For those that do, they can set up an automatic draft through their bank.
RRHA plans to update the list so that tenants have the most up to date list of places to pay.
Top officials there say they would never want anyone to jeopardize their safety by paying rent in a place they don't feel safe.
They can also mail a money order as long as it gets there before the due date, they said.
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