RICHMOND, Va. -- Filicia Wells has lived in Ashton Square Apartments for three months. She said she believed she paid the leasing office for her entire monthly gas bill until she woke up last week to no gas. It turned out she had another gas bill that she didn't know about.
“I was told my apartment complex was going to bill me for my gas, and when I signed my lease, it said I would not get a bill for two months,” said Wells.
But the whole time, the city of Richmond had sent Wells' gas bill to a former address. When she signed her lease, she said no one told her that she would be responsible for two gas bills, one to the city, and one to her apartment complex.
“I would have never moved there, I'd have looked for somewhere else to live,” Wells explained.
Wells knows that her gas isn't coming from two different places, and paying twice for the same service has her pinching every penny.
“I think people are being taken advantage of. I’m a single mom. All of my money goes to taking care of my son. I can’t afford to pay two bills,” said Wells.
Three other residents said the apartment managers did not clearly state residents would have to pay two gas bills, nor did they state what their gas bill actually included.
Shirley Jefferson told CBS 6 Problem Solvers that she thinks the managers pick and choose when to tell residents about the two bills. She was told about them a year and a half ago, but she believes management hasn't informed newer residents because of a rush to fill up the complex.
“I do think it’s unfair. If it comes from the same source, why not have it on the same bill, so there are no problems or mix-ups?" Jefferson asked.
Although Wells is upset at the extra cost of paying a gas bill to the apartment complex, she says she would have been more understanding had she been told about the bills before she signed the lease.
“Let me make the decision whether I want to pay two gas bills. No one would do it. Still, give me that option,” Wells explained.
We reached out to Ashton Square apartments who referred us to their corporate office, Ross Management Services. Ross Management said they do not talk to the media. But after we contacted them on Monday, they sent out a notice to residents the following day saying that they plan to pay more as a company to offset the high gas bills that they have been charging residents for the common use areas.
Last year a city official said they expected three buildings at Ashton Square Apartments would be condemned. That was following a situation where residents had been without water for months.
By Caroline Coleburn/WTVR CBS 6 News Intern.
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