BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. — A 65-year-old West Baltimore County is fighting to keep her townhouse. She was recently told by property management her lease will not be renewed on October 31.
"I've lived here 30 years," said Phyllis Duncan. "My rent has never been late. What is this for? This is just retaliation."
Duncan receives a housing voucher from Baltimore County's Housing Authority. She's responsible for one-third of the rent, which she has paid dutifully.
"They can't give me a reason why they're not renewing my lease," she said. "They're just mad because I won't stand for how they're treating me."
The issue started back in March with a leak in her kitchen ceiling. The leak was coming from an upstairs bathroom.
"They said it was my fault and that I don't know how to shower properly," said Duncan. "I had to bite my tongue. I'm 65-years-old. I know how to take a shower."
Maintenance came to fix the ceiling but it's already starting to show signs of more water damage.
"It was subpar, they didn’t even fix it," she said. "They just sealed it back up It was still leaking, and I told him it was still leaking. I'm scared it's going to fall back in."
On top of the poor patch job, Phyllis said she's been trying to get ahold of the Housing Authority to talk about her housing voucher and her situation. So far, she's had no luck.
"Management wants me out and then I can't get a phone call back. Where's the accountability," she asked.
WMAR-2 News reached out to WPM Real Estate Management regarding its decion to not renew Duncan's lease. We also inquired about the ceiling.
In a statement a public relations spokesperson said:
"The Resident’s allegations are patently false. This Resident’s lease is up for renewal, and we have decided not to renew it after receiving numerous complaints about her. As property managers it is our job to make sure all of our Residents are happy. This decision is in furtherance of this goal. Every person who lives here deserves quiet enjoyment of their home. Seniors are our best residents. And this is a person who has consistently paid their rent during the pandemic when others are not. We don’t make these decisions lightly and without thought. It’s worth noting this Resident has the absolute right to dispute this decision, have her day in court and ask that the decision be overturned. We are confident we would prevail.
Regarding the resident’s ceiling. We sent three different supervisors to inspect the property and find the leak. What they ultimately found is that the resident was using too small a shower liner. As a result, water spilled out onto the floor and leaked into her kitchen."
WMAR sent follow-up questions but were not given specific answers regarding complaints. We also asked for documentation. WPM wouldn't tell us if other tenants, and those who are behind in rent were sent letters telling them their lease wouldn't be renewed.
In a text we were told, "There are other tenants who have not paid rent during the pandemic. WPM helps all residents to work with Baltimore County's COVID relief program. For those who cannot or will not, we follow all applicable federal, state and county laws, rules and administrative actions.
WMAR is waiting to hear back from Baltimore County regarding Duncan's housing situation and WPM.