Richmond residents in limbo after renting home from evicted tenant posing as landlord

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — William McBride said he signed a lease for his Richmond home with a deal he thought was too good to be true, and it turned out it was.

McBride found the South Richmond home on Facebook in September. It was being advertised for rent by a man who claimed to be the owner.

“Everything sounded good. It was a four-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath. Exactly what we needed,” said McBride.

He thought it was the perfect place for him, his friend Alex, and Alex’s family, including his 3-year-old son. 

They met with the man claiming to be the homeowner and signed a lease, but a few weeks into living there, they came home to something unexpected posted on the front door: an eviction notice addressed to the landlord.

“We knew that he was doing something illegally at that point. If he was the one renting here, then he couldn’t be the landlord,” said McBride.

McBride and his housemates soon learned the man they thought was their landlord was actually the evicted renter of the home.

Court documents obtained by 8News show the alleged landlord was brought to court on Aug. 16 by the real owners of the home, Two Bear investments, LLC, for failing to pay rent.

“So that means he found out that he was getting evicted on August 16th and turned around and rented it out in September,” McBride said.

McBride and his housemates tried to get in contact with the alleged landlord but could not. They called police and hired a lawyer. Their living situation is still in limbo and McBride now has a message for others.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We were promised X, Y and Z from this guy. He had a contract. We thought that everything was okay and legitimate but it was not,” he said.

When 8News called the alleged landlord, a man answered and said it was the wrong number. We also reached out to his wife, who McBride said collected their rent last month. She said she is not his wife and knows nothing about the situation.

McBride said they are trying to set up a new lease with the actual landlords so they can stay in the home but are unsure if it will go through.

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