RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Three Richmond tenants are concerned that they may be without a home after the landlord from whom they were renting passed away.
According to his sister and the tenants with whom 8News spoke, Ernest J. Sharpe died in mid-April. After his parents passed away in 2021, he and his sister became property owners of the house located at 1508 Presson Boulevard in Richmond’s Bellemeade neighborhood. However, his sister said that she was unaware Sharpe was renting the home to three tenants, one of whom was Alyssa Brune.
Brune said that after Sharpe died, his sister had furniture, appliances and other belongings removed from the home and put out on the street.
“She actually tried to evict all of us,” Brune said. “She told us to get out. We called the police. They said, ‘You can’t do that.'”
When 8News visited the house on Presson Blvd. on Monday, much of the furniture was gone, leaving a nearly empty living room. Appliances such as the refrigerator and oven had been taken out, as well.
“She came back the following Saturday, while we were gone, and took all our belongings — took the fridge, the stove, the washer, the dryer — just everything, everything imaginable,” Brune said. “She also cut the gas off, the water and the lights.”
When 8News spoke with Sharpe’s sister, she said that the only items removed from the home belonged to her. She said that she never touched the tenants’ personal belongings.
However, Brune said that some of her clothing, shoes, jewelry and sheets had been taken from the house, and that a police report had been filed in response. The Richmond Police Department (RPD) confirmed to 8News that authorities are investigating a larceny that happened at the address on April 28.
“She said this is her house and we had to go, and we said, ‘No, we don’t,’ and we called the police, and I guess she thought that because she owns the house now that everything in that house should belong to her. But that is not the case,” Brune said. “Everyone deals with death differently.”
Brune said that she already paid rent for the month of May.
She also provided 8News with a copy of her lease, which began in January of 2022 and is set to continue for one year. Sharpe’s name was on the lease as the landlord, with Brune listed as one of the tenants. But Sharpe’s sister’s name was not on the lease, and she claimed she knew nothing about the document.
According to the Code of Virginia, “A notice of any change by a landlord or tenant in any terms or provisions of a tenancy at will shall constitute a notice to vacate the premises, and such notice of change shall be given in accordance with the terms of the rental agreement, if any, or as otherwise required by law.”
In the copy of the lease provided to 8News, it is stated that termination of the lease must be communicated by either the landlord or the tenant with no less than a month’s notice.
“I actually had an incident previously to this. My house burned down,” Brune said. “This is where I live. It’s just me. My kids live with their father. But I’m just trying to save my, you know, where I live.”
When 8News spoke with Sharpe’s sister over the phone on Monday, she said that she would be giving the tenants “notice” on Tuesday. When asked what she meant by that, she said that she actually wanted them out of the house by this past Sunday.
“We’re human. We’re all human,” Brune said. “If this was to happen to you or somebody you know, it wouldn’t feel good. We’re just like you and anybody else, and this is not acceptable for anybody, these living conditions.”