Woman’s ‘cry for help’ TikTok video exposed plumbing problems at apartment

RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond woman turned to TikTok after feeling like she couldn’t find a permanent solution to the problems in her apartment.

Molly Bish posted the TikTok, which has now been viewed over 400,000 times.

The viral video shows problems she claims continue at her home in Richmond’s River Lofts on Tobacco Row. The video shows water backing up and overflowing into her sink and kitchen, as well as the black residue left behind.

Bish described how the water rushed through the closets into her home.

She said the water would recede and later return to the kitchen and living room. She claims that these problems began occurring in 2021 and became more frequent starting in the spring of 2023.

“We called it the sludge prevention program because I put a security camera on it. It either comes up and comes down or it starts shooting and I’m running with pots in pans and things I use for cooking to get it out,” Bish said.

Bish said she has reported the problems many times over the past two years and provided CBS 6 records of phone calls made and emails sent to management.

She said the apartment complex would claim the problem was being fixed, but she said the problem persisted.

Bish said she felt like this couldn’t continue because she was paying to stay there and maintenance was part of her lease.

She said one of the reasons she rents is because it’s not her responsibility to fix such problems. She said that’s when she made the decision to turn to TikTok.

“I wanted someone from Brookfield Properties to see this and bring people here, and that’s exactly what happened,” she said.

CBS 6 asked the property manager what caused the problems and why they weren’t fixed.

In a statement, the apartment complex’s corporate office said: “We are working to resolve the issues as quickly as possible, which we have done in this case. “Our tenants’ experience is our top priority.”

Martin Wegbreit, litigation director for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, said tenants have the right to safe, sanitary, livable and suitable housing.

“Landlords have a duty to provide this and if they fail to do so, legal remedies are available to tenants,” he said.

According to Wegbreit, tenants must ensure that the rent remains up to date. He then said they should inform their landlord in writing of the problem and what action they would like to take.

If nothing changes after a month, the matter should be taken to the General District Court for a judge to decide.

“You will find the exact legal form you need to submit: the tenant’s claim. “You can fill it out and take it to court,” Wegbreit said. “Then they have to pay a filing fee and pay their next month’s rent in court. “It’s not a complicated process.”

Wegbreit said it’s crucial to document everything. This can range from pictures of the event to any type of contact or communication with the home

Bish said she decided to leave the complex permanently because of the situation. She hopes her viral video can educate others about what can happen when they use their voice.

“I framed it as a cry for help, and that’s exactly what happened,” Bish said. “They are helping people now and I hope that continues and that the pressure on them remains.”

CBS 6 was informed that because of the video, the apartment’s tenants have formed a tenants union to advocate for the issues they are facing.

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