Updated: September 19, 2019 03:16 PM
Created: September 18, 2019 07:37 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A single mom in Rochester says she responded to an ad to rent a home, and the landlord took her money and promised she would make repairs to the home, so she could move in.
Now, that mom says the landlord has not delivered on the property and won't give her security deposit back.
"I gave her the 750," said Jemaine Miller.
That was the first of two payments for the security deposit on a house on Burrows Street.
When Miller saw the listing on Craigslist she immediately wanted to rent it. After inspecting the house she realized it needed some work, but says the landlord Jaquanda Jackson assured her she was having the work done.
So Miller gave Jackson a total of $995 for a security deposit. She signed a lease and Jackson promised by email that Miller could move in by Aug. 15. It’s been a month, and Miller says she still can’t move in.
Miller says every time she's asked about moving in, Jackson had nothing but excuses.
“She had a family emergency, her phone wasn’t working,” said Miller.
So Miller turned to News10NBC.
"We have emails back and forth, text messages. She even told me 'turn your RG&E on,' that was just on Friday."
Still, no move-in date.
I went with Miller to knock on the door of the home and speak with Jackson. We could hear someone in the house, but no one answered the door. So I called Jackson to ask about Miller’s money. She called me back, threatening to call the police if I stepped foot on her property again.
Miller qualifies for a housing choice voucher through Section 8. The home must be inspected by Section 8.
Jamie Frumusa, a spokesperson for the Rochester Housing Authority and Section 8, tells me the house failed inspection. Twice.
"If the inspection doesn't pass, you can work with the landlord and you can pay the rent until it passes. I was willing to do that."
I did some digging.
This document obtained through the City of Rochester Neighborhood Service Center shows the city cited Jackson for a number of code violations from broken windows, to a missing handrail and loose paint.
And there's more: City of Rochester spokesperson Jessica Alaimo confirmed Jackson does not have a certificate of occupancy for the Burrows Street home. That means she cannot legally rent out the property, yet it is still advertised on Craigslist, Realtor.com, and other sites.
Jackson told me it's perfectly fine to advertise a property that still needs repair, and that she doesn't need a certificate of occupancy because she lives in the home.
"That's when she sent me the message saying you're not getting your money until around October 5," Miller said.
Jackson also says Section 8 told her it's acceptable to return Miller's money on Oct. 5. Frumusa tells me the Rochester Housing Authority and Section 8 have never spoken to Jackson and that she has failed to return their calls.
As for Miller? She's still without a home and $995.
"All I want to know is, 'Do you have my money?'" said Miller.
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