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Indianapolis renter upset she was asked to pay for damage from random gunfire

Posted: 5:30 AM, Nov 05, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-05 07:05:51-05
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INDIANAPOLIS — The ring of gunfire at Dorothy Black's home in Indianapolis was shocking and random.

Black's home was riddled with bullet holes: three can be seen on the front door, and at least another two bullets shattered the living room window.

This was a painful experience for Black — who was on the couch watching TV when someone randomly shot seven times at her rental home on Bettcher Avenue in Indianapolis.

"I hit the floor immediately, hit the floor, and crawl to a safe place," Black said. "This was just pure evil in its highest form."

Black's lived on a quiet block until a couple of weeks ago. She first called the police, and then her leasing company to report the problem.

Black requested to break her lease with several months to go and was denied. She says she was stunned when the leasing company told her she would be responsible for the repairs connected to the gunfire damage.

"I didn't vandalize it. So why should I be responsible?"

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RTV6 reached out to Georgia based First Key Homes via e-mail on October 17 requesting they look over this situation.

On October 21, RTV6 received a response.

FirstKey Homes statement read:

"We understand the concerns that Ms. Black has about her home.
The safety and well-being of our customers is FirstKey Homes’ priority. Due to the extremely unfortunate circumstances, FirstKey Homes is offering to relinquish Ms. Black from her financial and lease obligations. Subsequently, we welcome the opportunity to help Ms. Black select a new home with FirstKey Homes.
We will contact the customer [Ms. Black] to facilitate next steps and remain in communication throughout the process. Again, the safety, comfort and well-being of all our customers is our first priority."

"I could have lost my life, and it was the grace of God that kept me," Black said. "It was angels that protected me."

"I really don't think I would have come to this type of conclusion or resolve if you (RTV6) hadn't gotten involved," Black said. "Thank you for a job well done. I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you."

Renters, keep this in mind:

  • A lease is a contract, so before you sign make sure you know what's in it.
  • Landlords have a right to hold you for the term of the lease, unless there is a court order or both parties agree, in writing, to walk away.
  • Consider renter's insurance to protect your belongings.
  • Consider involving the health department of small claims court.

Most landlords run a good business. If you are dealing with one that won't fix serious health or safety issues, call your county health department. Their inspectors can force a property to fix health and safety issues.