Terrell Walker lives in a one-bedroom apartment in Southeast Washington, D.C., with her 9-year-old and 2-year-old daughters.
Walker stopped paying her rent last September because, she says, her apartment is in horrible condition — and she is fighting her landlord’s eviction threat in court.
But when tenants don’t pay, landlords say they have less money to fix things up.
It is a vicious cycle that can often land the parties in court, and it’s a scene that has become common around the country. The lack of affordable housing is forcing low-income renters to choose between apartments they can’t afford or those that aren’t in the best shape.
Photos: Brandon Chew/NPR and Pam Fessler/NPR