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Investigation into Waypoint Homes sparks national attention   arrow

Waypoint Homes is a multi-billion dollar landlord of single family homes, and rents for then ten thousand houses in the Florida area alone, including Tampa and St. Petersburg.

But as the ABC Action News I-Team first uncovered more than a year ago, the company has a high number of tenant complaints, which has sparked a national investigation by ABC News and its local stations.

Tenants say Waypoint is slow to make repairs, but quick to file evictions.
And as Waypoint prepares to more-than double its size in Tampa Bay through an upcoming merger, renters worry the company will become even less responsive.

“It’s been ongoing issues with the sink and the bathroom going back and forth, the dishwasher,” said Susan Strahsmeier, pointing out issues with her St. Petersburg, Florida rental home.
The house is one of nearly 4,000 foreclosed or distressed properties Waypoint bought after the housing market collapse.

“Obviously, the house was clearly not ready to be rented at all,” Strahsmeier said about her rental home.
The city cited Waypoint for multiple code violations at the home, including holes in the wall, plumbing issues and a rusty water heater that city said was illegal.

During an energy audit of her home, Duke Energy also determined the wrong size circuit breaker was connected to the water heater.

“This is the one that could have melted down on the panel and caused the whole house to go in flames,” Strahsmeier said, showing us the breaker which was eventually replaced.
Waypoint has a history of maintenance issues in Tampa Bay regions, from broken air conditioners, to mold, to leaky roofs, to insect infestations.

One tenant told us to get a termite infestation addressed, she made “dozens of phone calls, dozens of requests, dozens of emails.”

Her problem was only resolved after the city got involved.

But the company says those dissatisfied customers are in the minority.