RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There are new details in a Troubleshooter investigation involving a landlord under investigation for keeping thousands of dollars in security deposits from NC State students and other tenants.
The landlord, Evagelia Eustathiou is under investigation by two state agencies, and the legal counsel for one of those agencies, Janet Thoren with the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, said that as part of its investigation, Eustathiou has surrendered her real estate broker's license.
Troubleshooter Diane Wilson first told you about Eustathiou earlier this year. She is a landlord who has several rental homes in a desirable area for NC State students along Dixie Trail in Raleigh. She's owned these properties for years and rents them out to students. It's those students and former tenants who came to us claiming Eustathiou rents homes not in good condition and then claim she harasses them and keeps their money, including thousands in security deposits.
"She charged us $18,000 because we had that table on the porch," said Dawn Trivette, a former tenant.
I don't understand how the same person could have all these complaints and all these problems year after year and get away with itDeborah Mitchell, parent of former tenant
Deborah Mitchell, the parent of a former tenant, told the Troubleshooter, "I don't understand how the same person could have all these complaints and all these problems year after year and get away with it."
During our investigation, we talked to several of Eustathiou's former tenants who said they left their rental in a clean condition and expected to get security deposits back, but instead, the landlord sent them a bill for thousands of charges, which the tenants claim were unjustified.
An attorney for University Student Legal Services said his office has been hearing complaints from NC State students about Eustathiou for more than 15 years.
"If she's offended by something that she feels that she can assess a fine and define what that fine is, even though it's not anywhere in the lease, it's not anywhere under law, but just comes up with it," said attorney Michael Avery.
Eustathiou originally told the Troubleshooter that she was not interested in talking, but she did remove at least $18,000 in charges for Trivette and her roommates.
After our story aired, we received a letter from Eustathiou that stated in part, that she does not have any intentions of going after any funds beyond that of the security deposits. She also stated that her expenses to put the properties back in excellent condition are real and she has records of monies she paid out, along with pictures of damages and unclean properties.
She also added that if she did make a mistake and charged for something she should not have, she would quickly make adjustments. Tenants claimed they had provided proof, but they said they hadn't heard anything back.
The North Carolina Attorney General's Office and North Carolina Real Estate Commission started investigations into Eustathiou's dealings.
Thoren said the Commission was aware of 24 tenants with issues through the course of the investigation. She said that this week, the Commission accepted the surrender of Eustathiou's real estate broker's license.
As for what that means for those tenants who never got their security deposits back and say they believe they're owed. Thoren said they encourage tenants to pursue the matter in small claims court, and if they win, bring the judgment back to them and they can help walk them through the recovery fund process.
The North Carolina Attorney General's office said its case is still under investigation.
Wilson reached out to Eustathiou for comment about the surrender of her real estate broker's license, but the landlord has not responded.