GREENSBORO, N.C. — Enough is enough - the city of Greensboro is calling out a local landlord for a laundry list of violations.
Wednesday afternoon, leaders said a condemned home on Waugh Street is just one of several unsafe homes a particular landlord put up for rent. It's against the law, but it's only a misdemeanor, and now, the city is pushing for harsher punishments.
RELATED: Can Your Landlord Do That?
At a press conference, they said the Waugh Street house is just one example of what Greensboro housing leaders say they see day in, and day out.
In this case, city leaders say a landlord, Arco Realty run by the Agapion family, rented out a condemned home to an unsuspecting tenant.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan says the renter got their more than $700 deposit back, but the city is tired of dealing with a handful of bad landlords.
"Why can't we have help that would let us go after the landlords that are really risking the lives and safety of our residents?" she asked.
Vaughan and Brett Byerly with the Greensboro Housing Coalition say it's time to give the ordinances "more teeth" - like criminal punishments, such as felonies, for landlords and companies with a rap sheet of renting out unsafe homes.
"You're not good at this. Sell your properties to somebody who is," Byerly said, "We have bottom of the barrel landlords like this one here, and we need to enact smart policy that goes after the one like this who will continuously be the plague."
Neighbors on this street, like Darrin Carathers, say they suspected there were issues with this particular property, and believe doing something to fight cases like this is long overdue.
"If they're just talking to talk and they're not walking the walk, that's bad for the people that put their money out there to have to lose it like that," he said.
We did reach out several times today to Arco, and the Apagions, but they say they're unable to comment at this time.
Meantime, the city plans to file a lawsuit against the top ten offending landlords and rental companies by July. They owe nearly one-and-a-half million dollars in civil penalties to the city. Arco alone owes more than half-a-million.
UPDATE: On Friday, the Apagion family responded to our requested for a statement. The say no lease was signed, and possession was never given. Here's the statement in full:
Arco Realty regrets that the facts concerning Arco Realty’s Waugh Street home were not vetted before the recent press conference and subsequent media publication. Arco Realty did not lease or offer to lease the Waugh Street home. The facts are as follows. A prospective tenant approached Arco Realty to lease the home, but it was unavailable while improvements were underway. The prospective tenant wanted to lease the home when the improvements were complete. The prospective tenant submitted an application and provided the application fee and a deposit to hold the property until it was ready. Improvements were still underway when the prospective tenant wanted to occupy the home. The Prospective Tenant did not want to wait until the improvements were finished. Arco Realty refunded the deposit and application fee in full.