GREENSBORO, N. C. -- Fed up and frustrated, the mayor of Greensboro shared her concerns Wednesday after she says a problem landlord took advantage of renters again.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Brett Byerly, the executive director of the Greensboro Housing Coalition, said Arco Realty offered up and took money for a condemned house on Waugh Street back in April.
They have the receipts showing two payments totaling more than $700.
Mayor Vaughan and Byerly said the money was refunded sometime Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning after they learned about what happened.
Byerly said another property management group called him.
“That company called our offices and said, 'We have this lady here and she wants to rent one of our houses, but she doesn't have any money because somebody else took her deposit and is not giving her a house’,” Byerly said.
Arco Realty, however, replied in a statement, "Arco Realty did not lease or offer to lease the Waugh Street home."
The company said a prospective tenant approached Arco Realty to lease the home, but it was unavailable while improvements were underway.
Instead, the prospective tenant wanted to lease the home when the improvements were complete, submitting an application and provided the application fee and a deposit to hold the property until it was ready.
The prospective tenant did not want to wait until improvements were finished, and Arco Realty reportedly refunded the deposit and application fee in full.
We first told you about the home on Waugh Street back in December when a family of 10 was forced to move after more than 30 code violations were found at the house, including inadequate heating.
You may recall, Arco also manages the Summit-Cone apartments where five children died in a fire last year.
Investigators said unattended cooking caused the fire, but the tragedy started a conversation about housing conditions. Almost all the units there were later condemned.
On Wednesday, Mayor Vaughan said enough is enough with repeat offender landlords.
“I talked to our legal department and they said it was a misdemeanor to rent a property that had a condemned sign on it,” Vaughan said. “I made them aware that that is what happened. I hope that we will follow through with a misdemeanor charge.”
Irene Agapion, a broker with Arco Realty, told us the money paid for the Waugh property was an application fee. She said the house is being repaired and there is no story here.
Byerly said he is fed up with Arco Realty.
“You are not good at this,” Byerly said. “Sell your properties to somebody who is.”
Arco owes the city more than $600,000 in fines for its properties across the city.
“Let us take some of these properties for the fines that you owe,” Vaughan said. “Let the city take them over. Let us get them in good shape. Let us get them back on the rental market. Let us put people in safe, affordable housing.”
FOX8 first told viewers a few weeks ago that the city was planning to file a lawsuit against the top 10 landlords who owe them money, that includes Arco realty.
The lawsuit is expected to be filed in July.