Residents scramble to find new place to live after notice to vacate from new landlord

CHARLOTTE — Dozens of people who’ve been living in south Charlotte’s Sterling community for years say they’re now scrambling to find a new place to live.

Residents told Channel 9′s DaShawn Brown last week that a new company bought the property and has asked them to move immediately.

Keesha White is one of several residents who received a notice to vacate last week.

“That was very startling,” White said. “What do you do when you get this on the 13th and the 19th is the next week?”

The letter from River Investments Properties NC states that residents have two options. One of which is to move out in 28 days.

The other option proposed in the letter says the first five residents who sign the paperwork and move out by this Thursday could potentially get some of their money back.

The letter states the property is under new management.

“The minimum under state law is seven days,” said housing attorney Isaac Sturgill, on the legal notice required in North Carolina. “Most leases, it’s 30 days.”

New information on company forcing residents to vacate homes

Channel 9 has learned that River Investments Properties NC filed for an LLC at 7:19 a.m. Wednesday. The business address was listed at an empty lot on China Grove Church Road.

There is a building permit for the same address on China Grove Church Road for a two-story house with a garage and deck. The owner is Blu South LLC.

On the edge of the neighborhood, there is currently construction for Blu South Townhomes.

“My heart began to bleed because you see what’s happening,” said Rev. David Scott Cunningham, of China Grove A.M.E. Zion Church.

The church is across the street. Cunningham said members of the church also gotten notices to vacate.

“I had a member come to me Sunday talking about it and looking for some kind of guidance,” Cunningham said. “So I spent my day driving around to different places and complexes looking for affordable housing for them.”

Brown spoke with the new property manager, who asked her to email him questions. Among them, Brown asked what the plan was for the neighborhood. The manager said he would reply on Thursday.

Brown has also checked with the city councilmember who represents the area to ask about what role, if any, they can play in the situation.

Brown is also checking with Mecklenburg County for confirmation that the sale has gone through, and who owns the property.

Landlords don’t always get the law right, he said.

“North Carolina law is pretty favorable to tenants on that point,” Sturgill said. “The lease requires a certain amount of notice. The landlord has to get it out exactly the way it’s spelled out in the lease so if that’s 30 days. That means 30 days, not 29 days, not 28 days. Anything less than that would be deficient.”

Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke said it all comes down to what’s in people’s lease as to how long they get to be able to leave.

White said she’s lived in her house on a month-to-month lease for what’s now been seven years.

“When I found this house, it was perfect,” White said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen because at the time, it was temporary.”

White’s said she’s been the caretaker for her sister, along with five nieces and nephews whom she’s also taken into her home from foster care.

“I try not to cry when the kids go to school, because I’m telling them to be strong and stay faithful and stay positive, and if I don’t display that myself, what am I teaching them?”

Anchor John Paul was in the neighborhood Wednesday and said he saw piles of belongings out on the curb. Crews could be seen picking up mattresses, furniture and other belongings to be hauled away as families try to figure out what to do.

“I’m scared. I’m very afraid. I don’t know what to do. I just don’t know what to do. All I know is I got to be out by June 8,” said resident Denita Bailey.

She told Paul that she is trying to find somewhere to go. She’s especially worried since crews just demolished a home nearby.

(WATCH BELOW: ‘On the street’: Extended-stay hotel gives no notice to residents to vacate property)