DUNN, N.C. (WNCN) – Two Harnett County families had to find new homes after city inspectors deemed their houses unfit for them to live.
Both homes are owned by the same rental company, Quality Capital LLC, and City of Dunn officials said complaints which led to the recent failed inspections are not the first reports of problems with the management.
The tenants also receive Section 8 housing assistance to cover rent, meaning tax dollars are going to the company.
JoBess Plummer leased one of the homes for the past five years. She moved many of her belongings out of the house Wednesday and planned to turn off the utilities Thursday, just a few days before a deadline set by the Dunn City Council. City building inspectors deemed Plummer’s home unfit for human habitation.
Plummer said it is a blessing.
“Yes. That’s my way out,” she said. “I should have left. I was giving them the benefit of the doubt that they was gonna fix the house.”
She said there have been a wide range of problems which required but did not receive repairs. Her lease was set to expire in August. She lives at the house with her ill elderly mother and three children, and Section 8 housing assistance covers about 60 percent of her rent.
Plummer contacted Dunn’s Inspection Department to ask for help. Chief building inspector Steven King said violations filled three pages, and the city gave the owners 90 days to get things up to code.
“They were supposed to fix the floors, they didn’t ever do that. They were supposed to put new carpet down. They didn’t ever do that,” Plummer said.
Quality Capital LLC took ownership of the homes from Platinum Properties of NC LLC in November. The Better Business Bureau received several complaints about Platinum Properties in 2015 and 2016. Quality Capital’s office staff in Dunn said Wednesday they could not comment on the city’s decisions. CBS North Carolina also reached out to the properties’ owner, but did not receive a response.
“We have had quite a few complaints on this company as far as their housing,” inspector King said.
He said code violations at Plummer’s house include problems with flooring, windows, and even the back door. The city will post notices on Monday at Plummer’s house and another owned by Quality Capital which indicate they are unfit for human habitation and prohibit people from being inside.
King said the owners will have up to one year to make repairs. If the company fixes things sooner, it can request another inspection, and a successful review will result in the reopening of the property. If the work is not done in a year, the city council can adopt an ordinance to demolish the buildings.
There is little more the city can do for the tenants.
“We can’t really give assistance to them other than giving an inspection. We’ll try to guide them in the right direction. We would address the housing issues, anything that doesn’t meet standards, and give them a timeline on repairs,” King said.
Plummer said she appreciates the city’s efforts to help.
“Mr. King, he worked with me 100 percent. You know what I mean? He told me what was what and that was it,” she said. “He was working with me. He was working with them. He tried to get them to do what they was supposed to have done.”
Plummmer said the Sanford Housing Authority helped her find a new place to stay about 20 minutes away from her now former house, and she is ready for a fresh start with a new company.