Brenda Powers Real Estate Brenda Kay Powers Two-Faced Beware! Puts Tenants on the hook for EVERYTHING! Know Your Rights! Dunn, North Carolina!!
I came to North Carolina as part of a teaching exchange program and needed to find a house quickly that would accept pets. I had one cat and one older dog. I found Ms. Powers on my last day there and agreed to rent an older home from her. The place was a former Mill House constructed in the 1920’s. It needed some work but the price was right and I was desperate. I agreed and we signed a lease. She went over the lease with me very quickly, I had to sign it in her office with her watching. She also made me initial some areas explaining that she wouldn’t honor these, like storing a tenants possessions for 30 days after they moved out before selling them. (Incidentally, that is LAW in NC and nothing a landlord makes a tenant sign on ANY lease can contravene that) I was unable to take the lease away and read over some of the terms and conditions in more detail but silly me, I signed it. When we walked through the property she assured me the yard was fenced, it was hard to see if it was because the property backs onto a greenspace and it was very overgrown. I *did* ask about the yard because I was concerned about my dog. Later on I adopted another dog while I was down there and when he went “exploring” one day in November, I realized the yard wasn’t completely fenced in. No worries, I bought some cable and made a zip line that ran from the back porch to a tree and let my dogs out on that. On another matter, when it came time to do he walk through inspection she again, insisted she accompany me and rushed me through the process, inspecting the whole house took 15 mins tops. Also, I noticed that things I put on my copy she never put on her copy, like the fact the storm door to the back yard had strips of rubber weatherstripping screwed into the frame, with foam duct-taped on top of that to stop drafts. Naturally, screwing anything into the frame of a storm door ruins the integrity of the plastic frame inside the door and no surprises one day the bottom galvanized steel panel of the door fell out. I looked at the door and saw the frame was cracked but thought I might be able to mend it with some epoxy and clamps. Meanwhile, I was having issues with the 15 year old hot water heater, the pilot kept blowing out and wouldn’t stay lit when I tried to relight it. When she and her workman came to fix it she left a message asking me to call her back, assuming there was some problem I did so. Only to find out she was accusing me of turning the hot water heater on and off to save money on heat. I was stunned, I told her would never do such a thing because that was a ridiculous thing to do and wouldn’t save me any money. She came back telling me I did do that because I *told* her I was doing that to save money. That’s when I realized I was dealing with a crazy person. That week I got an ALL CAPS letter informing me that I was “disrespecting” the property because of the tie out line for the dogs and the broken door. I saw red and called Ms. Powers, I told her I had the tie out line there because the yard wasn’t fenced contrary to what she told me, she went ballistic and claimed she never said that and said I was putting words in her mouth and called me several other names as well. I was told I had to take the tie out line down IMMEDIATELY or face eviction. I asked why and she claimed it was due to the fact the porch roof was rotten and my dogs would pull it off because the line was attached to a porch roof support. I became very quiet and asked Ms. Powers why she had failed to mention the rotten porch roof that was about to collapse “at any minute” on the move in inspection report. She told me I should have noticed it myself because it was so obvious. We hung up and a week later I see the porch roof is repaired and some bizarre contruction of two posts and a steel cable has been erected in the yard for use as a tie out or clothesline which made no sense as it was well over 20 ft from the back door and located in a shaded part of the yard. I thanked Ms Powers with a note on my monthly rent check and went on. Months pass and I get another ALL CAPS letter asking me why I am still disrespecting the property by not fixing the storm door. During my previous discussion with her I explained what happened and said although it wasn’t my fault I would fix what the previous tenants had damaged by screwing things into the storm door. She claimed in the letter that my dogs has damaged the door by scratching at it and that it was my fault and I needed to replace the door. My one dog, Jake was trained to bark to be let in and my other dog, Bruno would scratch but only on the bells I had hung up to let me know he wanted in. Mostly, he just waited for Jake to bark. I was pissed but I guessed well it happened on my watch I’ll take the hit for that and replace the door. I was hoping to find a used door rather than an entirely new door which is what Ms. Brenda wanted me to install. She also insisted on coming over for inspections, once with no notice as I was getting ready to leave to meet friends. I asked her to come back at another time and she refused saying, “that’s the kind of behavior that raises red flags”. I teach kids for pete’s sake, what does she think I’m doing? Later I did some research and found out that inspections can only be carried out after “reasonable notice” has been given. I pointed that out to her and made her stick to that in future. Despite that just before Christmas when I was very busy with work and making arrangements to go home for the holidays she wanted an inspection. I agreed at first then asked to reschedule for the week I came back from holidays because I was just so swamped and pressed for time. When I called her she told me I “no longer have the luxury to reschedule appointments with her” and that I should be there at the time or else. During that inspection she sat at my table and told me I was a high strung individual who seemed to her to be the sort of person who would just up and leave. I was disrespectful and defiant. More personal insults of that sort all because I did some research and made sure my rights as a tenant were respected. I sat and took this because I knew then I was moving back to Canada and I just wanted to be left in peace for the few months I had left. She insisted I get personal liability insurance to the tune of 100 000$ coverage because I had dogs and that it was a requirement of the lease. I pointed out that in NC despite whatever a tenant may sign that kind of clause is unenforceable. Onec again, she threatened me with eviction so I went and got some insurance. When I faxed the binder to her her fax machine didn’t work, it was at 11 am on a Friday and I emailed her telling her about this problem. Nothing from her all day. (By then I had switched to email and refused to talk on the phone with her because her stories kept changing and I wanted proof, also I insisted on having a witness present during inspections) At 6pm I get another ALL CAPS email here is an example of what this chick is like:NO LISA I DO NOT HAVE IT FAX # ***-****, FAX MACHINE WILL BE CUT OFF IN ABOUT 30 MINUTES IF YOU CAN ATTEMPT AGAIN, ALSO WILL DEPEND WHERE YOU ARE FAXING FROM IF YOU WILL NEED TO PUT THE 910 AREA CODE ON IT.My reply:”I am unable to fax it again until Monday because I faxed it from school. I don’t have a fax machine at home. I did use the 910 area code when I sent it originally at 11 am. I don’t know why it didn’t work as I sent a fax to Liberty Mutual no problem. I will resend again Monday, please look for it then. I did review my maintenance agreement and the shrubs are to be trimmed “semi-annually” All shrubs were trimmed monthly in June/July/August and I will trim them again tomorrow. I will be trimming the boxwood hedge out front, all bushes surrounding the house, the two bushes that flank the shelter out back and the bushes along the driveway. Anything else on the property is a tree and I won’t be trimming trees. Also some of the trees are dead, dying or rotten (the spruce gum) and I won’t be messing with that as I don’t want to injure myself. If the owners need these trimmed I feel they should pay for that as tree trimming isn’t specified in the maintanence agreement. “Oh yes the “shrubs” when I moved in they were over 8 ft tall, I have a picture proving this, and my witness pointed that out as well because she was with me when we first inspected the place. Brenda basically told me I was lying and my witness had nothing to say as she wasn’t involved in the conversation. She wanted me to cut back “shrubs” that were well over 9 feet tall at this point or pay a tree removal service to do it. I did trim them, more than was required by the agreement actually. I trimmed them again down to the 6 feet she wanted but only the shrubs around the house, not all the ones on the property as she insisted I do. Her reply to my email: Lisa, per my request your were to have the tenants insurance in my office by close of business Friday (1-22-2010) please refer back to emails, You have made not attempt to explain to me that you did not understand this so is there any reason that I can understand why you did not drop it off in the drop box as you have done your rent on several occassions? This is simply another defiances of your behavior as a tenant, which I will no longer accept. If you neglect and do not get this to me by 12 noon on Monday January 25, 2010 PLEASE ACCEPT THIS AS FINAL WARNING AND THIS CAN JUST BE A 30 DAY NOTICE TO VACATE THE PROPERTY AT ********************************. I HAVE EXHAUSTED ALL EFFORTS TO WORK WITH YOU ABOUT YOUR LEASING THIS HOME. THERE IS NO REASON FOR EITHER OF US TO WASTE ANY TIME IN THE FUTURE ABOUT THIS MATTER SO DO NOT EMAIL ANY FURTHER COMMENTS ABOUT THE TENANTS INSURANCE ISSUE THAT YOU HAVE WITH YOUR CONTRACT AND YOU NOT FULFILLING YOUR OBLIGATION TO THIS MATTEROf course I replied, the arrogance of this woman is breathtaking. Here is my reply:Hello Brenda,I did purchase insurance as per you request by close of business Friday, I sent you a copy at 11 am and then emailed you. I checked constantly to see if you replied and the first time I heard from you was after 5pm when I had left work. I don’t have access to a fax machine at home and I had plans Friday night so I was unable to get to your office to drop off the binder. I can certainly drop off the binder over the weekend, there is no need to threaten eviction, you could have just asked me to drop it off. I will leave the cover copy for the fax showing date and time that I recieved the insurance and date and time that I sent the fax to you. I am not being defiant, I did as you asked. I am sorry you didn’t get the fax, perhaps your machine wasn’t turned on. I am replying to you so I have a written record and to explain. Thank you,Does that sound defiant to you? To any reasonable person? Anyway by then I knew I was leaving and it was only a matter of time. I made all the requested repairs, touched up some scratches in the paint, cleaned and re-cleaned the stove. That stove was spotless and still she wasn’t happy. My one dog had done some damage as a puppy to the bottom of one of the doors by chewing on it and Ms. Brenda wanted it fixed. I talked with a contractor and felt the best solution would be to plane the door smooth, add some plastic wood to one area where there was a gouge, then repaint. The door wasn’t original to the house and had a noticeable gap of at least an inch but Ms. Brenda didn’t want me to do that she came up with this bizarre idea to kind of make a kickplate-cap out of wood and affix it to the existing door, I did exactly this using the thinnest wood sheet I could get from Lowe’s and getting it custom cut to fit. I also managed to find a used storm door that was exactly like the previous one, but in better condition–only difference was the handle was on the left instead of the right. So I bought it and had it installed too. I fixed a slight tear in the screen by replacing it with a sturdier gauge screen. I scheduled and rescheduled the reinspection she wanted but it never happened, I had to cancel once because one of our students died in a wreck and she never showed up for the rescheduled appointment I made. I had been asking around about her with people that I knew in town. Nothing I heard was good. I was worried she would really try to evict me just before I moved home. When she found out about the screen door being replaced with a used one she again went ballistic, I was “forbidden” to do any more repairs as I “didn’t take them seriously” and I immediately had to replace the door with a new door–no exceptions and pay to have it installed. I refused stating that it was always my intention to try to find a used door (Ms. Brenda had agreed I could do this by the way) and that the door I put it was in better condition than the one that was there before. She left me a cryptic message on email stating that I would pay for a new door one way or the other…that’s when I knew she planned to use my damage deposit to buy a new door for a crap place on my dime. So on the advice of friends (including a sheriffs deputy) I gave notice and put a stop payment on my last months rent check. I figured that the $550 + interest I gave her as a deposit (never mind the $300 NON REFUNDABLE pet deposit) was more than enough to cover my $550 rent. Once she found out about it she was pissed but then again so was I, I refused to appear to her ALL CAPS summons that I show up with the rent, in cash plus a $35 fine the very next day. She told me she would take me to court and I thought to myself well fine…I’ll be long gone before that will happen. She did…according to the paperwork I received she filed on the 17 and I was gone by the 23rd of June. I received notice from the Sheriff’s Office on the 30th of June, well after my court date of the 28th of June. She claimed for rent owed and that damage to the place, plus cleaning was to the tune of $950. This is Bullshit as I was up until 4am before I left cleaning everything in that place, walls, baseboards washed, floors scrubbed, blinds, EVERYTHING. No matter, I have witnesses and pictures to prove baseless what is essentially a made up claim as a cash grab. The irony here? I am a landlord myself, I have a tenant right now living in my basement suite and I would NEVER EVER treat a tenant so rudely and so poorly as Ms. Brenda has done. I respect my tenant’s rights and they respect mine. BEWARE! She will lie through her teeth to your face, read everything carefully, know your rights, have witnessess and don’t sign anything you don’t agree to. Better yet, rent from someone else…lots of my friends did and they never had the kids of problems that I did with this wackaloon.