Real estate agent surrenders license following $18K fine for tenants’ beer-pong table

Raleigh-based landlord Lisa Eustathiou allegedly charged students exorbitant fees

Raleigh, North Carolina (Getty Images)
Raleigh, North Carolina (Getty Images)

A Raleigh-based landlord and agent embroiled in multiple investigations concerning alleged tenant mistreatment — including charging former tenants $18,000 after they moved out — has permanently surrendered her real estate broker’s license.

Lisa Eustathiou is facing accusations of predatory charges and withholding security deposits from tenants and prospective tenants, respectively, WRAL 5 and WCNC Charlotte reported

The $18,000 charge against NC State students who had rented one of her units included a four-figure charge for a wooden table used for various purposes, including beer pong. North Carolina law prohibits landlords from fining tenants beyond what is agreed upon in the lease.

“If she’s offended by something, she feels that she can assess a fine and define what that fine is, even though it’s not anywhere in the lease, it’s not anywhere under law, but just comes up with it,” attorney Michael Avery told 11 Eyewitness News.

In another case, Eustathiou allegedly received a $2,700 security deposit from a prospective tenant but, after the lease fell through, Euistathiou still withheld more than $1,000 of the applicant’s money. 

Eustathiou, who owns multiple properties, including those on Dixie Trail Road in Raleigh, had an active real estate broker’s license while various North Carolina government agencies looked into her conduct.

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The state’s real estate commission received at least 24 complaints from tenants against her and the state’s attorney general had received eight complaints against her. 

Janet Thoren, the real estate’s commission’s legal counsel and director of regulatory affairs, said her commission usually focuses on unlicensed real estate activity, they initiated an investigation due to Eustathiou’s licensed status. 

Eustathiou chose to permanently surrender her license, closing the commission’s investigation.

Thoren said tenants whose security deposits were withheld could seek compensation by obtaining a judgment in small claims court and applying for benefits from the commission’s fund. The state Department of Justice is independently investigating Eustathiou, while student legal services at NC State University reported complaints dating back to 2009.

“I don’t understand how the same person could have all these complaints and all these problems year after year and get away with it,” Deborah Mitchell, the parent of a former tenant, told 11 Eyewitness News.

Eustathiou’s attorney denies any wrongdoing on her part, and Eustathiou, for her part, confirmed she would no longer charge the students for the contested wooden table.

— Ted Glanzer

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