The state investigation came after WCNC Charlotte and WRAL News found the landlord charged NCSU students $23,000 in fees and refused to refund their deposit.

RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina landlord with a history of keeping security deposits and charging excessive fees has agreed to pay $25,000 to former renters as part of a settlement.

Attorney General Josh Stein announced Tuesday that the state has settled with Lisa Eustathiou and her company, Apollon LLC.

“Wow,” former renter Tyler Parziale, from Charlotte, said upon learning of the settlement. “That’s amazing.”

In October, a joint investigation by WCNC Charlotte and WRAL News discovered that Eustathiou sent North Carolina State University students, including Parziale, a $23,000 bill and refused to return their $3,100 security deposit when the students moved out of the off-campus apartment they were renting from her. 

The majority of the charges in the $23,000 bill stemmed from Eustathiou’s dislike of a homemade drinking game table.

“I’m so happy and so relieved,” Tyler’s mother Carrie said. “To take action, I think, is a message to be sent to any landlord out there that thinks they can get away with this, particularly in a college town.”

Eustathiou runs a rental business, renting primarily to college students at NCSU and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

WCNC Charlotte is always asking “where’s the money?” If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing [email protected].

RELATED: Landlord who sent $23,000 bill now under investigation, walks back charges

WCNC Charlotte and WRAL News shared their findings about Eustathiou’s questionable actions with the North Carolina Real Estate Commission and the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, leading the agencies to launch investigations into the landlord’s practices in November.

At that point, WCNC Charlotte and WRAL News reported that Eustathiou began walking back some of the charges, and mailed the students a revised bill, drastically reduced from $23,002.71 to $4,796.67.

Shortly after the state began investigating Eustathiou, several former renters also filed formal complaints. 

By November, Stein said his office was aware of eight complaints that alleged Eustathiou inappropriately kept renters’ security deposits and charged unreasonable fees.

As a result of NCREC’s investigation, the landlord surrendered her real estate broker’s license in December.

RELATED: ‘We will not hesitate going to court’ | State considers legal action against landlord

Tuesday’s announcement from Stein states that Eustathiou and her company violated state consumer protection and debt laws. 

As a result, Eustathiou and Apollon will repay $25,040 in security deposits to former renters. Additionally, they must create a “90-day lookback period to review requests for refunds from people who did not file complaints … but may be entitled to a refund.”.

As part of the settlement, Eustathiou denied breaking the law, but said she wished to “resolve this controversy without further proceedings.”

The consent agreement also dictates how she does business in the future and requires her to pay civil penalties of $11,500 if she violates any of the agreed-upon terms.

“I’m ecstatic that she can’t do this to anybody else,” Nichole Williamson, the mother of another former renter, said. “It just made my day to see that she can’t get away with this. Fifteen years she had been doing this.”

Both Williamson and Parziale praised WCNC Charlotte and WRAL News for exposing the landlord and said they feel vindicated.

“I am forever grateful to you for bringing this story forward,” Williamson said. “I am not sure that we could have been this successful without you, so I just really want to thank you for taking an interest in this story and bringing it out. This is just an excellent example of really great investigative journalism.”

“Thank you for sharing this story and getting it out there,” Parziale added. “Because without that, (the settlement) would not have happened.”

Anyone who rented a property from Eustathiou and believes they may be entitled to a refund can complete this online form.

For the latest Where’s The Money news, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app and enable push notifications.

“I’m pleased that we were able to win back money for these students and their families,” Attorney General Stein said in a statement. “This is what it means to fight for North Carolina’s consumers – to win back money they’ve unfairly lost and ensure that these practices don’t harm others.”

WCNC Charlotte’s Where’s The Money series is all about leveling the playing field in the Carolinas by helping others and breaking down barriers. WCNC Charlotte doesn’t want our viewers to be taken advantage of, so we’re here to help. Watch previous stories where we ask the question “Where’s the Money” in the YouTube playlist below and subscribe to get updated when new videos are uploaded.

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