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Many tenants granted two-week period to find housing in first round of Lake Arbor eviction trials

Updated: Oct. 1, 2019 at 6:42 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Tenants of the Lake Arbor Apartments in Charlotte spent Tuesday morning in court fighting for their homes.

Problems at the complex in west Charlotte ranging from rats to mold have gone unsolved for years. Now, the developer is evicting everyone so the place can be renovated.

Tuesday morning, nine tenants faced a judge in court. Cases involving tenants who had already moved out of the complex were dismissed, while others were continued.

“Getting misplaced out of an apartment after they take your hard earned money," resident Anthony Caldwell said. "They been taking our hard earned money for two years.”

Caldwell and his fiance Marie McKinney are living in squalor.

“No heat and air," he said. "Our thermostat don’t even work!”

The couple was one of many tenants to be granted a continuance of two weeks.

“He feel like we can find a place in two weeks, but as far as the credit is concerned, they say it takes six months to build credit,” he said.

They are seeking help from Community Link, a group helping people find a place to live. They also need legal counsel.

“Eviction cases are generally scary," Legal Aid Staff Attorney O’Shauna Hunter said. "A lot of times these people have never been to court.”

That’s where Legal Aid steps in, offering a clinic during the hearings.

“We’re able to on the spot screen them to see if they’re eligible for our services and then sometimes represent them,” Hunter said.

Caldwell says he is scared.

“Worst case scenario is a motel but we have two dogs, we have two teenage boys,” he said. “It’s not gonna work.”

Non-profit organization Action NC was also at the hearings to make sure tenants know their rights.

“My hope is that we look at the cycle of displacement from what’s happening at Lake Arbor,” Action NC organizer Jessica Moreno said. “It’s not an exclusive issue, it’s a wider issue that we’re dealing with over and over again.”

Tenants granted continuances on Tuesday are due back in court on October 15.

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