Landlord who charged students $18,000 for beer pong table loses real estate license

The landlord at the center of multiple state investigations has permanently surrendered her real estate broker’s license. The move comes after a joint investigation between WRAL 5 On Your Side and WCNC in Charlotte revealed years of alleged wrongdoing toward tenants, including predatory charges and withholding security deposits.

In one case, Lisa Eustathiou tried to fine a group of NC State students $23,000 when they moved out. Part of the fine included a four-figure charge for a large wooden table used for various activities, including drinking games. In another situation, North Carolina resident Connie Baker says she reached out to Eustathiou about a property in Greensboro, but after she wired $2,700 to Eustathiou, Eustathiou allegedly never finalized the lease and withheld more than $1,000 of Baker’s money.

Eustathiou owns multiple properties, including several on Dixie Trail Road in Raleigh and had an active real estate broker’s license at the time of our reporting. Following our reports, several people made formal complaints to the real estate commission. The commission said it knew of at least 24 tenants with issues with Eustathiou.

Janet Thoren, the real estate commission’s legal counsel and director of regulatory affairs, says their investigations usually target unlicensed real estate activity. However, because Eustathiou was a licensed real estate broker, the commission began to investigate. According to Thoren, Eustathiou made the decision to surrender her license rather than continue with the investigation.

“It was a permanent surrender. A permanent surrender is not eligible for reinstatement. This closes our investigation,” Thoren told WRAL 5 On Your Side.

Tenants who had security deposits withheld by Eustathiou could receive compensation.

“This requires them to obtain a judgment in small claims court and then to apply with the commission for the benefits of the fund,” Thoren said of the process.

The state Department of Justice is currently conducting a separate investigation into Eustathiou. An attorney with student legal services at NC State University told WRAL 5 On Your Side that his office had received complaints since about 2009.

Eustathiou’s attorney maintains no wrongdoing on Eustathiou’s part. Eustathiou confirms she is no longer charging the group of students for the wooden table.

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