By Leila Beem Nez, Editor
At first, their landlord understood, said Irene Dubicki. It wasnt until later that things started going sour.
I was a police explorer when I was a kid and I wanted to be a cop, and so it kind of went full circle and Im working at the jail and now Im happy; Im doing what I want to do, Dubicki said. But now that I finally get a job that I want to do, Im not going to have a house. I dont know what Im going to do.
Dubicki, a corrections officer at the Coffee County Jail, gets a paycheck every two weeks and had for the past year been paying $320 on that schedule instead of the weekly rate of $160 her landlord normally required. Sometimes she would get a little behind, Dubicki said, but the agreement was acceptable.
Pictured are Irene Dubicki, left, Coral Campbell, Vincent Campbell and son, Vladimir Campbell.
At first [the landlord] understood and it was fine, said Dubicki, who shares the home with her daughter, Marissa. But then when I started bringing up things that needed to be fixed, we started having problems.
Dubicki has a laundry list of accusations against B&B Properties, which owns nearly 150 homes around Coffee County, and particularly against her Oakdale landlord, Christy Parker, who operates the company along with family members. The Times reached out to Parker, who declined to comment.
First there was a caved-in ceiling in her bedroom closet, which Dubicki said was finally repaired but only halfway, insulation still exposed. Then there were the two supplied air conditioners that stopped working, which she said her landlord refused to replace. There were issues with furnished stoves, which either only partially worked or stopped working altogether, and there was the driveway of the park, which Dubicki said is kept in poor conditions and poses hazards for vehicles.
But the real trouble came in the form of pest infestations, alleges Dubicki, mainly of bedbugs and cockroaches, for which she said her landlord continually refused to bring an exterminator. Dubickis daughter, Coral Campbell, who also lived in the park, experienced the same problems, she said.
[Parker] had knocked down a trailer that was condemned, and after that the roaches from that trailer migrated over to us. I told her that, and she gave me some bug spray and foggers, but that doesnt do any-thing, Dubicki said, showing apparent bedbug bites on her arms. Were talking not just a few, were talking covering the walls.
In the first week of April, Dubicki came home to an eviction notice on her door due to owing a few weeks of rent. The notice advised her that she had to be out of her home in the next seven days. Dubicki said she acknowledges having been behind on the rent, but that it had not been the first time it had happened.
Im not going against anything shes saying I know I owe her rent, Dubicki explained. But theres no reason why you cant work with someone like you have in the past when theyre willing to work with the bugs and the mess and everything else.
Dubicki will soon face Parker in court concerning the eviction and remains in her home until then.
But the trouble didnt end there. About a week after Dubicki got the notice, Campbell got an eviction notice for late rent, too, along with 10 days to clean out the house and leave. This, Campbell said, was a week after she got a title loan as Parker suggested, which was still rejected for not being enough.
Campbell, who works as a waitress and lives with her husband, Vincent, and 2-year-old son, Vladimir, said that when the 10-day deadline arrived, Parker changed the locks on the familys door, leaving the rest of their belongings locked in the home. This issue was resolved at a hearing when the family went to Legal Aid Society for help, at which time it was ruled that Parker was legally obligated to allow her tenants to retrieve the rest of their possessions, particularly clothes and other family items.
Thats what she wasnt letting us get out our clothes. It was hard to get all my stuff out that week because I only had one day off to move everything, and I worked all week, said Campbell, who has for the past couple of weeks been living in local motels while the family searches for another place to live. That day that day we were out of there, [Parker] had someone spray for bugs because she was going to show the house, when we had been telling her about it for over a year.
Since then, Dubicki and Campbell said Parker filed criminal trespass charges against Campbell and her family when they were staying in Dubickis home for the days after their eviction, while they worked to get and find storage for their belongings. The family appeared in court April 24 and the criminal trespass case was continued until July 24. Campbells personal belongings are still at her mothers house, many of the possessions kept outside due to lack of space.
Pretty much all our stuff is still there, and we cant go get it because were not allowed to [because of the criminal trespass allegations], Campbell said. I just cant believe this is going on. Its crazy.
Both Dubicki and Campbell have been searching for the past month for places to rent but have found it difficult, having been turned away by another rental group last week. The family said it was not given a reason for the denial.
I had the money in my hand for the deposit and the first week of rent, and they denied us, said Campbell, who is currently staying with her family at the Manchester Scottish Inn. Nobody is letting us rent anywhere. Nobody is giving us a chance.
A history of lawsuits
The operators of B&B Properties are no strangers to legal proceedings. According to the Coffee County Circuit Clerks office, there have been seven suits have been filed against them, alleging unlawful tactics from illegally entering tenants homes to remove property to shutting off utilities to intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Other tenants come forward
Kelly Smith rented from B&B Properties over a span of about six years until late 2016, first living in a mobile home at Oakdale Street in 2010 and a few years later moving into a house in Estill Springs. At first, things went smoothly, said Smith, whose landlord was also Christy Parker. Parker regularly had pest control come in to spray the house in Estill Springs, she said, and as she and her boyfriend, Scott White, maintained and added onto the home themselves, the family experienced no problems with the management.
Things changed when White passed away while mowing their front lawn in the summer of 2014. According to Smith, Parker stopped calling in pest control, and soon she and her two sons were living in a home infested with bedbugs and cockroaches.
She stopped [calling pest control] after he died. My house was just overrun. I pleaded with her because I had lived there so long, and I didnt want to move, Smith said.
Smith alleges that her landlord replied that she should move out, since she was $500 behind on rent, which Smith said was not typical as she had rented from the Parkers for nearly six years.
I was ready to stay there forever. We had planted all the flowers there and everything, said Smith as she showed text message exchanges between Parker and herself concerning moving out. She wasnt concerned about the $500. Money is not an issue for her. But when she thought I might start some trouble, she kicked us out. Landlords dont keep people for six years if theyre bad tenants.
Though able to come up with the money shortly after the text exchange, Smith said, the family decided to move out without contest. She and her sons found a place to live in Manchester the next month. Furniture had to be left due to infestations, and much of the rest of their belongings are still in storage, for fear of bringing potential pests to their new home.
Seven-hundred dollars a month for six years and after all that for her to do that to us, and for us to have nothing, Smith said.
Though struggling to find a place to live, Dubicki said she is trying to live as normally as possible and maintain hope they will be accepted somewhere else. The family is a tight-knit one, with Campbell living a few doors down from Dubicki for the past few years.
Were one unit, said Dubicki, who moved from New York nearly 20 years ago to make a new start in Manchester. We try to take care of each other, and thats not going to change.
Smith said though her family has had trouble adjusting, their new situation is a healthier one.
I still worry because my kids dont have that normalcy theyre used to, but were slowly adding on to our home, and we try to be thankful for everything we have and not dwell on it, Smith said.
Originally posted here:
Local renters allege wrongdoing, harassment - Manchestertimes
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