Jackson eviction petition denied
By Peter Williams
The Perquimans Weekly
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
HERTFORD — A Chowan County magistrate has dismissed an eviction complaint against a Hertford town councilman, saying he could not determine a landlord-tenant relationship in the case.
Magistrate Keith Nixon dismissed Wednesday the eviction petition sought by Catherine Flowers against her cousin, Hertford Town Councilman Quentin Jackson. Flowers was seeking Jackson’s eviction from her house on Brace Avenue in Hertford. She also was seeking six months of rent from Jackson — a total of $2,400 — and $200 for damages she claims Jackson made to the property.
Nixon, however, said his authority only allows him to rule in eviction cases where a property lease is involved and there is a clear landlord-tenant relationship. Flowers’ arrangement with Jackson, allowing him to live in her house on Brace Avenue, apparently was not based on a written lease.
The burden of proving that Jackson was in violation of his lease was on Flowers, not Jackson, Nixon said. The Chowan magistrate was asked to hear the eviction complaint because Jackson is a Hertford councilman and Hertford is in Perquimans County.
Before Wednesday’s court hearing Jackson said he paid Flowers $25,000 in January to buy the house and two nearby lots. He also said he promised to pay her another $25,000 for the properties.
He described Flowers’ eviction petition against him as a family squabble.
“It’s disheartening that you have to go through this and it’s worse when it’s with family,” Jackson said.
Jackson has filed a counter-complaint against Flowers, seeking $100,000 from her. Jackson claims he has invested at least $30,000 in the house. He further claims he never lived in the house, but was trying to fix it up.
In her case for eviction, Flowers claimed Jackson has been living in the house. She said she told him on March 2, he had 30 days to vacate the Brace Avenue property. However, as of June 4, he still had personal property in the home and a car in the yard, Flowers said.
Jackson, however, claims the house hasn’t been occupied for about 15 years, not since the death of its previous owner, Louise Austin. Upon Austin’s death, the property was transferred to Catherine Flowers, Austin’s daughter.
Jackson said he currently lives in the 300 block of Church Street.
“Nobody can live there (the Brace Avenue house). The law says a landlord is prohibiting leasing a place without heat and air,” he said.
As for the property in the house Flowers claims belongs to him, Jackson said it includes tools he was using to fix up the house.
Jackson said after the house became vacant, water leaked in, creating a bad mold problem. He had to rip up floors and fix the leaks in the house, he said.
Ultimately Jackson said he’d like to tear down the house and use the lot and two adjacent ones to build a home costing between $200,000 and $300,000.
That will have to wait, he said.
“I don’t have $300,000 lying around and I have legal fees of $35,000 to $40,000 (for other court cases),” he said.
Flowers was advised Wednesday she has 10 days to appeal Nixon’s decision to District Court. It was not clear Wednesday if she plans to appeal the ruling.