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Jackson eviction petition denied

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Quentin Jackson

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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.

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