DURHAM — A landlord/tenant dispute is raging in Durham. A property owner decided to sell some of his land. One of his rental home tenants claims she did not get enough notice to clear out before a bulldozer came in and plowed through.
Betty Jo Adcock's former rental home at 401 East Maynard Avenue in Durham is now an excavation. She says all that is left of her destroyed belongings from the house is a microwave and bed dumped in a hole down the street.
"It's hard to ask somebody for some clothes to wear. It really is," Adcock says. "I called the Red Cross. They said since it wasn't a natural disaster, they couldn't help me."
When property owner William Boone decided to sell the land in early May, he says he notified another tenant to clear out. Adcock claims last Thursday, she was told the bulldozer would arrive the following day.
"Two to three hours later, I came back and the place was down to the ground," Adcock says.
Michelle Renfrow, Adcock's friend, says she tried to stop the destruction.
"I said, 'Her stuff is in that house,' and I don't choose to say what he said to me, the words that he didn't care," Renfrow says. "He didn't give a you-know-what."
Cyndi Haden of the North Central Legal Assistance Program says everyone living in a rental home has rights in an eviction, namely that the sheriff's department should issue an eviction notice.
"At no point, before the writ of execution has been served and the ten days expired, should the landlord remove the possessions of the tenant from the property," Haden says.
Boone feels differently on the issue.
"We went in before to see if anything was salvageable and it wasn't," Boone says. "I feel like she doesn't have any rights because she was not on the lease."
For now, Adcock is relying on friends for help. She says she is considering legal action.
The Durham County Sheriff's Department has no record that an official eviction notice was ever issued for the property. The city plans to cite Boone and the property's buyer for demolition and dumping without a permit.