April 12, 2019
Attorney General Josh Stein was granted a temporary restraining order against a real estate business involved in a lawsuit he filed alleging unfair and deceptive trade practices.
The temporary restraining order prohibits J.S. Enterprises of Swansboro LLC and James Morris Stallings III from engaging in real estate business and enforcing any leasing contracts with consumers until a preliminary injunction hearing. These defendants primarily operate in Onslow, Pender, and surrounding eastern North Carolina counties.
“Thanks to my lawyers, this business won’t be able to take advantage of any more people in North Carolina as we continue this case,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Landlords and real estate sellers have a legal responsibility to treat homeowners and tenants fairly. If they don’t, my office will hold them accountable.”
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants buy properties from distressed homeowners with promises to deliver cash in hand or pay all closing costs, among other false advertising. In reality, the defendants are giving these homeowners promissory notes with small monthly payments and zero percent interest over a long period. The defendants then lease these properties to consumers in financial hardship or with poor credit histories using lease agreements that violate North Carolina’s landlord-tenant law.
The suit also alleges that the defendants retaliated against at least one consumer who filed a complaint with NCDOJ’s Consumer Protection Division by trying to evict her, and have engaged in illegal purchases of real estate property.