A litter-strewn, dead lawn and a cracked front walkway aren’t enough to make the landlord of 507 Dupree Street stop his tenants from allowing certain N.C. Central University students to use the property’s front yard as a parking lot.
The house sits across from the Farrison-Newton Communications building and behind the VSOP hair salon.
According to Durham County Appraisal Division Manager Teresa Hairston, using the house’s front yard as a parking lot is causing the property’s value and adjacent properties’ values to fall.
One tenant said they’ve had their new landlord for about a year of the two they’ve been renting the property, and have had NCCU students parking there ever since.
According to Jamal Harris, a hospitality and tourism junior, the new landlord lives out of town, and hired a project manager to maintain the house and landscaping, but the manager hasn’t done anything.
“He usually comes out during the summer, but not like he should,” Harris said. Also, the manager’s job is year-round, so he gets paid to do nothing.
Harris said the landlord never comes to the house.
According to Harris, when he and his roommates first moved in, their old landlord didn’t want anyone parking on the newly remodeled front walkway. But the new landlord doesn’t seem to care.
“A lot of times, the people who live here leave and come back and they don’t have anywhere to park,” said Brandon Irving, a computer science junior. Irving is a friend of the tenants’ and uses the front yard for parking.
Harris said he only authorized one person to park on the lawn, who asked “to pay to park here.” But he said he doesn’t remember the student’s name, and he barely remembers the car.
“Half of the people who park here, we don’t even know,” he said.
Irving said the tenants have tried to tell people they can’t park there, but nobody listens.
“Sometimes [Harris] puts notes on people’s cars telling them not to park over here,” Irving said. “He’d hate to tow a student’s car.”
Harris said students “don’t feel threatened” by the prospect of having their cars towed.
According to Irving, neighbors got so frustrated with people parking in adjacent yards that they moved out.
But before then, they had tried “No Parking” signs and generic “Caution” tape to discourage parking.
According to Hairston, a house loses value when the owners do not maintain its appearance. Maintenance includes removing yard clutter.
“They’re messing up our grass. We don’t have any grass out there,” Harris said.
According to things the Appraisal Division Manager has said, it would be difficult to sell 507 Dupree Street.