Can you imagine coming home from an extended work trip only to find that most of your belongings are missing and a stranger has set up shop?!
For Atlanta-based make-up artist Nia Bynum this was her reality. Bynum alleges she told her apartment’s management that she wouldn’t be renewing her lease and would be moving out at the end of its term.
Despite this understanding, an eviction notice was apparently issued while she was away.
Bynum wants answers and to track down her belongings, but management claims no involvement or knowledge of the removal.
The identity of the stranger turned out to be allegedly one of the complex’s maintenance men. What is really going on? The Shade Room investigates…
Bynum was a tenant at The Bentley at Marietta for about three months before the incident occurred, and from the get-go there were issues with the apartment.
She told TSR Investigate’s Justin Carter that there were cockroaches, numerous broken cabinets, and a pile of trash in the back area right outside of her unit.
On May 15, she left Marietta to take a job in North Carolina, but before she left she informed management that she could not take it anymore. She needed to break her lease and get out of there.
The two apparently came to an agreement that she would leave at the end of June, however management appeared to have different ideas in mind, and changed the locks well before the agreed upon leave-date.
“I put my key in the door and the key doesn’t work. The original key” she told TSR Investigates Justin Carter. “I go (to management) and say ‘hey, this key is not working,’ and the lady there says ‘hmm, let me call the vendor.'”
The vendor eventually arrived and opened the door, where Bynum discovered the unit had been completely emptied of her belongings.
She posted video of the incident to Twitter, which garnered over 100,000 views.
“That’s when I went into the closet and found a Cracker Barrel bag. I’ve never been to Cracker Barrel,” she said. “Then there’s a cup from Burger King, and I don’t eat from Burger King. I go into the bathroom, and there’s a cigarette in the toilet. There’s used towels everywhere, as if someone was washing up in my bathroom.”
Bynum believes the culprit was the apartment’s maintenance man, as she said she found his uniform in the apartment. She also found a bag of prescription pills in the unit, and took photos showing all of the evidence.
The person got rid of her bed, but was oddly still using her blankets and comforter.
“All my stuff is gone, and (management) kept acting confused as to how my stuff went missing.”
And despite the June 30 date she had agreed upon with management for her leave-date, an eviction notice was posted to her door claiming back rent owed of $1398, which had been filed May 24, according to court documents.
The notice said she had to respond by June 9, but Bynum claims that management knew she would be working out-of-town.
Bynum admitted to not paying her last month of rent, and said that management was aware she was not paying it due to the state of disarray it had been in, even before the stranger moved in.
She said management never called or sent any kind of written communications prior warning her of an eviction.
TSR Investigate’s Justin Carter took a look at the eviction filings, and found that it had not been signed by a deputy, marshal, sheriff or county clerk
The service date on the notice also shows June 2nd, only two days after May’s rent would have been due.
“Even the police officers said my stuff shouldn’t have been gone,” she lamented.
In Georgia state law, only after a Writ of Possession can someone’s belongings be removed from the apartment, where it is usually placed on the curb.
That is only if that person doesn’t leave after an eviction judgment has been made in the landlord or management’s favor, something that had not yet occurred in Bynum’s case.
“I don’t know where my stuff is, I don’t know if it’s in the trash, or if somebody sold it. I don’t know.”
A representative for the apartment’s management company told TSR Investigates that they are not legally permitted to share private information regarding former or current residents.
Bynum added that Marietta Police told her that management had never given the maintenance man permission to stay there. Authorities are still looking for him as well as her belongings as of Wednesday.
TSR Investigates explores cold cases and special interest news stories underrepresented in mainstream media.