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Stewart v. Southwood Class Action FAQs

Our firm recently settled a class action case Stewart v. Southwood. There are two “classes” of people that get benefits from this settlement:
  • “Eviction Fee Class” – tenants of a Southwood property who were charged and paid eviction fees (e.g., filing fees, service fees, and attorneys fees) associated with the filing of an eviction.
  • “Collection Letter Class” – tenants of a Southwood property who were charged eviction fees and filed a claim asserting they received an illegal letter.

Eviction Fee Class members were NOT required to file paperwork to get money and debt waiver (i.e., have the debt they owed Southwood waived and released) but did need to file a claim to request the “Set Aside and Dismissal” (which would allow tenants to have eviction judgments dismissed).
Collection Letter Class members needed to affirmatively file a claim asserting that they received an illegal letter. If they filed a claim, they were eligible to get $50 per letter up to $150 total. If they did not file a claim, they cannot get any money for that claim.

Settlement Summary:

A North Carolina Superior Court Judge has approved a settlement valued at more than $7 million dollars ($3,750,000.00 in cash and $3,279,343.55 in debt waiver) for claims under state unfair debt collection statutes filed on behalf of tenants of Southwood Realty Company, a North Carolina property management company.
The class action, initially filed in Cumberland County Superior Court on September 1, 2018, alleged that Southwood Realty Company violated the Residential Rental Agreements Act, N.C.G.S. § 42-46 by charging and collecting various fees in connection with filing eviction actions.
The eviction-related fees in question included a complaint-filing fee, sheriff service fee, and an attorneys’ fee that the Plaintiff contended were prohibited by North Carolina law. Southwood Realty Company strongly disagreed with Plaintiff’s interpretation and contended throughout the litigation that it was entitled to assess and collect the eviction fees.
The Plaintiff also alleged that the charging of the eviction-related fees violated the North Carolina Debt Collection Act, N.C.G.S. § 75-50 et seq. which prohibits debt collectors from making unlawful threats or misrepresenting amounts due.
Recognizing that the payment of hundreds of dollars of unexpected fees can result in tenants falling behind on their rent, attorneys for the Plaintiff negotiated the release and waiver of more than $3.2 million in rental payments and other amounts owed by tenants of Southwood Realty Company.

Common Questions Asked:

  1.  Is this a scam? If you were a tenant at a property owned/managed by Southwood who were evicted. If so, you are likely class members and it was not a scam.
  2. Can I change payment methods? A lot of people have been complaining that they have changed addresses or no longer use PayPal (which is a method of paying people that we have been using). If this is the case, have them identify their old address and their new address. You can then email this change to Danielle Bracy at
  3. Am I in the class? You can email Danielle Bracy and ask for that information.