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North Carolina General Legal Blog

What problems can arise during a closing?

Closing on the home of your dreams is an exhilarating experience, that is until something goes horribly wrong. Unfortunately, there are a lot of issues that can prevent a closing from going through, and it's important that you're prepared for any last-minute hangups to ensure you're able to purchase the home you've chosen. Zillow.com explains a few of the most common closing issues and what you can do to avoid them. 

Closing problems can sometimes involve the title. Undiscovered liens or money owed to contractors for past work performed can sometimes lurk in the background. Additionally, these problems will become yours once the property is in your possession. Make sure you're fully aware of any title issues by requesting a copy of the title report. Once it's in your possession, read through it diligently to identify any possible problems. 

Landlords, tenants and carpet replacement

There are so many different issues that can affect landlords and tenants, it can be difficult to pinpoint one. In this post, however, we will focus on carpet replacement from the perspectives of landlords as well as tenants. There are a number of legal matters that may need to be taken into consideration when it comes to carpet replacement, but we will cover some of the most common issues that arise. Carpet can be at the center of a dispute between a landlord and their tenant(s) and can even lead to litigation. As a result, it is imperative to be aware of your rights and responsibilities.

For landlords, it is important to understand legal obligations regarding carpet and other aspects of a rental property. While some states do not provide a timeline in which landlords are required to replace the carpet, landlords are obligated to ensure that the premises is fit and habitable. Therefore, a tenant who is upset with their landlord's refusal to replace the carpet when necessary may be able to take further action. From a landlord's perspective, various issues regarding carpet may arise as well. For example, a landlord may be upset with a tenant who has damaged carpet that was recently replaced, whether they spilled a lot of drinks on the floor, allowed their dog to tear the carpet up or burned holes in the carpet, to name a few examples.

How can I avoid rental scams?

Rental scams are unfortunately all too common these days. Common scams utilize certain methods and tactics to trick unwitting renters into parting with large sums of money in the hopes of securing a place to live. The good news is that many scams are pretty obvious, provided you have the right information. U.S. News & World Report explains a few of the many red flags one can look out for when in search of a rental property. 

You're asked for a deposit prior to signing a lease

Will privacy laws prevent you from helping your child?

Like many in North Carolina and elsewhere, you may think of estate planning as something you do when you get older. In fact, you may not have even considered this process for yourself, so the thought that your child may benefit from estate planning may seem absurd. However, with the new school year starting, this may be an excellent time to consider certain estate planning tools that can save you precious time if your child should need your help.

If your child recently turned 18, you may be surprised to learn that the law no longer grants you authority to make decisions on your child's behalf. You may still be making breakfast and picking up dirty socks for your kids. You may even have your child on your health insurance policy. Nevertheless, without taking certain precautions, you may not be able to speak for you child if he or she becomes ill or injured.

Which red flags signal an untrustworthy contractor?

Whether you're planning a home addition or looking towards the construction of a brand new home, you must choose a trustworthy and competent contractor. Failure to do so can cost you exorbitant amounts of money while also preventing work from being done to your complete satisfaction. To ensure you're completely happy with the finished project, Urbo.com recommends looking out for the following red flags when speaking with contractors about your construction needs. 

While it seems relatively simple, consider how a contractor addresses you when you have questions. Some building topics can be challenging for a layperson to understand completely, so it's natural that you'd want to seek clarification on these subjects. Does the contractor offer clear and concise answers that provide knowledge and satisfy your questions? Are they willing to work with you to expand your understanding at the beginning of a project? If not, consider this a major red flag. Also, keep in mind that the situation is bound to grow worse as the project goes on.

When do I need an NDA?

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are an essential component of doing business for many entrepreneurs. The sharing of information is often necessary when hiring new employees or taking steps to find funding, but you want to rest assured that your valuable ideas are kept secure. The following are a few instances where having a valid and binding NDA is an absolute must. 

No matter how strong your products or services are, you must have reliable staff to ensure your business continues to thrive. When searching for the best and brightest in your industry, an NDA offers assurances that workers won't take important concepts and processes within them should they leave. It also makes certain that they won't divulge information to any direct competitors, which is a real concern in certain industries. Think about the type of information an employee would have access to during a workday. Now consider what might occur if this information fell into the wrong hands.

Confusion over the terms of a rental contract

We have discussed many of the different reasons why renting can be difficult for landlords and tenants alike. There are various reasons for disputes arising, but in this write-up, we will examine some of the issues related to confusion over a rental contract. Sometimes, tenants do not understand certain aspects of the agreement, which may lead to a heated dispute with their landlord. There are also times when landlords may have confusion over certain aspects of a rental contract. For example, a landlord who rents multiple properties may have difficulty remembering the specific details of each contract and rental property.

Ideally, confusion can be cleared up without litigation, and both landlords and tenants can move forward without any problems. This is not always the case, however, and confusion surrounding a rental agreement can lead to bitter disputes which may even wind up in court. These ordeals can be costly and confusing for landlords and may even jeopardize a rental. If you are trying to work through a dispute centered around a rental agreement with one of your tenants, it is imperative to ensure that your interests are protected and that you have a clear understanding of not only the contract but your legal options as well.

Transfering risk from construction contractors to subcontractors

It's quite rare and highly unlikely these days that a general construction contractor will perform all of the work on a project. More than likely, the contractor will bring in numerous subcontractors as needed to handle a particular portion of the work.

Regardless of how careful a construction contractor is, issues can arise on any job, especially when subcontractors become involved. Controlling every action of a particular subcontractor is nearly impossible. For this reason, contractors should make sure that subcontractors meet the appropriate insurance requirements.

When a tenant refuses to move

As a landlord, renting to tenants can be tough for a host of reasons. Even when everything goes smoothly, landlords may face various stressors and challenges. Unfortunately, some landlords encounter difficult tenants who may fail to abide by the terms of a rental agreement or make life challenging for landlords in other ways. For example, a tenant may refuse to move out of a home or apartment even though they are no longer allowed to stay there. When this happens, it is imperative for landlords to review their options and figure out the best course of action.

Tenants may be asked to move for different reasons. For example, a lease may be up and the landlord may have other plans for their rental. Or, perhaps a tenant has been issued an eviction notice due to failing to pay rent or violating the terms of a lease in some other manner. Landlords should be aware of their rights and they should also avoid any activity that could land them in hot water, such as attempting to forcibly remove a tenant on their own. If you have a tenant who is supposed to leave and they are refusing to do so, it is imperative to have a comprehensive understanding of your legal rights and some of the options that may be on the table.

When landlord/tenant disputes turn violent

We have addressed many different facets of disputes which involve landlords and tenants. Unfortunately, some disputes can be especially tense and may lead to serious hardships for either party. For example, a dispute may lead to a heated argument and significant tensions between a landlord and his or her tenant(s). In some cases, violence may even occur. For example, a frustrated landlord may hit a tenant, or a disgruntled tenant may attack their landlord. It is very important to prepare for these possibilities if you are facing a disagreement involving your landlord or tenant, and take appropriate action if such an incident ever occurs.

Disputes between landlords and tenants can become extremely emotional and combative. On the one hand, landlords may be worried about their property and their bottom line, which can be threatened by unruly and uncooperative tenants. On the other hand, tenants may face a myriad of challenges when their living conditions are unsuitable because of a careless landlord, or when the place they call home is threatened because of a landlord's wrongdoing. These challenges can be even greater when children are involved.

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