Renting a home in North Carolina can come with many fruitful advantages. In most cases, landlords make all needed repairs and remodeling changes, a tenant may look for a new home while in the comfort of a rental house, there is no impending monthly mortgage, and, in some rental agreements, landlords allow and even encourage pets.
While a rental home may be an excellent personal and financial choice, it can also come with a number of potential challenges. Knowing both the rights of the tenant and landlord can save time in the long run, when or if an issue does occur.
Eviction in Numbers
According to Indy Week, Durham County has the highest eviction filing rate among North Carolina’s ten largest counties. From July 2015 to June 2016, there was one eviction case brought to magistrate court for every 28 Durham residents. Although criminal activity or breach of lease agreement are two definite factors that can lead to eviction, most of the cases in Durham were the result of tenants’ inability to pay rent. Duke’s Civil Justice Clinic, the Durham County Department of Social Services and Legal Aid of North Carolina are working together to resolve this overwhelming rental housing issue by steering those who have been through eviction proceedings to legal help and rental assistance.
The North Carolina Bar Association offers a brochure containing information on tenants’ rights in the state. The NC Bar states that a landlord may evict tenants by a special court procedure called Summary Ejectment if the lease is breached or terminated. However, a landlord may not use self help, such as cutting off utilities or locking tenants out of the home, in lieu of Summary Ejectment. In the case of rental payment, a landlord may impose a late charge on any rental payment which is late by five days or more. The exception to this rule is if the specific late fee guidelines are not originally part of the rental agreement.