North Carolina tenants typically have rights under state law that landlords must respect at all times. Generally speaking, it is illegal for a landlord to take action against a tenant who is acting within those rights. For instance, a landlord couldn’t evict a tenant simply for complaining about a broken pipe or asking that other types of repairs be made. Furthermore, tenants could potentially withhold some or all of a rental payment if they paid to fix issues on their own.
It is important to note that a tenant would likely need to show that an attempt was made to allow the landlord to remedy the situation. Landlords are also forbidden from raising rent, refusing to renew a lease or not taking action to remedy a problem simply because a tenant engaged in a protected activity. Tenants are also typically protected from retaliation if they complain to a government agency about their living conditions.
Tenants who occupy a rental property must generally be afforded safe and quiet living conditions. Those who own rental properties may be liable for repairing broken appliances, fixing plumbing issues and ensuring that the roof is in good condition. Property owners can also be liable for taking care of pest or rodent issues as they occur.
Individuals who believe that they have been retaliated against by a landlord may wish to file a lawsuit. If successful, the plaintiff could recoup a security deposit or rental payments made to a landlord who failed to provide adequate living conditions. Other financial damages may be available under state housing laws. An attorney could help a tenant negotiate a settlement with a landlord or obtain a favorable outcome at trial.