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Habitability matters: Follow the law in North Carolina

In most states, there is an implied warranty of habitability that protects tenants. This implied warranty states that the owner must make sure that the property's basic structural elements are sound. This includes the flooring, roofing, stairs and walls. They are also meant to keep common areas in good condition and safe for use.

Essentially, the landlord is meant to keep the premises in good and fit condition. This applies throughout the duration of the tenant's rental agreement. If at any time the property is no longer habitable, the landlord is then required to make repairs that will place it back into a habitable condition.

Some local codes in North Carolina may prohibit:

  • Sewer malfunctions
  • Fire hazards
  • Pest infestations
  • Peeling paint
  • Roof damage/leaks

What does a tenant need to do if the property needs to be repaired?

When there is an issue with the property, the tenant should immediately reach out to the landlord and inform them of the problem. The tenant should not withhold rent, since this could lead to an eviction. However, if the landlord doesn't make repairs in a reasonable amount of time, then a tenant may want to complain to the local fire department or health department for more support.

Whether you are a tenant with a problem with your home or a landlord who has been informed of a problem in your property, the goal should be to get the property back to a habitable state. If you disagree, then it is possible to discuss the situation with your attorney to determine the best course of action.

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