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landlord/tenant matters Archives

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.

Trouble with a violation of your rental contract? Get support

When you agreed to let your new tenant rent your property, you were clear that subletting the property was not going to be allowed. Subletting leaves too many questions open, and it leaves your original tenant responsible for anything that subleasing tenant does.

A landlord's responsibility to maintain a unit

One of the potential benefits of renting an apartment in North Carolina is that the landlord is responsible for maintaining it. For instance, a landlord could be required to replace carpets that are stained, torn or have reached the end of their useful lives. Typically, carpets used in rental units are expected to last for about five years. Residents who have pets are often expected to put up with stains or other imperfections their carpets may have.

What to know about evictions

Renters in North Carolina generally have rights that prevent landlords from evicting them without cause. Tenants who receive an eviction notice will typically have the opportunity to remedy whatever problem that led to the notice being sent. For instance, an individual may be allowed to get current on rental payments or relocate an animal that isn't supposed to live with the tenant. However, there are circumstances in which a tenant can send an unconditional quit notice.

Landlord retaliation is often illegal

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.

How to properly evict a tenant

Landlords in North Carolina and most other states generally have to follow a process to remove tenants from their properties. Providing an eviction notice is usually the first step in the process of doing so. An eviction could stem from a failure to pay rent, for damaging property or for taking other actions that violate the terms of a valid lease. A tenant could have the opportunity to rectify any issue cited in the eviction notice.

Leases may have flexible or fixed lengths

Those who want to rent property in North Carolina will likely need to sign a lease. Leases may either come with a fixed term or be renewed on a monthly basis. If the lease does not have a fixed term, it can be changed or terminated at any time by the tenant or landlord. A tenant who chooses to terminate a written lease must notify the landlord before moving out in accordance with the lease. Typically, 30 or 60 days' notice is required for either party to terminate the lease after the end of the initial lease term.

What a security deposit can be used for

It isn't uncommon for North Carolina landlords to require a security deposit in addition to the first month's rent before a tenant takes possession of a property. In most cases, the security deposit is meant to pay for any damage that the tenant may cause. However, it is possible that the security deposit will be used to pay any remaining unpaid rent owed during the lease. If the unpaid rent and damages to the property exceed the deposit, then the landlord may charge the tenant additional costs for repairs over and above the security deposit.

Language commonly included in residential leases

Those who rent houses or apartments in North Carolina will likely need to sign a lease. While an agreement may be customized to some degree, certain clauses must generally be included in any lease. For example, the names of everyone who is a party to the agreement must be listed on the document itself. It should also say how long the agreement lasts and how much a tenant will pay the landlord each month.

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