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Gray Area Between Resident Rights and Landlord Responsibilities

Resident Rights and Landlord Responsibilities

Digested from “Renter reads law wrong and risks eviction”
WSOC (2/17/16) Stoogenke, Jason

Charlotte, N.C., housing code states that landlords can’t collect rent on apartment homes that are in violation of building codes. But the law is written so vaguely that people may read it as meaning they do not have to pay rent while an apartment home is in disrepair — and they may end up getting evicted as a result of nonpayment.

Shalonda White has dealt with issues ranging from loose cabinets to rotten countertops to loose faucets to exposed wires during her residency at Lake Arbor Apartments. After attempting to work with the maintenance team, she contacted the code enforcement unit, which found eight code violations and gave the community one month to fix them, along with a reminder that it is unlawful to collect rent while an apartment home is being fixed.

After six months, Lake Arbor Apartments still had not fixed the apartments and was charged $2,500 in fines. But although the law was written to underwrite the severity of not keeping buildings up to code, it does not mean that residents can skip payments while the work is being done, and White may be evicted for not paying her rent.

San Jose residents are facing similar issues, as residents who complain about living conditions face eviction from apartment communities in the area. The property management company was brought in to handle complaints of gang activity, but after community residents met to discuss issues with the city mayor and received eviction notices, residents now fear that complaining about problems in their apartment homes may result in similar dismissal. 

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