GREENSBORO, NC -- 2WTK is tackling the number one consumer complaint we get: landlord tenant issues. From repairs that aren't made, to mold issues to payment problems.
Lee Staton, a fair housing investigator with the City of Greensboro is our expert.The first thing to talk about; why stopping your rent payment will never work to get the repair results you want.
"When we stop paying rent, you are the one in the wrong. It makes no difference legally what the landlord is doing or not doing. If you don't pay rent, you are breaking the contract."
When it comes to getting a landlord to make repairs, Lee says you need to make it known what the problem is, and sometimes a phone call or two isn't enough. "Go down to the management office, write a letter and stick it in the door, if it gets to the point where you need to send a letter certified mail, do that."
Lee added having documentation of when you called, who you talked to and also documenting and taking pictures of what needs to be repaired is important. He says, if you did decide down the road to take your landlord to small claims court, you would need all this evidence to show a judge.
The number one and two complaints 2WTK hears as does the city's housing department are mold and bed bugs. Lee says, "both are health issues, not landlord issues." Really? Lee explained that the landlord should look at the mold to see if there is a leak that needs to be fixed. But other than that, it is a tenant and health department issue. It's not up to the landlord either to do bed bug eradication.
There is no state law that covers mold and renters. There is no state law that requires landlords to do anything about the mold.
Again, if there are extenuating circumstances and you think your landlord is at fault and you have paid doctor bills, or bug termination bills, you can keep all that documentation and take your landlord to small claims court.
What is a landlord required to do? The answer is short: make sure the space has workable heat, plumbing and electricity.
When you call your landlord for repairs, what is a reasonable time for them to respond? Lee says, "if it's an emergency with a toilet, plumbing, heat in the winter, the electricity is out...24 hours." But Lee also countered with, "If it is something not urgent, it could be 5 days."
WEB EXTRA: OTHER REPAIRS, EVICTION & WHAT TO EXPECT IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT