GREENSBORO, N.C. — When you're paying rent and the landlord doesn't seem to be fixing something that's wrong, you might be tempted to hold your rent payment until he fixes it. DON'T.
Attorney Jennifer Ruby of Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A. says you ALWAYS need to pay your rent.
"If you think your unit is not being properly maintained by your landlord, you cannot simply withhold rent. You MUST go to the court to get an order for rent abatement. If you withhold rent without a court order, the landlord can evict you for non-payment of rent."
So, what do you do? First, you need your expectations in writing. A phone call really isn't evidence.
2 Wants To Know (2WTK) has a landlord/tenant template letter for you to use.
Here are a few other things you need to keep in mind:
-Read your lease agreement and be sure you understand the terms before signing.
-Leases have a lot of rules that can lead to an eviction if not followed (including trash on the premises, smoking, keeping your unit clean, loud music, behavior of your guests).
-Understand whether your lease automatically renews and, if so, how much notice you need to give if you are not going to renew your lease.
-Pay your rent on time. Keep a receipt or other documentation to prove payment.
-Take pictures of the unit before you move in and when you move out.
-An eviction can have a big impact on your ability to find future housing.
-A landlord cannot lock you out without first having a court order.
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