GREENSBORO, N.C. — Getting and staying in an apartment can be a real struggle for people right now. Rental rates have increased significantly since last year, and some may face eviction.
Josie Williams from the Greensboro Housing Coalition said it's important to know help is out there.
Williams said tenants should apply for help as soon as they think they need it. She said the sooner they submit their application, the more likely they can get assistance in time.
If you still can't make your rent and face eviction, Williams said legal representation is available. Tenants can contact Legal Aid of North Carolina to get help.
Williams said you can still get help if you have a court date coming up but are still waiting for rental assistance. An attorney may be able to advise you on the process and what defenses you have.
Other tenants find themselves in a tough position when rent is due and their apartment is in poor condition. Sometimes, they're waiting for their landlord to make repairs and consider withholding rent.
Williams said you should always pay your rent on time if you're able to. Landlords have a responsibility to ensure your apartment is safe and livable. However, she said North Carolina does not allow tenants to withhold rent while waiting for important repairs to get finished.
Williams said you should submit all maintenance requests in writing.That gives you a formal documentation of it. She said the letter should include dates and a description of the requests made. It prevents a "he said, she said" situation.
Williams suggested trying to send the letter through certified mail. That way, you can know if they received it.