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Advice to get you out of a bad rental situation

As renters in Greensboro continue to have issues with apartments, Greensboro's Landlord-Tenant Dispute program offers some advice.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — As issues continue at several apartment complexes in Greensboro, the city of Greensboro's Human Rights Department has some advice to help.

The City's Human Rights Department, Guilford College, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro's Program in Conflict Studies and Dispute Resolution have a landlord-tenant dispute program. According to their website, it can "provide opportunities for tenants and landlords to eliminate communication barriers and work together. Issues that can be mediated include, but are not limited to, damaged property, noise complaints, repairs, and financial problems."

According to fair housing intake specialist Katherine Faulkner, you should always read your lease and see how to terminate your lease early. In North Carolina, legal leases can be either written or verbal, so make sure you know the ins and outs. She said you may be able to negotiate with your landlord, but there is usually a fee. However, if you can't break the lease, you can call the Landlord-Tenant DIspute Program at 336-373-2038. 

You can also seek legal help, but WFMY also spoke with an attorney who says it can be difficult. 

"When you sign that agreement as a tenant, understand that the upper hand and the advantages (are) in the hands of the landlord so when things go wrong there's not a lot of remedies that you have," said Gabriel Snyder, an attorney with Ward Black Law.

Students moving into both Block 43 apartment and The Vic in Greensboro have complained of poor conditions and limited help from management. Those at Block 43 say they have not heard back from the complex's parent company at all. 

In a situation where the landlord is refusing to make repairs and you are concerned about the conditions of the unit, Code Compliance can be collected so that the conditions are looked at. You can call them at 336-373-2111.

If you do want to stay in the home, once things are repaired, Faulkner says to make sure you document your maintenance request and be prepared to call Code and/or the Human Rights Department if the agreement is not honored.

Both Snyder and Faulkner say to ask to see the unit you are supposed to move into before you sign the lease. You can also ask the landlord to give you a copy of the lease before you sign.

Faulker said it's key to be persistent and document your correspondences with your landlord, maintenance staff, and others of the management company.