My Wife and I were taking a stroll down memory lane (actually it was Carrington Drive) thinking about the past. We started reminiscing about the crazy time right before we were married. I was just starting my real estate business, we were planning a wedding and making the transition from being renters to buying our first home in Knightdale. Fortunately my time as a renter was quick and painless. I rented a small farmhouse on Clifton Road from a very nice family. My experience as a renter in Knightdale was thankfully uneventful but I also know there are others who haven’t been so lucky. Let’s face it, the government is giving great incentives (and a boatload of cash) to first time home buyers right now but for some, buying their first home in a great town like Knightdale just isn’t in the cards. So while everyone is talking about buying, I thought I would offer this blog post as a resource for Knightdale renters who have not yet transitioned into home ownership. So often, the difference between a bad landlord / tenant relationship and a positive one is just a little bit of knowledge.
Knowledge? Yes. Legal Advice? No!
Before I get too far, I’ve got to lay down the typical legal disclaimer. So bear with me through this paragraph. After all, I’ve got to keep the real estate commission (and my real estate broker) happy. So without further ado: This blog post should NOT be construed as legal advice (in other words, No. I am not a lawyer) This information is provided “as is” and with everything you read on the internet, you should confirm and check the accuracy of information presented.
Can My Landlord Kick Me Out of My Knightdale Home / Apartment?
I don’t know how many times I’ve overheard landlords say “My tenant didn’t pay me so I changed the locks.” I shudder when I hear these words. Why? Because that’s actually illegal in North Carolina. That’s right, it’s called Peaceable Self Help Eviction. Basically it means that if you ,the tenant, breaches a lease in Knightdale, or any city in North Carolina, the landlord cannot force you out of the property. This includes changing the locks, turning off utilities, or taking your personal property.
But don’t think you can quit paying for that Knightdale apartment or home and live rent free. While Self Help Eviction is illegal, Actual Eviction (sometimes called Summary Ejectment) is within their legal right. This is basically the judicial form of eviction.
I’ll Pay My Rent When You Fix The Heat!
But what about when the shoe is on the other foot. Perhaps your Knightdale landlord isn’t living up to their end of the bargain. The best piece of advice I can give you is don’t stop paying your rent. Renters often feel that their bargaining chips are the rent check. That’s actually the furthest from the truth. Basically, it boils down to this. If you stay, you pay!
If I Can’t Hold The Rent Check Hostage What Can I Do?
Constructive Eviction is basically you throwing yourself out of the home or apartment because your landlord violated your right to “quiet enjoyment of the premises. In other words, The landlord breaches the lease and you leave voluntarily.
My (not legal) Advice
Personally, I feel the best action is knowledge. Armed with knowledge, try to have a conversation with your landlord but know everyone’s rights.
Responsibilities of a Landlord
They must provide a habitable condition, make repairs, comply with building codes, keep common areas safe, repair electrical, plumbing, heating, AC and appliances.
Responsibilities of a Tenant
You as a tenant must keep the leased property / premise safe and fit. You cannot deface or damage the premises. You must also comply with building codes and are responsible for damage of the property (except for normal wear and tear).
A Few Don’ts
- Don’t withhold payment in an effort to “force” your landlord to make a repair
- Don’t order repairs and bill the landlord.
- Don’t make repairs and then deduct the cost from your rent.
One Last Note: Security Deposits
If you do happen to make that transition from a Knightdale renter to a home owner. Getting your security deposit back is a nice extra bonus! A landlord can only use your security deposit for the following items
- Non-payment of Rent
- Damage (outside of normal wear and tear)
- Non-fulfillment of rental period
- Unpaid bills that become a lien against the least property
- Cost of re-renting (only after a breach by the tenant)
- Court cost
If they do happen to use your security deposit for any of the above items, they must provide you with an itemized statement of damages within 30 days of the termination of the tenancy.
For More Information
If you want to research more about your options as a renter in Knightdale, Check out the North Carolina Residential Rental Agreements Act. Or contact someone who can give you legal advice.