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Old 11-03-2008, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Southeast US
1,461 posts, read 4,949,052 times
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You still have one working bathroom, correct? So, why not just use that one. When I was living in an apartment, bathroom issues were considered an emergency if you only had one bath.
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:58 PM
 
3,494 posts, read 5,865,809 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJingle View Post
You still have one working bathroom, correct? So, why not just use that one. When I was living in an apartment, bathroom issues were considered an emergency if you only had one bath.
I couldn't disagree more. What the OP described is a smelly mess. Nobody should have to put up with that for very long.
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Southeast US
1,461 posts, read 4,949,052 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skaternum View Post
I couldn't disagree more. What the OP described is a smelly mess. Nobody should have to put up with that for very long.
If there have been attempts at being repaired, I assumed that the original "mess" was gone. I was making the assumption that continuing to use the facilities that aren't working 100% are creating the further mess. I apologize to the OP if I assumed incorrectly.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:11 PM
 
56 posts, read 142,719 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ut04257 View Post
I am renting an apartment in the Brier Creek area that is managed by a property management company on behalf of the out of state owner for the past year and a half and this past month ran into a problem paying my rent. I received a notice that I had to appear in court in a week to resolve. I understand that that is standard procedure. I called the office to report a plumbing problem with my bathroom (this is the 5th time in about 2 months. They replaced a part on it a couple of weeks prior and it did not fix the problem) and during the course of the conversation I told the representative that I would pay the rent before we had to court. I live in a 2 BR 2BA apt that the master bathroom toilet will not flush properly. I have to keep the door closed with the fan running to keep the smell down. While I understand I am in default, what is the law regarding making sure that I have a working toilet? I called and left 2 messages with no response and when I called and finally got a live person to request a maintenance person be sent. I was told "yes we have a work order, when are you going to pay your rent?"
Mike did you give you a correct answer and you should call Raleigh housing.
First, pay the rent. If you do not, your landlord can take actions to evict (10 days within a demand letter for non-payment). Though the landlord has a duty to maintain the place in a habitable condition (warranty of habitability), that goes more to serious conditions such as drinkable water, heat, sanitary conditions, etc... May I suggest the following: (copied for convenience)
(Make sure to write your landlord and keep all copies).

  1. Repair and Deduct for the problem may be a good solution for you if:
    • you don't want to move;
    • your problem is something specific that a repair-person can fix; and
    • the cost of the repairs will be less than what you pay for your monthly rent.
  2. Before you can get the problem repaired, your first step is to write to your landlord, tell him about your problem(s), and ask him to fix it. Do not skip this step -- you must tell him in writing, even if you've already told him before about the problem.
  3. Be detailed about the problem-- explain how it affects your family's home, health, safety, cleanliness, etc. If you can, also take pictures of the problem.
  4. Always keep copies of all your letters.
  5. Next, give your landlord a reasonable time to do the repairs.
  6. If he doesn't fix it, you need to write to him again. Tell him that because he has not fixed your problem, that you plan to get the problem fixed yourself, and to subtract the cost from your rent, if he does not repair it immediately.
  7. If the landlord doesn't do anything within a day or two, call around and get about three written estimates of how much the repairs will cost. Choose the most reasonably priced company. Remember. You cannot spend more than your monthly rent.
  8. Get the repairs done. Get a receipt. Then, when it is time to pay rent, write to your landlord again, telling him that you got the repairs done, and how much money you spent. Give him a copy of your receipt, and copies of the other estimates you had gotten, so he can see you spent a fair amount. Subtract the amount you paid for repairs from your usual rent amount, and only pay your landlord the difference.
  9. Important: only spend the money on the repairs, not on anything else. The next month, you must go back to paying your usual rent amount.
  10. Before you get the repairs done, make sure that other people have seen the problem and its effects, so that if you ever need to go to court, you'll have proof that the problem was serious. In addition, if you can get the repair-people to describe the problems in their written estimates or receipts, that could be helpful.
These are general guidelines. Without question, pay the rent first. Only then can you take action. Most landlords are willing to work with tenants who are decent, pay the rent on time, and work with them. If all else fails, you'll need to contact your attorney. Most all issues regarding landlord-tenant laws are under section 42 of the NC General Statutes.

Good luck!
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:17 PM
 
741 posts, read 3,421,177 times
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1 month late and they're already taking you to court? Geesh. Don't you get a grace period? And after 1 month late they don't renew your lease? Huumm, And then you have all those people who haven't paid their mortgage for a year and they're still living in they're home. No help for the renter? Pay or get out, no if's and's or butt's about it huh? I know people in NJ who haven't paid they're mortgage in a year and they are still there. I'm sure they'll be getting out soon, but even though their credit was destroyed they still had all that time to save money to go somewhere else. Is it a state thing? Eviction in 1 month?
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
41,312 posts, read 71,682,929 times
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Kenneth,
I don't see in this document any indication that a tenant can unilaterally withhold ANY portion of rent without written agreement from the Landlord.
And this document seems to indicate also that rent must be paid in full, or the tenant has breached.

What am I missing?
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Old 11-04-2008, 06:21 AM
 
850 posts, read 4,587,219 times
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I've been in the apartment industry for 7 years.....the advice a PP poster gave you is false. You CAN'T withhold any portion of your rent for repairs. I've been to court many a times and never had a judge like to see that one!

Secondly, yes, they can evict you after you miss your payment. In NC, the grace period is typically 5 days. Eviction can be, and typically is, filed on the 11th day. The eviction process in NC takes about 60 days, so the longer a landlord waits to file, the more rent they are out. Most landlords just file as a formality to get the process going, but will accept your rent and drop the case if you're able to pay. Do you know exactly how much you need to pay for them to drop the case? It probably won't just be your rent. I'm sure it will include late fees, court costs, attorney's fees, and your November's rent as well.

As far as the toilet goes, since you do have one working toilet, this isn't considered an immediate maintenance need, but it should be taken care of nonetheless. I suggest calling and getting an update from the maintenance supervisor. Perhaps they know what the problem is, but they're waiting on a part or something. Who knows. But he'll be able to tell you and let you know when you can expect it be fixed.

For what it's worth, I know which community you live in and I say move when your lease is up. I've seen many tenants get screwed there because their owner defaults on the mortgage, the apartment gets foreclosed, and the tenant is forced to quickly move out, even having paid the rent the entire time. Find yourself a "normal" apartment community with a single owner and professional management company. Althought your recent eviction filing will be challenging because it will now show up on your credit, dropped or not. But hopefully you can find some company who will understand and be willing to take you.

Good luck!
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Old 11-04-2008, 08:53 AM
 
56 posts, read 142,719 times
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As I mentioned to the original poster, PAY your rent first. Nothing can be done if that isn't done.
After that, in general, you cannot withhold rent in order for your landlord to fix a problem such as this. If it were a question of habitability, you could /should and then take your landlord to court (ie... no heat ever). A landlord owes a duty of habitability to a tenant. When that is breached, the best way for a tenant to act is to continue to pay rent, document the problem, and file suit.You must give your landlord written notice of the problem and give them a reasonable opportunity to fix it. A landlord cannot self-evict and must go through the courts. That takes time and hopefully the issue can be resolved amicably.
What I said was for the poster to try all means to resolve the problem with the landlord (after paying his rent), and if after written notice, etc.... the landlord still refuses to fix the issue, the tenant can have it fixed themselves and deduct it from the rent. The landlord may take issue and even want to file for non-payment of rent, but this would end up in court and be heard by the judge, who would then find out the problem/nature of the issue (which the tenant has documented and given written notice), and issue a verdict. But the landlord cannot self-evict. This is not a simple unilateral non-payment of rent, it is a formal procedure of one way a tenant can address a problem which a landlord refuses to fix.
You CAN withhold a portion of rent for repairs, IF, written notice is given and the landlord is given fair and reasonable opportunity to fix the problem.
I have been through dozens of cases like this with landlords (slumlords) who take advantage of decent tenants. But understand, it is not simply a tenant saying I'm not paying rent because you aren't fixing my toilet, it is a formal procedure the tenant must follow if they are to recover out-of-pocket expenses for a problem the landlord is responsible for and refuses to fix.
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Old 11-04-2008, 01:09 PM
 
516 posts, read 1,830,048 times
Reputation: 272
Quote:
Originally Posted by Babytarheelz View Post
I've been in the apartment industry for 7 years.....the advice a PP poster gave you is false. You CAN'T withhold any portion of your rent for repairs. I've been to court many a times and never had a judge like to see that one!
I'm from California, where you can deduct repairs from your rent. You have to give a reasonable time for the landlord to actually make the repairs - but if he doesn't, you can pay for the repairs yourself and deduct it from the rent.

You can't WITHHOLD rent, but you can deduct the cost of repairs from the rent you pay, if the landlord doesn't take care of it.

In the interest of clarity, then:

In North Carolina, if the landlord doesn't make repairs in a reasonable time, can you pay for the repairs and deduct that from your rent?

And if not, what remedy DOES a tenant have when a landlord doesn't take care of such matters?
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Old 11-04-2008, 01:20 PM
 
850 posts, read 4,587,219 times
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I've studied a great deal of landlord/tenant law, both in NC and other states, and NC has laws that differ greatly from other states. As far as this issue is concerned, as I said before, you CAN'T withhold rent or deduct the cost of repairs from your rent. There are two exceptions. One is if you and the landlord agree to it in writing, and the other if a judge orders it.

In this situation, if a landlord doesn't attempt to make repairs in a reasonable time, the tenant's recourse would be a constructive eviction, whereby the tenant can terminate their agreement because the landlord can't take care of their problem. This is also tricky and you must really dot your i's and cross your t's. You must have all of your requests for repairs in writing, and you must give management a reasonable opportunity to fix the problem. Really where this works is if you have a problem that management is ignoring or a problem that is just beyond their control. I've had residents have to ask for a constructive eviction for insect infestation, noise complaints affecting their quiet enjoyment, construction issues (foundational), among others. Whether or not you have grounds for such a claim is really dependent on your documentation.

Here's a great summary of landlord/tenant law in NC (http://www.ncdoj.com/DocumentStreamerClient?directory=CPTipAlert/&file=Landlord-tenant%20booklet.pdf - broken link) Section Eleven addresses this particular issue.

Last edited by Babytarheelz; 11-04-2008 at 01:21 PM.. Reason: spelling
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