Have a copy of your lease. Your landlord must provide you with a copy of your lease. Your lease establishes most obligations of the parties, even if you become a month-to-month tenant.
Always communicate with your landlord or property manager in writing. If a dispute arises a paper trail is always a good thing. Many leases will require requests for repairs to be in writing.
Pay your rent with a check, money order or through an electronic portal. Always keep proof that you paid rent. Only pay in cash if you receive a receipt as proof of payment.
Always make requests for repairs in writing, and if possible, by first-class mail with a Return Receipt requested. (Keep the Return Receipt!)
Make a request for repairs as soon as the problem arises and document the request.
Call your local code enforcement agency (for Charlotte, NC dial 311) if problems with repairs persist after you have made a request for repairs. Code enforcement will inspect the premises and issue violations after which the landlord will have a certain period of time to correct the violations.
For serious issues that impact your health and safety, call code enforcement immediately.
Take pictures of the dwelling when you first move in and before you move out. Take pictures of any housing code violations that arise During your tenancy.
Keep track of any and all fees that you are charged besides rent and/or utilities, including and especially, late fees/eviction filing fees. Many landlords charge tenants eviction filing fees and other fees that are either unlawful (the fees have no basis in the lease agreement or no eviction has actually been filed) or excessive (the fees violate NC public policy).
If you have questions, call (or text) the Queen City Community Law Firm!
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