How to Report a Landlord in North Carolina for Unsafe Living Conditions
June 9, 2023
When a renter in North Carolina can’t obtain necessary repairs, before beginning a court case it’s usually possible to file a report with the proper government departments about the unsafe conditions on the property. Code inspectors have the power to order repairs or fine noncompliant landlords.
What Are Considered Unsafe Living Conditions in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, unsafe living conditions exist when a rental property doesn’t have safe and working:
Plumbing and sanitary facilities.
Properly closing and locking outside doors and ground-level windows.
Flooring, steps, ceilings, roofs, chimneys, and flues.
Required smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
Features that affect health, safety, or habitability.
After receiving a complaint, an inspecting officer might contact the tenant for more information. Then the officer will usually inspect the property and cite the landlord for any code violations.
How Can a Tenant Report a Health or Safety Violation in Charlotte?
A tenant in Charlotte can report a health or safety violation by calling Code Enforcement at (704) 336-7600 or using the providedonline form. Enter a location, detail the issue, provide contact information as requested, and submit.
How Can a Tenant Report a Health or Safety Violation in Raleigh?
A tenant in Raleigh can report a health or safety violation by calling the Code Enforcement Division at (919) 996-2444 or using the providedonline form. Most issues will fall under “Housing Violations”’ (whether exterior or interior). Describe the issue, enter a location, answer the questions regarding followup, and submit.
How Can a Tenant Report a Health or Safety Violation in Greensboro?
A tenant in Greensboro can report a health or safety violation by calling Code Compliance at (336) 373-2111 or using the providedonline form. Enter contact information and location, select a violation type (most issues will fall under “Housing Code Violations”), describe the issue, attach photos if available, and submit.
What Could Happen to a Landlord After a Complaint Is Made in North Carolina?
After a tenant files a complaint about unsafe living conditions in North Carolina, an officer may inspect the property. The landlord must fix noted code violations. Otherwise, the landlord could be fined and the local government might file to condemn the property.
“The landlord shall… Within a reasonable period of time based upon the severity of the condition, repair or remedy any imminently dangerous condition on the premises after acquiring actual knowledge or receiving notice of the condition. Notwithstanding the landlord’s repair or remedy of any imminently dangerous condition, the landlord may recover from the tenant the actual and reasonable costs of repairs that are the fault of the tenant.”
“The landlord shall: (1) Comply with the current applicable building and housing codes, whether enacted before or after October 1, 1977, to the extent required by the operation of such codes; no new requirement is imposed by this subdivision (a)(1) if a structure is exempt from a current building code. (1a) Comply with all applicable elevator safety requirements in G.S. 143-143.7. (2) Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition. (3) Keep all common areas of the premises in safe condition. (4) Maintain in good and safe working order and promptly repair all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and other facilities and appliances supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord provided that notification of needed repairs is made to the landlord in writing by the tenant, except in emergency situations.”
“For purposes of this subdivision, the term ‘imminently dangerous condition’ means any of the following: a. Unsafe wiring. b. Unsafe flooring or steps. c. Unsafe ceilings or roofs. d. Unsafe chimneys or flues. e. Lack of potable water. f. Lack of operable locks on all doors leading to the outside. g. Broken windows or lack of operable locks on all windows on the ground level. h. Lack of operable heating facilities capable of heating living areas to 65 degrees Fahrenheit when it is 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside from November 1 through March 31. i. Lack of an operable toilet. j. Lack of an operable bathtub or shower. k. Rat infestation as a result of defects in the structure that make the premises not impervious to rodents. l. Excessive standing water, sewage, or flooding problems caused by plumbing leaks or inadequate drainage that contribute to mosquito infestation or mold.”
“The landlord shall… Provide operable smoke alarms, either battery-operated or electrical, having an Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc., listing or other equivalent national testing laboratory approval, and install the smoke alarms in accordance with either the standards of the National Fire Protection Association or the minimum protection designated in the manufacturer’s instructions, which the landlord shall retain or provide as proof of compliance. The landlord shall replace or repair the smoke alarms within 15 days of receipt of notification if the landlord is notified of needed replacement or repairs in writing by the tenant. The landlord shall ensure that a smoke alarm is operable and in good repair at the beginning of each tenancy. Unless the landlord and the tenant have a written agreement to the contrary, the landlord shall place new batteries in a battery-operated smoke alarm at the beginning of a tenancy and the tenant shall replace the batteries as needed during the tenancy, except where the smoke alarm is a tamper-resistant, 10-year lithium battery smoke alarm as required by subdivision (5a) of this subsection. Failure of the tenant to replace the batteries as needed shall not be considered as negligence on the part of the tenant or the landlord
“The landlord shall… Provide a minimum of one operable carbon monoxide alarm per rental unit per level, either battery-operated or electrical, that is listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory… and install the carbon monoxide alarms in accordance with either the standards of the National Fire Protection Association or the minimum protection designated in the manufacturer’s instructions, which the landlord shall retain or provide as proof of compliance. A landlord that installs one carbon monoxide alarm per rental unit per level shall be deemed to be in compliance with standards under this subdivision covering the location and number of alarms. The landlord shall replace or repair the carbon monoxide alarms within 15 days of receipt of notification if the landlord is notified of needed replacement or repairs in writing by the tenant. The landlord shall ensure that a carbon monoxide alarm is operable and in good repair at the beginning of each tenancy. Unless the landlord and the tenant have a written agreement to the contrary, the landlord shall place new batteries in a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm at the beginning of a tenancy, and the tenant shall replace the batteries as needed during the tenancy. Failure of the tenant to replace the batteries as needed shall not be considered as negligence on the part of the tenant or the landlord…”