Landlord Issues in North Carolina

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Latest post Sat, Feb 26 2011 7:48 PM by adjuster jack. 7 replies.
  • Sat, Feb 26 2011 3:14 PM

    • Lare
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Sat, Feb 12 2011
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    Landlord Issues in North Carolina

    In October I moved and strating around December I began having issues with my landlord.When I decided to move here I let the Landlord know my son would probably be moving in with me. At the time I found the place it was up in the air if he would be moving with me. As it turned out he did. The Landlord said she had no problems with him moving in.

    My son is 21 years old and does have an active social life. He has visitors that come to the house. Some stop during the day and some at night. The Landlord has never once complainted about the noise levels, as they are always quiet when coming up to the house and when inside the house. Her complaint is in the evenings a car door shutting or lights from a car are causing others to complain. She says there are mostly elderly people that live here and its they dont like the noise a car door creates. 

    In the past month its gotten a lot worse.To the point of harassment...

    Thursday I was working at home and she came to my house. My son's friend was sitting on our front step waiting for his ride. The Landlord drove up, got out of her car and started playing 21 questions with him. She rang my doorbell and as soon as I opened the door she started going on about how this boy was sitting on my step. I said yes, he is waiting for his ride. She starts up that she wants a safe neighborhood and people are not allowed outside like this. Then she said I have tenants that are now telling me things are missing from off thir porches. Of course this upset me highly. I've never been a thief, my son, nor his friends. We dont walk through the neighborhood or anything like that. 

    This past week she has come to my door 3 times already and today she arrived to let me know I am no longer allowed to have any guests at my house as it upsets my neighbors. Mind you these are good kids and never are loud or cause any type of trouble.She also told me taht because when I signed the lease I didnt put my son's name he must leave. She verbally agreed and has let him be here 5 months now...

    I'm so stressed out and I cant afford to hire an attorney over this. I'm really not sure what to do. I cant afford to just go out tomorrow and get another place, but I also am very upset she has targeted me and my family. We are very quiet and just because we have guests doesnt mean we are bad people. I'm not talking about a revoling door of guests, but my son does have a few a day. She says this neighborhood is mostly older people and she can no longer put up with this.

    How far can a Landlord like this go? Since October I've probbaly had to deal with her at least 10 times and each times she gets more demanding. This is turning into harassment and anytime I say a word back to her she yells about being offended I would question her. I am very polite and never once cursed, raised my voice or acted in a disrespectful manner even though her actions are way out there. 

  • Sat, Feb 26 2011 4:10 PM In reply to

    Re: Landlord Issues in North Carolina

    Lare:
    How far can a Landlord like this go?

    Not as far as your landlady is going.

    As long as nothing illegal is going on or there is no excessive noise past, say, 10 PM, I'd say that your son and his guest are engaging in normal activities that nobody should have any complaints about.

    I urge you to carefully and thoroughly study the NC landlord tenant statute and start putting your landlady on written notice documenting each and every objectionable affront and that she is to cease and desist the harassment. If you have to write her a letter a week, do it. If she doesn't stop after a few letters, it would be worth your while to have an attorney write a scary looking letter. Shouldn't cost much.

    Here's the LT statute:

    http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/Statutes/StatutesTOC.pl?Chapter=0042

    I would quote any applicable statute provisions in any letter.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Sat, Feb 26 2011 4:16 PM In reply to

    • Lare
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Sat, Feb 12 2011
    • NC
    • Posts 8

    Re: Landlord Issues in North Carolina

    What about my son being here? She said because his name is not on the lease technically she can tell him to leave. For 5 months now him being here has not been an issue. I told her the day I took the place he may come with me and she said that was fine and he didnt have to be on the lease because he is my son. Can she make me kick him out?

  • Sat, Feb 26 2011 4:45 PM In reply to

    Re: Landlord Issues in North Carolina

    Lare:

    What about my son being here? She said because his name is not on the lease technically she can tell him to leave. For 5 months now him being here has not been an issue. I told her the day I took the place he may come with me and she said that was fine and he didnt have to be on the lease because he is my son. Can she make me kick him out?

    Depends on the specific terms and conditions of the lease.

    A family member generally does not have to be listed on the lease to be able to reside in the signer's dwelling.

    However, you could have a problem if your lease has a provision similar to number 4 in the following sample:

    http://www.alspaughproperties.com/documents/residentiallease-NC.pdf

    Does it?

    What you "told her" and what she "told you" is meaningless and unenforceable.

     

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Sat, Feb 26 2011 6:02 PM In reply to

    • Lare
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Sat, Feb 12 2011
    • NC
    • Posts 8

    Re: Landlord Issues in North Carolina

    Only thing it says is this...

    Tenant will not sub-rent, sub-lease or allow any other person to share apartment other than tenant and persons listed on lease as Permanant Resident. 

    The Landlord reserves the right to eject objectionable tenants. The Landlors is to be sole judge. 

    My son is not listed as a Permanant Resident because she told me because he was immediate family he didnt have to be. 

  • Sat, Feb 26 2011 6:54 PM In reply to

    • Lare
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Sat, Feb 12 2011
    • NC
    • Posts 8

    Re: Landlord Issues in North Carolina

    I have searched all over the net and cant find a clear definition for the term "Tenant" in North Carolina. North Carolina laws seems so vague...or maybe its I'm not understanding when reading.

     

  • Sat, Feb 26 2011 7:48 PM In reply to

    Re: Landlord Issues in North Carolina

    Lare:

    Only thing it says is this...

    Tenant will not sub-rent, sub-lease or allow any other person to share apartment other than tenant and persons listed on lease as Permanant Resident. 

    The Landlord reserves the right to eject objectionable tenants. The Landlors is to be sole judge. 

    Then you could have a problem. Yours is the only name on the lease. The lease expressly prohibits any other occupant.

    Lare:

    My son is not listed as a Permanant Resident because she told me because he was immediate family he didnt have to be. 

    Rocktosh:

    adjuster jack:

    What you "told her" and what she "told you" is meaningless and unenforceable.

    Is it really? Couldn't what the landlord said be a verbal contract? I understand that it may be hard to prove that she said it if she denies it but that doesn't mean that verbal promises are unenforceable just because they are verbal. Or?

     

    It's an important question and worthy of discussion. And it illustrates how complicated contract law can be.

    There is a doctrine in contract law called the Parol Evidence Rule. It prevents a party to a written contract from presenting extrinsic evidence that contradicts or adds to the written terms of the contract that appears to be whole. The supporting rationale is that since the contracting parties have reduced their agreement to a single and final writing, the extrinsic evidence of past agreements or terms should not be considered when interpreting that writing, as the parties had decided to ultimately leave them out of the contract.

    Where things become complicated is that there are two other doctrines that might have a contradictory effect.

    One is Detrimental Reliance. If the tenant relied on the landlady's assurance that the son was no problem and such reliance caused detriment to the tenant, the tenant might prevail. However, it is unclear whether the conversation occurred prior to signing the lease or after move-in, or exactly when the son moved in, or whether there would even be a detriment to the tenant if the son has to move out and get his own place. Clearly the son is an adult and was not a party to the contract and it is not his detriment that is an issue.

    The other is Waiver and Estoppel. When a party fails to enforce the terms of a contract when the right to do so accrues, that party may have waived the right to enforce it later and be barred from doing so. There are lease provisions that eliminate the possibility of that kind of waiver and, at the moment, we don't know if the lease does that.

    Rocktosh:
    If it was me I'd check on your state's definition of a tenant and if your son could be considered a tenant under that law

    Lare:

    I have searched all over the net and cant find a clear definition for the term "Tenant" in North Carolina. North Carolina laws seems so vague...or maybe its I'm not understanding when reading.

    When there is no statutory definition of a word, the next place to look is in the contract. If there is no clear definition of a word in the contract, the next place to look is case law. When there is no definition in case law, the courts will either use the dictionary definition or create a definition that sets a precedent.

    Let's see where we end up with that.

    There does not appear to be a definition of the word "tenant" in the NC landlord tenant statute.

    There does appear to be a definition of tenant in the contract. My own opinion is that it's a clear and unambiguous definition. The tenant is the person that signed the lease and no other (according to the quoted prevision).

    But for the sake of argument, let's follow that further and look for some case law. Well, I googled and couldn't find one specific to NC but I did find a reference to a Law Review article entitled:

    • Who is a Tenant? The Correct Definition of the Status in North Carolina, 21 N.C. Cent. L.J. 79 (1995)

    This can probably be found in a law library if you want to do some legal research.

    But if nothing helpful turns up there, the default is the dictionary definition:

    • Tenant: A person who has been given the right to use and occupy rental property owned by another person, usually through a lease or rental agreement. The tenant's right to exclusive enjoyment of the property is typically granted in exchange for an agreed-upon amount of money, and is limited to a fixed time period (usually set forth in the lease).

    That definition does not controvert the definition in the lease.

    Rocktosh:
    tell the landlord that she has to take him to court to evict him if she wants him to move.

    That's certainly an option. But I cannot comment on whether it's a good or bad option.

    Rocktosh:
    I really don't believe that she can just turn around and kick him out after five months of living there.

    That's the Waiver and Estoppel thing again and might be a defense against eviction. Then again, might not.

    Rocktosh:
    Even if you wanted him out yourself you may have a problem with it if he is legally a tenant. A person does not necessarily have to be on a lease or pay rent in order to be considered a tenant. Check your state law to make sure though.

    That has brought us back to the probability that the lease defined who the tenant was. Unfortunately, there's no way to predict whether or not the landlady would be successful in evicting the son (or both for the unlisted occupant).

    One last thing.

    "The Landlord reserves the right to eject objectionable tenants. The Landlord is to be sole judge."

    That provision seems to render moot any of the other arguments. Apparently after 5 months, the landlady has found the son objectionable and the tenant expressly allowed the landlady to be the sold judge of the objectionability. That allows the landlady to evict the son based on her own subjective opinion regardless of whether or not anybody agrees with her opinion.

    The tenant presumably read and understood that provision before signing it.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
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