North Carolina Landlord
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What the Landlord Is Required To Do 

Maintain Facilities: The landlord is required to 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. But the landlord need not perform this duty unless the tenant first advises the landlord of needed repairs in writing. The tenant may wish inform the landlord of the problem immediately over the telephone or in person and then follow up by notifying the landlord in writing. The tenant should always keep a copy of all written communication between herself and the landlord.

In the event of an emergency, such as when the heat fails during the winter, prior written notification is not required. The landlord must tend to emergency repairs as he becomes aware of the problem, regardless of whether the tenant has given written notification. And if the tenant repairs an emergency problem, the landlord must reimburse the tenant, regardless of prior notice.

The tenant can agree to perform some or all of the landlord's maintenance duties, but the parties must make an agreement separate from the lease and the tenant must be compensated.

Comply with Building Codes: The landlord must maintain the residence in compliance with the local building and housing codes. Most towns and cities in North Carolina have enacted housing, fire, and health codes. But the requirements of these codes vary depending on the city or town. Housing codes often require functional heating and plumbing, locks on windows and doors, and weather-tight walls, windows and doors. Also, the code may require the landlord to rid the premises of infestations, and to repair holes or cracks in walls. Local fire codes govern heating and electrical systems. And the health code deals with sewage disposal and well water systems.

If, after the tenant advises the landlord of a violation of these codes, the landlord does not take action, the tenant may wish to report the problem to a local building, fire, or health inspector. These inspectors have independent authority to force compliance with the codes, and may take prompt action when a violation creates a risk to the safety of the tenant. The landlord must comply with these local codes regardless of whether the tenant has given the landlord prior written notice of a particular problem.

Keep Common Areas Safe: The landlord is required to maintain all common areas in a safe condition, regardless of whether a tenant has given the landlord notice of an unsafe condition. Common areas include hallways, parking lots, play areas, laundry rooms, and sewage or plumbing systems serving more than one rental unit open to more than one rental unit.

Keep Premises in Safe and Habitable Condition: If the landlord complies with his other duties, he most likely will be in compliance with this requirement as well. But this general, catch-all requirement ensures that the landlord cannot rent an unsafe or uninhabitable residence due to some loophole in the specific requirements of the local codes and state laws.

b The landlord must provide operable smoke detectors that have been approved by a national testing laboratory and that have been installed properly. The landlord must replace or repair the smoke detectors provided that the tenant has notified the landlord in writing of needed replacement or repairs. The landlord must place new batteries in a battery-operated smoke detector at the beginning of the lease term, unless the lease provides otherwise.

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