AANC strives to update members on issues that matter to them and to address the pressing problems and concerns of rental housing owners and professionals via a number of vehicles including this website, newsletters, reports, and bulletins. From construction to maintenance to evictions to utility rules to civil rights to land use, the AANC both advocates for, and reports on, issues that matter to the multi-family rental housing industry.
Settlement Agreement to Increase Housing Opportunities/Options for the N.C. Mentally-Disabled Population
A "Blue Ribbon Committee" made up of key members of the North Carolina Legislature and housing professionals convened during the last part of 2012, seeking to form public policy for renting to persons with mental disabilities. The State and its Department of Health and Human Services is addressing these concerns as efforts are made to move persons from adult care home settings to more independent living. The efforts to increase the numbers of mentally disabled persons living independently is being made pursuant to a settlement agreement between the State and the US Department of Justice. Some 3,000 persons with mental disabilities are targeted to be placed into market-rate housing with Tenant-Based Rental Assistance and supportive services over the next several years. See the AANC's remarks on this sensitive subject, below.
NC Public Health Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Update 2012
In June 2008, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a lead-based paint regulation to protect children when painted surfaces are disturbed. The regulation requires those who perform or offer to perform certain renovation, repair and painting activities in housing built before 1978, or child-occupied facilities built before 1978, to be certified and follow certain lead-safe work practices.
Since January 2010, the NC DHHS, Division of Public Health, Health Hazards Control Unit (HHCU) became responsible for administering and enforcing the North Carolina Lead-Based Paint Hazard Management Program for Renovation, Repair and Painting (NC LHMP-RRP) regulations. The NC state rules and regulations adopt the federal regulation mentioned above.
The attached update is being provided to give you current information about the NC LHMP-RRP and to assist you with complying with the regulations.
The update is for informational purposes only. To determine actual applicability, refer to the regulations.
For copies of the NC LHMP-RRP rules and more, go to our website at: http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/lead.htm
If you require additional information or assistance, contact the Health Hazards Control Unit at (919) 707-5950.
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FROM NORTH CAROLINA: WINNERS OF 2012 ELECTION. In large measure attributable to the redistricting process, the North Carolina election results mean that the Tar Heel State now has 9 Republican Congressmen out of 13 total, up from the prior total of 6. Learn more here
Evictions Fees Increased August 1, 2011
Filing fees for small claims actions in the State of NC did increase by TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS! The new costs will be $96 (instead of $71) and Sheriff's fees of $30 for service. That makes the new Court Costs for an eviction suit $126 for a single tenant and $156 for two tenants.
N.C. Legislature Ratifies Residential Building Inspections Bill; Goes to Governor for Signature
In a major victory for North Carolina rental housing providers, the Apartment Association of North Carolina-initiated Bill - Residential Building Inspections - was ratified by the N.C. Legislature on June 18th. Once signed by Governor Perdue, the bill became law immediately, and reins in advocacy-minded local units of government who have exceeded - or might want to exceed - their statutory limitations on housing inspections. The Bill:
- Requires units of government to have reasonable cause to believe that unsafe housing conditions exist in order to inspect private housing, via landlord history, reports, or actual knowledge by a unit of government. This provision allows resources to be used to focus on unsafe conditions, problem properties and irresponsible owners and landlords.
- Requires government housing inspection programs to be administered in a non-discriminatory way regarding housing type or ownership.
- Provides local governments the authority to make an exception to the reasonable cause test in order to conduct periodic inspections as part of a targeted effort to arrest blight within designated Community Development or similar zones.
- Prohibits local governments from requiring permits as a condition of operating rental housing - unless a property has more than 3 violations in a twelve month period, or falls within the top 10% of local crime or disorder problems.
- Prohibits local governments from levying rental registration fees unless a dwelling unit has more than 2 violations in a twelve month period, or falls within the top 10% of local crime or disorder problems.
Context: North Carolina cities have historically been concerned about housing conditions in their jurisdictions, especially in older, poorer neighborhoods, and have appropriately adopted ordinances calling for minimum housing quality codes. The administration of these codes are an important tool in helping North Carolina municipalities fight neighborhood decline while ensuring to housing consumers that minimal health, safety, and sanitation conditions are maintained in residential structures.
Unfortunately, some N.C. municipalities have substantially broadened these programs aimed at stemming blighted conditions and now apply them to all housing, or at least all rental housing, as part of mandatory inspection approaches. Sometimes these programs are tied into required permits and fees as a condition of operating rental property. Programs designed to systematically inspect all rental housing for the purpose of improving housing quality are bad public policy and waste needed resources that could be used to combat problematic housing.
Inspection programs in these environments amount to a "housing tax" with no public benefit. The core of current NC law gives units of government the authority to respond to housing conditions that are unsafe, dangerous, and unfit for human habitation. The new law ensures that units of government don't exceed their authority.
Landlord/Tenant Bedbug Liability Bill passes N.C. House; eligible for Senate consideration in 2012.
The AANC-initiated bill (H721) passed the N.C. House on June 9th. The Bill would amend North Carolina Landlord-Tenant Law by providing clear housing provider (Landlord) and housing consumer (Tenant) duties regarding bedbugs in dwelling units. Current language:
- The Landlord would have to: not knowingly offer a dwelling that has bedbugs; consider a pre-leasing inspection and, if no bedbug evidence is found, be granted as complying with the statute; if no pre-leasing inspection is performed, grant the new Tenant 60 days to report bedbug evidence, with Landlord having subsequent duty to have the bedbugs exterminated; also if a notice of bedbugs is received from a Tenant in this 60-day window, the Landlord must inspect and treat neighboring units as appropriate.
- The Tenant would have to: not knowingly or recklessly introduce bedbugs; notify the Landlord within 5 days of suspecting bedbugs; be responsible for bedbug extermination if the Landlord obtained a pre-leasing inspection OR if at least 60 days have passed since taking possession; if so, contract and have the dwelling unit treated within 7 days. Tenant's failure could mean: Landlord contracts for treatment and sends a bill to the Tenant; Tenant's tenancy is terminated; and/or Tenant is sued for damages.
Landlord/Tenant Law Changes sails through N.C. House; eligible for 2012 Legislature Short Session
Another AANC initiated bill (H493) would amend the N.C. General Statutes for Landlord Tenant (Chapter 42) by addressing 7 field challenges that have materialized in recent years, from loopholes in eviction appeals to abandoned tenant personal property to partial rent payments to uses of the Tenant Security Deposit. Current language:
House Bill 493 Landlord/Tenant Law Changes
Landlord-Tenant relationships in North Carolina are governed by Chapter 42 of the N.C. General Statutes. At the core of Chapter 42 are defined, reasonable relationships and duties for both housing providers and housing consumers, as set forth by the N.C. General Assembly down through the years. The laws that govern these relationships are necessarily the General Assembly's best effort at balancing the interests of housing providers and housing consumers. A number of Landlord-Tenant Law challenges have materialized in the field in recent years and changes are needed to the law. Below we illustrate the problems and the changes that will help to refine current North Carolina law:
Section 1 Problem:Loophole during appeals process allows tenant not to pay their agreed-upon rent.
SOLUTION: Modifies the Eviction Appeal Statute so that the appealing party has a duty to make timely rental payments during the appeal.
Section 2 Problem: Eviction process can take 30-40 days and the longer the process, the longer it takes for the landlord to re-rent the unit. The costs of these delays are rarely recovered from the tenant and contribute to the high cost of rental housing. Tenants have 10 days after the Sheriff serves the writ of eviction to collect their belongings. Normally they are gone after the hearing but leave trash or unwanted items. Under the current law, the landlord must not remove (or store if removed) those items for 10 days unless they are worth less than $100.
SOLUTION: Increases the value of the property that may be donated to a non-profit to $750 and property considered abandoned up to $500 to allow landlords access to the rental unit when property has been abandoned by the tenant.
Section 3 Problem: When landlords accept partial payments for rent or subsidies, they are not able to proceed with the eviction, even when the tenant has not paid the contractual amount in full.
SOLUTION: Makes it clear that partial (less than full) payment of rent may still be the basis for proceeding with an Eviction.
Section 4 Problem: Permitted uses of a tenant security deposit are limited by law and are not clear.
SOLUTION: Allows the N.C. Security Deposit Law to be modified to allow unpaid Late Fees, damage to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and costs of re-renting the premises to be taken out of the security deposit.
Sections 5-6 Problem: Currently landlords cannot charge separate cleaning fees for vacation rentals and the amount gets wrapped up in the rent.
SOLUTION: Allow vacation rental landlords to separate their cleaning costs and provide clearly to the consumer what they are being charged.
Section 7 Problem: When a resident/tenant dies, there is a long delay to retain possession of the leased property and very little direction in allowing family members to receive the personal property.
SOLUTION: Requires the General Statutes Commission to study and recommend legislation to provide for the orderly and expeditious removal by a landlord of the personal property of the deceased tenant.
NC UTILITIES COMMISSION NEWS
David Drooz, an attorney with the North Carolina Utilities Commission - Public Staff, has issued an important and timely Advice Letter for N.C. Apartment Owners. It was written to provide guidance for apartment owners on how to avoid violation of utility law in North Carolina and is attached. We encourage you to disseminate this Advice Letter widely to your members throughout the state for the purpose of member education. Click here to view this letter.