Tenant’s Rights: What is the Implied Warranty of Habitability?

Renting residential property can have great perks for a tenant. Typically, you’re not responsible for home maintenance and costs of repairs. If something happens, like an appliance stops working, the toilet backs up, or some other repair is needed, all you have to do is call your landlord. In fact, once a landlord has received notice of an “imminently dangerous condition”, the landlord is required to repair the condition within a reasonable time, based upon the severity of the condition. Imminently dangerous conditions include, but are not limited to: – unsafe wiring; – unsafe flooring or steps; – unsafe ceilings … Continue reading

The Doctrine of Necessaries – The True Meaning of “In Sickness and in Health”

On your wedding day, you and your spouse promised to care for each other “in sickness and in health.” Like most newlyweds, you probably didn’t truly understand what those words would mean. North Carolina recognizes the Doctrine of Necessaries, which provides that a spouse is liable for the other’s necessary expenses incurred during their marriage. This legal responsibility exists even when the spouse did not sign as a guarantor or request that their spouse receive the services. What constitutes a “necessary”? A “necessary” is something which is essential to one spouse’s health and comfort. Most often, this doctrine is applied … Continue reading

So You Have A Judgment…Now What?

Congratulations on successfully winning your case and obtaining a money judgment against the opposing party! But a money judgment alone is just a piece of paper and won’t necessarily result in money in your pocket, so what now? Most likely, the defendant/judgment debtor isn’t going to show up at your house with a check to satisfy the debt. How do you transform that piece of paper into actual money? If you have obtained a judgment in either District or Superior Court, your ability to do anything is often limited for thirty (30) days after the judgment is entered. One step … Continue reading

You’re Ready to File A Lawsuit … But Where Do You Begin?

Once you have decided you want or need to file a lawsuit, one of the most important decisions you must make is where to file your case.  This decision will have a significant impact on the type of relief you may be able to obtain (including how much money you may recover), who hears your case, the type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) required, and how quickly your case is likely to be resolved. In North Carolina, most civil cases are handled in one of three courts: Small Claims (a special part of District Court), District Court and Superior Court.  … Continue reading

Residential Evictions: Taking Back Your Leased Property . . .The Right Way [UPDATED]

[This blog replaces a previous post from September 2013, due to several changes to the North Carolina summary ejectment statutes effective October 1, 2013.]         You are a landlord and you enter into a residential lease agreement with a seemingly good tenant. Everything is going along fine until . . . the tenant stops paying rent, or the tenant fails to leave when the term of the lease expires, or the tenant breaches the lease agreement in some other way.  How do you get your property back and get the tenant out?  Can you simply change the locks?  NO! North Carolina has a very … Continue reading

Facebook: For Friendly Eyes Only?

Just how private is your Facebook account? Is limiting your privacy settings enough to keep your Facebook status updates, messages, pictures and other activity from the eyes of an opposing party in a civil or criminal case? You may be surprised to learn that the answer is likely “No.” When you activated your Facebook account, you may have adjusted your privacy settings to limit access to your content to only specific “friends.”  You may or may not have read the company’s disclosures regarding the content and use of your account information. Facebook takes the position that it is covered by … Continue reading