How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Alice Wright Your Own Question

Alice Wright
Alice Wright, Research Expert
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 635
Experience:  11 Years Research Experience
2682712
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Alice Wright is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I signed a lease with the apartment complex and the lease ...

Resolved Question:

I signed a lease with the apartment complex and the lease stated limit 2 dog not weighing over 100lbs when full grown (I originally had 1 golden retriever and got a 2nd total right now 90lbs one is full grown the other 6 months). I also have a copy of resident handbook from same complex that does not state when full grown. They asked us to move out, which we are doing - and they are no longer holding us responsible for terminating a lease but making us responsible for 2 months notice even though they are the ones asking us to leave. Do I honestly have a possible case to fight with since I have their hand book that has their policy stated differently and the fact that they told me 3 months ago that I needed to find a new place to live?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Alice Wright replied 6 years ago.
Customer

Why even bother if it did not cost you any money (if that is what you mean).

As in alll states, North Carolina does not permit landlords to use "self-help" eviction. That is, a landlord cannot change the locks or otherwise impede the tenant's ability to enter the premises (except in order to maintain or repair the premises), even if the tenant fails to pay the rent.

In order to evict the tenant, the landlord must obtain a court order through a process called "summary ejectment". (N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 42-26 to 36.2)

The landlord cannot evict a tenant in retaliation for certain protected actions. These protected actions include:
(1) Complaints made to the landlord, his employee, or his agent about conditions or defects in the premises that the landlord is obligated to repair; (2) complaints to a government agency about a landlord's alleged violation of any health or safety laws;
(3) attempts to exercise rights described in the lease in state or federal law; and
(4) attempts to become involved with any tenants' rights groups. If the tenant has undertaken any of these actions in good faith and in the six months before the eviction proceeding, the tenant should bring this to the court's attention. (N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 42-36.1 to 36.3)

If a landlord wants to evict a tenant who will not leave voluntarily, then he must file a Magistrate's Summons and Complaint in Summary Ejectment in Small Claims (Magistrate's) Court. The tenant must be served with the Summons and Complaint by the Sheriff's Office, either personally or by posting. The Summons will state the date, time, and place for the court hearing. Small Claims Court hearings are informal, but both parties may have an attorney, present evidence, and subpoena witnesses.

The tenant may have defenses to the eviction action depending upon which basis for eviction the landlord sets out in the Complaint. The tenant may also file written counterclaims against the landlord. Examples of such counterclaims include: 1) a rent abatement for the landlord's failure to make repairs for which he was responsible, after having been properly notified by the tenant; and 2) money damages if the landlord attempted to evict the tenant illegally and damaged him in some way.

Either party has ten days in which to appeal the magistrate's decision to District Court for a new trial. During this ten-day appeal period, the landlord cannot make the tenant move. If the tenant properly appeals the judgment to District Court and pays the rent when due to the Clerk of Superior Court, then he can retain possession of the premises. The tenant may also be required to pay any undisputed past-due rent to the Clerk of Court, unless he files the appeal as an indigent.

If the eviction is based upon nonpayment of rent and the judgment is entered more than five working days before the day when the next rent payment is due under the lease, then the tenant must also pay the pro-rated rent for that time period to stay execution of the magistrate's judgment for possession pending trial.

If the tenant does not appeal the magistrate's judgment within ten days or loses on appeal, then the landlord may evict the tenant by obtaining a Writ of Possession of Real Property issued by the Clerk of Court. The writ directs the Sheriff to physically remove the tenant and his personal property from the premises. The Sheriff, not the landlord, is the only one who can remove the tenant and/or his personal property from the rental premises. The landlord cannot force the tenant to move at any stage of the eviction process.

I think they would have a fight on their hands from what you are telling us, but we have not seen the lease agreement and it is hard to really say for sure unless we have seen the documents.

;o)

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
The problem is more involved than just an eviction. We were asked to leave, and we are doing so willingly. The landlord was originally charging us with terminating our lease as well as a 60 day notice fee I sent the following not to the regional manager and they removed the termination of lease fees. They are still holding us responsible for the 60 day notice which is a sum of close to $1750 which we don't believe we should be responsible for since we were asked to leave.

Dear Sir or Madam:
We are writing to express a complaint/concern regarding your Carriage Club property management and a situation that is occurring to us at this time with the management. We will be moving from your property at the request of the property manager (Jacqueline) on February 5, 2008 into a new place thus bringing up the issue of a termination of lease.
In October 2007, we visited the office and mentioned to Teresa that we may be acquiring a second golden retriever puppy from another resident on the property, at that time it was never mentioned that the pet policy was limited to 100 lbs total at full grown for both dogs. My current golden is only 50-55lbs full grown, thus a second one was not thought to be an issue. On November 6, 2007 we contacted the office to let them know we adopted the second pup and were told about the issue of the dog policy and told that we had 3 months to find a place and that the office would probably handle all the fees involved (i.e., termination of lease) since they were the ones telling us to leave.
As an aside, we have a copy of the policies that we were given when we first moved to the apartments that I kept at hand to refer to whenever we had a question about anything at the property so we weren’t a pain to the office. When we chose to adopt Riley, we double checked the policy to make sure and it stated that “*Pets are allowed only after a pet lease has been signed and all appropriate fees have been paid * Pets are restricted to a total of 100lbs per apartment in total combined weight* There is a maximum of 2 pets allowed per apartment home* Pets must be on a leash and under control at all times* Pet waste must be picked up immediately and disposed of properly. If you are seen not picking up after you pet you will be charged a $25.00 fee * we do not allow certain breeds of dogs’, please contact the leasing office for the breed restrictions.” According to this written policy that we have, the two dogs are fine until they reach a total weight of 100lbs combined; it does not say anything about “when full grown”. (We apologize for typos in the policy however we typed it exactly how it was written).
Currently, we are now in January, and we receive a curt phone message 20 days prior to February 5, 2008 (the 3 month date originally given) telling us that we need to leave the property or get rid of our dog. The dogs are still not a combined weight of 100lbs, however since we have no intention of getting rid of a family member,   we responsibly find another place as a third floor apartment is not always the place for two golden retrievers. We then go in to speak with the property manager who gives us the paperwork to fill out about vacating the apartment and proceeds to tell us that we are now in the wrong and terminating our lease (and only giving about 12 days notice).
The property manager at this site has been very unprofessional in this matter. We, as tenants, would not have purposely gone against our lease and the pet policy without double checking with the office as we had. We have had nothing written on paper from the office regarding this matter as of yet, only phone calls telling us we need to move out, and a new statement from the office that “we” are terminating our lease and suddenly responsible for 2 months notice and a termination fee from the day we went in to fill out the paper for leaving. For some reason, the property manager never used the words termination of lease at any point, in any conversation, thus putting us in a situation preventing us from giving a written notice in a timely matter or giving any information at all.
The same day that we were in the office, we were told that if the dogs weighed only 10-15lbs over the limit when full grown she could have overlooked the policy, or bent the rules a little. I have a problem with this, as my older one is 2 &1/2 and weighs 50-55lbs and the other won’t be much larger, if at all. We explained that to her and just received a response of “Oh, well if they didn’t look so big.” I have also found out about a few other rule bending occurrences in the past on the property including overlooking a convicted felon living with his fiancé but not being put on the lease, too many pets in apartments, and dogs that are over the weight limits.
We also wanted to bring to your attention that all complaints that come in to the office are not checked into. It has automatically been assumed that our dogs are the reason for any noise in the building. We have been told of complaints from the neighbors about my dogs when we are “not home” and being we have one car, during those days the complaints come in; one of us is home and usually asleep with the dogs. It was mentioned and corrected with the office; however we are unaware if anyone else in the complex is having similar problems because it needs to be addressed. We also had a situation in which a neighbor was complaining for quite a while and it was not brought to our attention for months, thus never allowing us to address the situation (until the neighbor came and spoke with us directly and we solved the issues ourselves).
Please contact us with a reply as to what we can do to resolve this matter. Our phone number is(NNN) NNN-NNNN We were at one time very happy with your property and very much enjoyed living here, however there have been several changes in the last few months that haven’t seemed to benefit the property. The office is not as friendly since Kelly left, nor do they seem to listen when you call or stop to let them know something is up. At one time I told all of my friends relocating to move to this property and I hope to be able to do that again, it would be nice to have the family atmosphere back in a place like this.
Sincerely,

I hope that explains a little more
Expert:  Alice Wright replied 6 years ago.

Nick: This totally explains the situation. Thank you!

If you feel that you are not in violation of you lease, I would draft a demand letter to the landlord informing them if they fail to return return your deposit and or further change you for the termination they invoked, then you will seek relief relief via the court. Give them a deadline to respond to you letter and if they fail to do so, file a small claims court complaint against them.

Prepare for your court case by gathering all supporting evidence and let the judge decide. I feel you have a valid case from what you have told me. The language of the lease is vague and should be spelled out, two dogs totaling 100 pounds or something to that nature.

I hope this helps you not be confused Nick.

;o)

Alice Wright, Research Expert
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 635
Experience: 11 Years Research Experience
Alice Wright and 6 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    19941
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    8189
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/jespoag/2008-12-17_222355_jessepic.jpg JPEsq's Avatar

    JPEsq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2132
    Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/gsenmartin/2008-04-22_214950_me1.jpg Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.'s Avatar

    Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    110
    7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PA/PaulmoJD/2013-10-10_195858_JAImage.64x64.jpg Law Educator, Esq.'s Avatar

    Law Educator, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    31621
    JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    15975
    Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.