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Marc
Marc, Attorney at Law
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Experienced Attorney
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My spouse and I are in a lease for 8 months remaining

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My spouse and I are in a lease for 8 months remaining months, and we have had the inspected for mold and mildew and my health is comprised w breathing issues, and a whole slew of issues and we signed a lease for 1 yr b/c we could not coordinate closings from our Hm in SC to our w any closings in the Boone NC area and, we therefore moved into the molding issues
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: NC
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: None other than a air quality co is processing now, but he did find it between the subfloors and the laminate floors.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: yes

Hello. My name is*****'m a licensed attorney, experienced in tort and landlord-tenant law, and I will be happy to assist you.

I'm sorry to hear about your health problems. I hope this problem gets resolved soon and you'll be breathing easier. To that end, here is some important information that should help you understand your issues and options.

North Carolina doesn't have any statutes or regulations that require landlords to disclose high concentrations of mold in rental properties to prospective tenants. But the good news is that you do have options. First I'll discuss the difficult - worst case option, followed by an easier recourse.

North Carolina law requires landlords to fix standing water, sewage, flooding or other problems that contribute to mold (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-42). This means that, worst case scenario, you could sue your landlord for violation of the law AND breach of implied warranty of habitability. If you believe you have been harmed by the presence of high concentrations of mold in your home, you can try to recover damages from their landlord outside of court to compensate for your loss. If a judge or jury agrees that the landlord negligently created a mold problem or allowed one to continue at a property, the landlord could be on the hook for any harm and would be liable to you for damages, including medical bills, pain and suffering, and expenses.

For example, a Greenville, North Carolina, tenant claimed that she and her toddler began suffering health issues as a result of high levels of mold in her apartment, much of which she believes the landlord had painted over. With the help of a local housing coalition, the tenant sued her landlord in housing court and was allowed to break her lease without a penalty, according to a press report.

Courts have recognized two common legal self-help strategies that some tenants choose to pursue following a mold outbreak in their apartment or rental home. The first, known as "rent withholding," is when tenants decide to stop paying rent, claiming the mold has made their apartment uninhabitable. (Note that regardless of what may appear in a written lease with tenants, landlords in North Carolina are bound by the “implied warranty of habitability,” a legal doctrine that requires providing tenants with apartments in livable condition.) The second strategy, known as "repair and deduct," involves tenants taking care of mold cleanup on their own and then subtracting the cost from their rent.

North Carolina's state law has not codified these strategies, and so they may pose a challenge for tenants to pursue.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Otherwise, if I have helped you better understand your issues and options, please be sure to rate my answer, since that is the only way I can receive credit.

Wishing you a speedy resolution and good health!

Marc

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