The City of Raleigh Fair Housing Board has made a significant update to the Tenants’ Rights and Obligation Handbook. “We have thousands of people living in rental housing in the City of Raleigh,” said Mayor Nancy McFarlane. “Updating the Tenants’ Rights and Obligations Handbook is an important step toward ensuring people have access to information about their rights while renting, and information about resources available to help them navigate individual circumstances. It is fantastic that so many agencies have collaborated to develop the handbook, and will continue to work together to get it into the hands of residents.”
The updated handbook provides an overview of the legal rights and obligations of tenants and information regarding State laws and City ordinances that affect interaction between tenants and landlords. Following are highlights of the new handbook:
- It clearly defines what is required by landlords to provide rental units that are deemed “fit and habitable” and how tenants are responsible for maintaining the rental unit in decent living conditions.
- A new section is added outlining protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Discrimination of individuals that have suffered domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault is illegal.
- It spells out that persons with disabilities are permitted to modify the unit so that it meets their needs.
- It discusses different circumstances in which tenants may leave their rental unit prior to fulfillment of their lease, all of which are coved in the handbook. Choosing to move out, the landlord asking tenant to move out or the landlord using a court action to move out.
- It contains a list of support agencies.
The updated handbook is available at public libraries, churches, and non-profits that serve low-income population. The handbook will be used as a resource with various programs such as Wake County "Ready to Rent" Program. The “Ready to Rent” Program provides education, guidance and resources to help families and individuals develop the skills necessary to break down leasing barriers and cultivate positive leasing habits, while linking them with landlords and other mainstream services. The Wake County Clerk of Court has placed handbooks outside of Small Claims courtrooms to make them more accessible to tenants who usually cannot afford legal representation and do not know their rights.
The Tenant’s Rights and Obligation Handbook is currently available in both English and Spanish. For a printed copy contact Marquita Mbonu, community relations analyst, Housing and Neighborhoods Department at 919-996-5710.