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Can your landlord raise your rent during this pandemic?

If your lease is up, yes. A landlord can't change the lease agreement in the middle of the lease, but at renewal time, they can change the terms.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Just this week, a viewer wrote:
We have lived in our place for 8 years. They are going to raise our rent to more than we can afford. Is that allowed during the pandemic?

“The pandemic has no impact on this. Typically a tenant will sign a one-year lease and during the period of the lease, the landlord cannot raise the rent. But once that lease is up, generally speaking, the landlord would be able to raise the rent after the termination of the lease.” Said Edward Sharp, Legal Aid NC.

If your lease has ended and you're going month to month, the landlord only has to give you a 7-day warning someone else is going to move into your unit. If you have a lease, the warning timeline will be in your agreement.

What about your security deposit? The state has an NC Landlord Tenant Security Deposit Act which states the landlord has 30 days to respond.

“If the landlord gives you some, but not all of the deposit money you’re owed, they then have another 30 days to give you the final payment,” said Sharp. You could be looking at 60 days total, but Sharp says if the landlord isn't responding to you at all in the first 30 days, you need to take them to small claims court.

“Particularly if they don't do anything for 30 days, the act says they then can't keep any of it and may have to pay the attorney’s fees for you,” said Sharp.

2 Wants To Know gets a lot of landlord-tenant questions. The number one: Can I withhold my rent until my landlord makes repairs? No.
The bottom line, you cannot withhold rent as a bargaining chip. When you stop paying rent, you're the one in breach of contract, not your landlord.