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VERIFY | Can renters withhold rent anytime they want?

Questions about tenants' rights have been raised lately as more people choose to rent instead of buy in the current housing boom.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The housing market is slowing as homebuyers face higher interest rates to pay for a place to live.

Home sales fell about 3% last month from April, according to the National Association of Realtors.

In Charlotte, the housing market remains hot, and it's forcing a lot of people to rent. With that comes a lot of questions from tenants.


Can a tenant withhold rent on their own without facing a penalty?



This is false.

No, a tenant cannot withhold rent on their own. They will face a penalty and could be evicted.


The North Carolina statute reads: "the tenant may not unilaterally withhold rent prior to a judicial determination of a right to do so."

Basically, that means a tenant needs to have express permission from two sources, according to Mumper.

"One is if the landlord tells you it's okay to withhold rent, and the other is if you have a court order in hand," Mumper said.

No matter what, Mumper said, tenants should always have something in writing when it comes to their landlord and issues with the property or service.

"So if something breaks down, the first step is going to be that the tenant makes written notice to the landlord," Mumper said. "You absolutely have to put a landlord on notice."

If a tenant chooses to withhold rent without the permission of a judge or a written agreement with a landlord, the tenant could face eviction.

"You need to be extremely open and transparent," Mumper said.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.

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