I recently moved into a home 6/30/2013. I was informed by the landlord, that there renovations to be completed, but I could move in if I didn't mind them working around me. I agreed, and created a list for the landlord. Once I got in the home, the landlord sent me a letter 3 days later stating that they would not make any further repairs, and they agreed to let me out of the lease on 7/31/2013. I did not pay my rent this month, due to the repairs that were not completed - I have not unpacked, as I plan on leaving the 31st, but the landlord has filed for eviction. I'm in the process of compiling paperwork to defend my case and I realized that I did not sign the lease, I was waiting to read the document, but due to the fact that the landlord and I were going back and forth about repairs, it honestly slipped my mind. I will say that I am listed on the document as a tenant. Will this detail (not signing the lease) hurt or help my case. Can I use this as a defense to the fact that repairs were needed?
1 Answer from Attorneys
The fact that the lease was not signed will not affect your case as a written lease is not required.
You have a few things to consider...is your landlord suing for the rent that he alleges was not paid?
If so, were you served personally (meaning the Sheriff's deputy put the court documents in your hand).
If you are being sued for money and were not personally served, the landlord gets a judgment for possession but not for money. Now, if you show up to the hearing and lose, then a money judgment could be issued against you.
It appears that you need to stay in the home until July 31st. NC does not allow for rent withholding, so you are liable to the landlord for the rent for July.
Assuming, that he just filed, your hearing will likely be next week sometime. After the hearing, assuming he wins or you don't go, there is a 10 day period in which you have the right to appeal. During this time, he can take no action to evict you. On the 11th day after the hearing he could then ask the Court to padlock you out and approximately 5 days after that you would be locked out. This should take you to the 31st.
It might be best to just not go to the hearing...and/or work out a deal with the landlord and pay the rent for July. You may want to get a second opinion from a landlord tenant lawyer in your area.