Difficult landlords are sometimes a problem for students who live off campus. Photo/ MCT Campus

A disgruntled 49er finds herself dealing with a difficult landlord, showing that living off-campus has its perks and well as its downfalls. 

I love the neighborhood I live in. It’s a very safe area, there aren’t too many rowdy college kids in my building and I’m within walking distance from a beautiful creek and a frozen yogurt store.

The mall and supermarkets are a mere two to five minute drive, and the speed limit is 25 mph, making it very safe for pedestrians.

Even though I sometimes wish I lived closer to campus, I wouldn’t trade it for the privacy and safety I have now.

But there is one problem: I could use a better landlord.

When my landlord didn’t fix the doorway to our bedroom before we moved in, I figured I shouldn’t complain. There are worse things that could happen.

And happen they did.

The first thing to go wrong was that the toilet slowly stopped running. The previous tenant had mentioned to me that the toilet was a bit slow on filling up, but that was an understatement.

A month into living in my apartment, the toilet was taking hours to fill up. It got so bad that my boyfriend had to manually fill up the tank with water.

Even though we immediately notified our landlord of this issue, it wasn’t until three weeks later that she fixed it. I was a little disgruntled, but at least the problem was fixed. This happened in August.

Fast forward to November. We noticed that the tub had begun to leak. Someone had previously put the hot water handle at an angle so that it was impossible to completely shut the water off.

It wasn’t long before the slow drip evolved into a steady stream of water. Early into this problem we were beginning to see mold in our bathtub.

Needless to say, we let our landlord know. When we tried to play a little hardball with her two weeks later by informing her that we would hire the repairman ourselves and take the expense out of our next month’s rent, she complained that we had only given her two week’s notice.

While it can be argued that this adhered to North Carolina tenant-landlord rules, we were seeing mold, which can make a person incredibly sick.

In the event that a maintenance problem becomes a health risk, the landlord is actually responsible for remedying the situation immediately.

In the middle of this issue our dishwasher also stopped working. According to the repairman she brought, the whole thing would have to be replaced. It hasn’t been fixed yet. The landlord hasn’t made any mention of fixing it recently and said that for now we’ll have to make do with washing dishes by hand.

A lot of people told me to simply give her less rent, which isn’t legal in North Carolina unless the landlord puts such an agreement in writing.

The only way I can get my rent lowered is to take the case to a small claims court. In such a situation it is advisable to consult a lawyer, which isn’t worth the time, energy or money for everyone.

I already have enough on my plate between school and other responsibilities and will be moving away soon enough.

Today I received a text from my landlord saying that she’ll send a repairman over. But it’s been a good four months and the fact that I’m grateful for this gesture is a little pathetic. I feel like the state could give more rights to tenants, but I’m biased.

If you are having problems with your landlord refer to www.ncdoj.com for the landlord-tenant booklet, which highlights in detail what the legal responsibilities are for both parties.