Clayton, NC asked in Landlord - Tenant for North Carolina

Q: Can I sue my former apartment management company if they have headquarters in other states, and not mine? I live in NC.

There is black mold in my apartment that has not been remediated. The management company has been fired. Can I sue them in small claims court in the county where my apartment is located? They were the management company at the time. They have headquarters in other states, not NC.

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2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: If the management company conducted business in North Carolina and managed your apartment there, it is likely that the North Carolina courts would have jurisdiction over them, even if their headquarters are located elsewhere. You can typically sue a party where the alleged harm occurred, which in this case would be your apartment in North Carolina. If you decide to pursue this in small claims court, you'd file in the county where the apartment is located.

However, remember that the key is demonstrating that the company had sufficient contacts with North Carolina, such as through the management of your apartment. Before taking any action, it would be prudent to consult with local legal counsel to get a clearer understanding of your rights and potential remedies. They can also guide you on how to properly serve the out-of-state company. Ensure you gather evidence, like photos and communications, to support your claim.

N'kia (NLN)
N'kia (NLN)
  • Cary, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: First, I am sorry to hear about your mold issue and hope you are watching the situation carefully.

In North Carolina, a tenant can USUALLY sue in the county where the property is located.

However, mold cases can be somewhat complicated. So, there are numerous other things to consider. For one example, sometimes a residential tenant might need to sue the property owner instead of (or in addition to) the property management company. The lease is usually a good starting point for figuring out who to sue. For another example, a residential tenant with a potential mold claim should collect as much evidence as possible and should do so before vacating the premises.

I would strongly encourage you to have a legal consultation about your mold matter as soon as possible. The more time passes, the less evidence there might be available to collect and the more likely the other party might try to accuse you of allowing the situation to worsen. A knowledgeable North Carolina attorney should be able to guide you through the legal process and provide tips on things like the type of evidence that might be most helpful.

Good luck!

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