Renting

Renting may seem less complicated than buying a home, but finding the right place and managing your relationship with a landlord require skill and preparation. Before you rent, be sure you know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. GHC’s Ready to Rent and our Managing Your Money classes can help.

To find decent affordable rentals:

  • Go online to NCHousingSearch.org, a free listing of affordable rentals. Click on North Carolina, click on Greensboro, then enter the number of bedrooms needed and the maximum rent you can pay and the zipcode if you are limited in location. A list of rentals will come up; you can click on the address for more information and on the map to find the exact location. It is wise to look for rentals with rents less than one third of your available income.
  • Find out about RUCO A Rental Certificate of Occupancy (RUCO) must be issued by the City of Greensboro before any type of housing unit is rented. The certificate assures the structure is up to code. Check out the rental unit you choose by visiting The City of Greensboro’s online public access to inspections. Type in the address of a rental unit you are considering. If it has a certificate, it has passed inspection and meets minimum standards. If there is no listing, it may mean that it has not yet been inspected (so its condition is not known) or it may mean that it failed inspection. Return to the Public Access page and click on Active Cases; put in the address. If the address comes up, click on it to see the Violations and History; property owners are not allowed to rent housing until the violations are corrected and the inspector finds the unit in compliance.
  • When you have found addresses in your rent range with Rental Certificates, contact the landlord or property manager to see each unit for yourself, fill out an application, and discuss a lease. If the rental unit was built before 1978, the owner or manager must give you a copy of any lead paint reports, a booklet called Protect Your Family From Lead Paint in the Home, and a copy of the statement you sign saying that you received this disclosure.
  • If you have special circumstances, such as very limited income, serious credit problems, or criminal records, it is wise to contact a housing counselor for assistance in getting approved for suitable housing.
  • Pay your deposit and deposits for any utilities not supplied by the landlord (water, electricity, gas).
  • Understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Both tenants and landlords have rights and responsibilities. Knowing them is important for a successful renting experience. See Three Rs for Renters about rights, responsibilities, and resources for renters. Also see this site for legal information from the North Carolina Bar Association about the rights of tenants.
  • The lease is a legal document. Read it carefully and keep it in a safe place for future reference. The lease usually includes information about when rent is due, who is allowed to live in the unit, and the length of the lease.
  • To preserve your rights as a tenant, pay rent on time and abide by the lease. If you are unable to pay on time, at least communicate with your landlord. Pay utilities on time, as well, to avoid disconnection; housing units can be condemned for not having utilities in service.
  • If your rental unit needs repairs, list these in writing and give to your landlord. Keep a copy for your records. State in the letter what you consider a reasonable time frame for repairs (immediately for no heat in the winter, several weeks for a torn screen, for example). If the landlord does not respond to the request for safety repairs, call the City of Greensboro inspectors at 336-373-2111 to see if there are violations that they can order the landlord to correct.
  • City inspectors may also inspect as part of the Rental Certificate program if your unit does not yet have a certificate. You will be asked to sign authorization for this; while you are not required to allow inspectors in, this inspection will help determine if repairs are needed.
  • Renting is a mutual responsibility between landlord and tenant giving you use of the property, so both you and the landlord must keep the lease, as well as state and local ordinances about the condition of the property even if these are not written in the lease. Your landlord cannot take back possession of the unit unless either you turn in the key or he takes you to court for the magistrate to order that you move out. The court hearing is your opportunity to tell your side of any disputes; if the magistrate does order you to move, you will have 10 days before padlocking and then another 10 days to move your belongings
  • Ready to Rent tenant education classes help you learn the basics of signing a lease, managing rent and utility bills, and how to handle repairs and other concerns with your landlord. Classes are scheduled for:  September 3, 10, 17, 24, and for October 1, 8, 15, 22. See more information here.

Further questions? Need a housing counselor? Contact us at 336-691-9521 and ask to speak to a HUD certified housing counselor. This is a free service.