North Carolina Security Deposit Law

Residential security deposit law in North Carolina is governed by the Tenant Security Deposit Act and can be found at N.C.G.S. 42-50 through 42-55. As is often the case in tenancy law, this act primarily addresses issues in residential tenancies so this article will be addressed to residential security deposits.

At what amount can I set the security deposit?

Unfortunately the answer to this question is a moving target. The amount of security deposit depends on the term of the tenancy as follows:

(a)If the term of the tenancy is week to week, the landlord can require two weeks rent;

(b)If the term of the tenancy is month to month, the landlord can require one and one-half month’s rent; or

(c)If the term of the tenancy exceeds one month, the landlord can charge two months rent. See N.C.G.S. 42-51.

Are there additional fees a landlord can charge?

Landlords are also entitled to a non-refundable “pet fee”. The only requirement for the “pet fee” is that it must be reasonable, and the tenant must have a pet.

I have the security deposit, now what do I do with it?

A landlord must place the security deposit in a trust account with a licensed and insured bank or savings institution in North Carolina, and notify the tenant of the bank’s name and address within 30 days after the beginning of the lease term. There are a couple of minor exceptions to this rule but they involve the landlord obtaining a bond for the amount of the deposit, and will not affect most landlords.

If you know where you will place the security deposit at the time you prepare the lease, it is wise to include this notification in the lease.

If you move the security deposit at any time, you should notify the tenant immediately in writing of the new location.

When must the deposit be returned?

The landlord must return the deposit to the tenant within thirty days after the end of the rental period. If the landlord deducts from the deposit for damage to the property, or for unpaid rent, those charges must be described to the tenant in writing, and the writing (also referred to as an accounting) plus any portion of the deposit still due to the tenant must be delivered within that same thirty-day period.

If the extent of the landlord’s claim against the security deposit cannot be determined within 30 days, the landlord shall provide the tenant with an interim accounting no later than 30 days after termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession of the premises to the landlord and shall provide a final accounting within 60 days after termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession of the premises to the landlord.

What deductions can the landlord make from the security deposit?

You may only take deductions from the security deposit for: the tenant’s nonpayment of rent and costs for water or sewer services; damage to the premises beyond reasonable wear and tear; nonfulfillment of rental period; any unpaid bills that become a lien against the demised property due to the tenant’s occupancy; costs of re-renting the premises after breach by the tenant; costs of removal and storage of tenant’s property after a summary ejectment proceeding; or court costs in connection with terminating a tenancy.

Additionally, it should go without saying but, you can only deduct your actual damages, and you should keep receipts to substantiate your deductions in case you are sued by the tenant.

What if I don’t know where to send the security deposit to the tenant after he vacates the property?

If the tenant’s address is unknown the landlord shall apply the deposit as permitted after a period of 30 days and the landlord shall hold the balance of the deposit for collection by the tenant for at least six months.

It is a good practice to send the deposit to the tenant via certified mail. If the mail is returned unopened put in the tenant’s file the same way. If you are later sued for failure to return the deposit you will have clear evidence that you attempted to return it.

What if I fail to comply with the act?

If the landlord fails to account for and/or refund the balance of the tenant’s security deposit as required by this Article, the tenant may institute a civil action to require the accounting of and the recovery of the balance of the deposit.

The willful failure of a landlord to comply with the deposit, bond, or notice requirements of this Article shall void the landlord’s right to retain any portion of the tenant’s security deposit as otherwise permitted under G.S. 42-51.

In addition to other remedies, the tenant may recover damages resulting from noncompliance by the landlord; and upon a finding by the court that landlord is in willful noncompliance, the court may award attorney’s fees to be taxed as part of the costs of court.



What if I sell or buy a rental property already occupied by tenants?

Within 30 days after the termination of the landlord’s interest in the dwelling unit in question, the landlord shall, do one of the following acts:

(1) Transfer the portion of the deposit remaining after any lawful deductions made under this section to the landlord’s successor in interest and thereafter notify the tenant by mail of such transfer and of the transferee’s name and address; or

(2) Return the portion of the deposit remaining after any lawful deductions to the tenant.

Upon receipt of the deposit the purchaser must place it in a trust account with a licensed and insured bank or savings institution in North Carolina, and notify the tenant of the bank’s name and address within 30 days after the beginning of the lease term.

Happy landlording!

Copyright Your Band Logo – Tips to Protection

There is a lot of time and effort that goes into creating a logo that accurately represents your band. As such, it’s important to take the proper steps to protect your art so you have some recourse if infringement occurs.

For the most part, band logos can be considered an original and creative form of art – assuming the logo is more than just the name of the band without an artistic element. As such, they can be protected under Copyright Law as a Visual/Artistic work.

Just to ensure this is clear, the artwork for the logo can be protected under copyright law, but not the name of the band itself. This is because copyright law does not protect names, slogans, or catch-phrases. If you were looking to protect against other bands using your actual name vs. the artwork, this would fall under Trade-Mark Law.

In order to protect your band logo under copyright law, all you have to do is put your logo in a tangible form (on paper, on CD, on a hard drive, on the back of a candy wrapper, etc.). Once it’s in this fixed form, the creator owns the exclusive rights to produce or reproduce the art.

Although you automatically own the copyright to the logo artwork the moment it is put in a fixed form, it’s best to have taken further steps to prove to the courts that the work was originally yours should someone (perhaps another band) steal your logo or a big portion of it

In General, the best option for added protection is through a reputable copyright registry. For ultimate protection, one should register their logo as soon as it has been completed, before showing others.

There are a number of options for copyright registries. You could register through the Government, through associations, or through online registries. When doing your research, ensure you know all the costs involved, whether there are membership or renewal fees, and whether they provide you with a time-stamped registration certificate.

As a side note, do not rely on the ever-popular “Poor Man’s Copyright Method” (i.e. sending yourself your work through mail) because it is highly unlikely to hold in a court of law should someone infringe on your logo design.

Regardless of which method you choose to protect your band’s logo, remember to register it before you show it to third parties. Good Luck!

Disclaimer

The above information is meant as a general guide to further your copyright knowledge and does not constitute legal advice. For questions about your specific work, you should consult a copyright lawyer in your country.

What Meg Whitman’s Housekeeper Controversy Tells Us About Real Immigration Issues

All of the contradictions and complexities of our nation’s immigration policy are being publicly exposed in the current contretemps between California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and her former housekeeper, who voluntarily exposed herself this week as an illegal immigrant.

Opponents of immigration – including Whitman – tend to speak about immigration enforcement in shrill, impersonal terms: Take Whitman’s promise to be “tough as nails” on immigration policy. But in Whitman’s case as in others, the rhetoric and the reality are far apart.

Scratch the surface of any immigration controversy and you find the complex lives of people: immigrants who form relationships with their employers, their spouses and children, immigrants who are part of communities, who cannot be expunged from our lives with the wave of the Border Patrol’s wand.

“I was not going to make an example of Nicky,” Whitman said in explaining her reluctance to hasten the deportation of her former housekeeper by calling the authorities. The housekeeper, she said, was part of her “extended family.”

That is where the true difficulty in enforcing immigration policy lies: how do you separate families and communities in an effort to cleanse the country of illegal immigrants? In my opinion, the answer is you can’t. The price of getting rid of illegal immigrants is too high, not just on their lives, but on their families and communities.

Immigration opponents are already calling Whitman a hypocrite. I agree that she is hypocritical for supporting a crackdown on illegal immigrant employers while trying to hide her own, perhaps inadvertent, employment of one. But to me the actions of her and her husband in trying to avoid the potential immigration pitfalls of her housekeeper, even when they may have suspected something was wrong, are not hypocritical. They are human.

It is easy to be anti-immigrant in the abstract. It is much harder when that immigrant is your friend, your spouse, when it is the gardener, the butcher, the housekeeper, the caregiver that you rely on. This imbroglio, for all its political implications reveals the messiness of human relations that is at the heart of any discussion of immigration.

Car Accident Lawyer Help After a Collision

Nearly everyone is driving in today’s day and age and with more automobiles on the road there are naturally more collisions. The risk of serious injury or death in this sort of situation is incredibly high because there is so much speed combined with broken glass and twisted metal that the risk for damage to one’s person is significant. For those who have suffered the unpleasant experience of colliding with another vehicle, regardless of whose fault it was, it is necessary to retain the services of a qualified car accident attorney.

The cost of replacing or repairing an automobile after a collision is often in the several thousands of dollars. If you were hit by another person, even if they did not do anything negligent, you need the help of a car accident attorney to be assured that insurance and the other driver offer complete compensation for the damage and for any bills you may have accrued. With a lawyer it is even possible to gain compensation for lost wages and future lost income in addition to pain and suffering remuneration.

This last part is where most people end up suffering the most from the consequences of a collision. Insurance will often pay for the vehicle and the medical bills but it is the loss of wages that ends up causing the most problems. That is because in some instances after an injury there is significant recovery time during which a person may be incapable of performing the functions of their job. In fact, for many people it becomes impossible to return to the field in which they were once employed and that means they have to take a position in another industry, possibly at a lower wage. If this happens a good car accident attorney can often fight to get the responsible party to pay the difference or pay for a person’s disability.

The best time to retain a car accident attorney is immediately after the incident. Of course, one should go to the hospital and be examined and treated first but then the sooner that representation is secured the better. These lawyers will know what sort of documentation needs to happen to ensure that all medical bills are paid and they also know that it is necessary to do some research and compile a strong case to support the injured parties story of events. They know that the way one wins sufficient money and restitution is by having plenty of facts that support their case and their claim to serious injury.

Without a car accident attorney it is possible that a victim may not receive sufficient repayment for their bills and their damage. It is also likely that at the insurance company and the responsible party will negotiate out of paying for lost wages. In order to avoid this it is always best to consult with a lawyer and see what can be done to ensure one’s rights are protected.

Why You Should Use a Real Estate Lawyer

When most “Ottawans” sell their home they hire a real estate agent, yet often forgo the important step of hiring the best real estate lawyer Ottawa has to offer. Hiring a real estate lawyer in Ottawa when selling a home is considered the sensible thing to do however, and there are all sorts of services they can provide you with which an agent cannot.

First and foremost, an Ottawa real estate lawyer will help you to protect your rights as a home seller. In order for you to know what you should and shouldn’t be signing, a lawyer will also review any pertinent documents for you.

This type of lawyer should also be able to prevent any troublesome issues with a home’s title, and can also be of great help if there’s a lien on the home. It can be an incredible help if your lawyer discovers such issues early on, and can save you quite a bit of money later on during the selling process. You don’t want to find yourself down the road wishing you had approached the situation differently.

An Ottawa Lawyer can also be of tremendous help if there are any negotiations during the selling process. You’ll increase your chances of coming out on the better side of a negotiation with a quality lawyer on your side.

If you happen to receive any further offers or counteroffers, having the best lawyer Ottawa has to offer will also be of great help. In such situations it’s critical that you handle any tax implications correctly. If these issues are handled with care and by the right person, you’re much more likely to end up accomplishing what you set out to do.

When it comes time to close the sale on your home, the best real estate lawyer Ottawa has to offer will be of great assistance. Such a lawyer will ensure that security deposits are completely properly, and that any insurance required is in place.

Your Ottawa real estate lawyer should also be present at the closing of your sale to ensure everything goes as planned. If nothing else, having a lawyer there will ease your mind about any issues arising at the last minute.

Hiring an Ottawa real estate lawyer will cost you a bit of extra money, however most people believe that the cost is worth the benefit. The fee you would pay to a real estate lawyer pales in comparison to any fines or other hidden fees you may be hit with if your sale isn’t taken care of properly.

Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney in the UK

Power Of Attorney

This specifically refers to the UK – laws will vary by territory.

Should a relative become incapable of managing their finances, being granted power of attorney means you’ll be responsible for their financial affairs, paying their bills etc. This is a difficult step to take and we understand that in all likelihood neither you nor your relative wants to ‘admit’ that it’s necessary.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005

Under the Mental Capacity Act of 2005, anyone who lacks the capacity or has the inability to make decisions will have all their financial affairs passed to the Court of Protection. If this happens you’ll then be in a situation where neither your relative nor yourself have a say in the control of money, but you’ll also be charged a fee for the privilege!

During the first two years of the Court of Protection it handled £3.2 billion in assets and last year charged £23 million worth of fees.

By preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney you can avoid the rule of the Court of Protection being implemented. Additionally I do advise that this is prepared in advance of any illness/incapacity so that it can be simply registered when required. This can help you avoid unnecessary extra stress and government interference at a sensitive time. It also means your relative can be fully involved in the process of preparing it – so it can be done in a way that they are definitely happy with.

The Two Types of Power of Attorney

There are two types of power of attorney – you can appoint someone to be one or both of these.

Health and welfare power of attorney allows the appointment of one or more people to help manage a person’s daily routine and care. This can include meals, clothes, medical care, care homes and decisions on life-sustaining treatment. This can only be used once a person is incapable of making their own decisions.

Property and financial affairs power of attorney allows the appointment of one or more people to manage a person’s financial affairs. This can include paying bills, collecting benefits, selling property etc. This type of appointment can be made at any time.

Who Can and Can’t be Appointed

You need someone willing, able and trustworthy to be your attorney. They can be a friend, a relative, a professional (e.g a solicitor), a husband, wife or partner.

They can’t be under 18, incapable of decision making themselves, or bankrupt (in the case of a property and financial affairs attorney).

Online Access For Divorce Records Search

Vital records are normally maintained by every state. Usually, they are stored at the state’s Vital Records Office. However, if you wished to find Arizona Divorce Records, then that is not the best place for you to go. The said information is only available at the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where the event occurred. Normally, a cost per copy is required before the result will be released to the requester.

The corresponding fees are payable through money orders, Debit cards, Visa, or MasterCard. Take note, personal checks are not accepted. In making a request for this document, make sure to include in your application a copy of a photo I.D. or have your request notarized.

Certainly, there are a lot of reasons why people are now searching for this information. It is important when you’re dating, in a relationship, or are about to get married. The details that it contains enable you to further investigate the personal background of your partner or prospective spouse. Hence, it keeps you and your family safe and secured from any possible harm. If the other party was previously divorced, it reveals the real reasons for the separation.

In the past, one of the most common ways of acquiring this document is to hire a private investigator. Nevertheless, this was found to be costly and time-consuming. The good news is you can now have the information that you need in just a matter of minutes only. The credit for such great innovation goes to the Internet. Hence, you can now conduct your own investigation at the comfort and privacy of your own home, making you save more time and money.

Still other reasons for retrieving this file include the loss of the original copies, to check on the status of current motions or filings in an ongoing case, and to find out the status of someone you’re dating. In order to have a complete report, make sure to gather relevant information such as the couple’s full names, the county where the papers were filed, current or previous address, and the date of the divorce decree.

Naturally, Divorce Records are open documents to the public. That means that anyone can view and use it for various purposes. The information per se is free, but obtaining it still requires a charge per copy. Depending on the jurisdiction of the state, some divorce records may be considered sealed. Usually, that happens if the case contains sensitive information such as physical or sexual abuse of minor children.

Protecting Your Eco-Digital Property From Internet Thieves

When I was on Google I came across links to my own books in eco-digital (read E) format. I felt livid, violated and was burning mad at a stranger in Canada who took the liberty to publish my book, and many other spiritual authors’ books on her own website, and distribute them freely for all on the web to read. That would be fine if we were compensated for our books. But cheated out of book royalties seems to go hand in hand with recording artists whose songs are playing all over the World Wide Web, without compensating the artists as well.

Being somewhat tech-challenged I accidentally came upon one of my own links that when clicked on, opened a new browser window that showed, “The page cannot be found.” A-ha! I quickly learned that if the link is to a file, such as an E-book or an MP3, with the identical URL (address) that is live on a server, any server, the link will open to the actual content.

The remedy; Save the e-file content (E-Book, MP3) on your computer, delete that actual file from the server (such as your website) rename the link, and then upload it to the server, and re-publish the site.

If you sell your audio files, E-books, or any file that can be opened with the click of a mouse, it may require that you have a monthly or even a weekly link name clean up.

If you notice a lull in sales, type the name of your song, or book, into Google, or any other popular search engine, to see if someone has taken the liberty to distribute your hard work on their website, thereby cheating you out of royalties.

With just about everything becoming digital, links to files that are not free will simply have to be re-named occasionally, or weekly, to ensure that you receive the compensation your hard work is entitled to.  

Yes, it’s a hassle. However, not taking care of your actual business will amount to your not receiving business. Laziness in this case is not a luxury you can afford, especially when you’re counting on that money to buy necessities such as food. 

If you do have files on your website that are clearly not your content, do yourself and the person who owns the copyright a favor and delete what you did not create.

With the growth of the internet being mind boggling, there is no way to police your own copyrighted property unless you either have someone do the checking for you or you do it yourself.

Unfortunately with popularity come freebie-thieves. Stop internet thieves from distributing your electronic files by making sure you either grant extremely limited access to the file, or re-name it weekly. 

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