Housing Code Inspection
The purpose of the Minimum Housing Code of the City of Asheville is to remedy and prevent the decay and deterioration of places of human habitation by providing minimum requirements for the protection of life, health, welfare, safety, and property. All dwellings in the city must be maintained to the minimum standards set forth in the code. The text of the Code can be found here:
Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities
Section 4-214 of the Code identifies owners as being responsible for complying with the provisions of the Code. However, some obligations are placed on the tenant. For example, maintaining cleanliness of the unit and reporting problems to the landlord. While it is not a requirement, the City recommends that tenants notify the landlord in writing regarding any problems that exist. This is often a more effective way of getting an appropriate response than phone calls or text messages. The landlord should be given a reasonable amount of time to make the repairs.
Filing a Complaint
A Housing Complaint is typically a physical problem that needs to be repaired. It can be on the inside or outside of the building. Tenants are encouraged to have already notified the landlord (preferably in writing), and given the landlord reasonable time to make the repair, prior to filing a complaint with the Housing Office. However, if the complaint is regarding something that is dangerous in nature, or is an imminent health or safety hazard, the Housing Office should be notified immediately. Complaints can be made by any of the following methods:
By Phone: Call the Development Services Department Housing Line (828-259-5764) between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You will be asked to provide as much information about the dwelling as possible. Critical information includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Address (and unit number) of the dwelling
Name of the owner
Nature of the complaint
How long the condition has existed
Has the landlord/owner been notified? If so, when? In writing?
Has there been any action taken to correct the problem(s)?
2. In Writing: Mail complaint information to the City of Asheville Development Services Department, P.O. Box 7148, Asheville, NC 28802. Address it to the attention of the Housing Code Coordinator.
3. In Person: Visit the Development Services Department at 161 S. Charlotte Street between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Can I remain anonymous?
Complaints filed by phone can be left anonymously. However, the complainant should be aware that remaining anonymous can often limit the extent to which the Housing Code Coordinator can conduct and follow through with an effective investigation. As a tenant, you have the right to live in a rental unit that is safe, clean, and habitable. State law protects you from being evicted for filing a complaint. Your landlord cannot retaliate against you by threatening eviction for filing a complaint.
What to Expect
When you file a complaint, the Housing Code Coordinator will ask a series of questions to get as much information as possible about the nature of the problems. He/she will then schedule a time to meet at the property to conduct the inspection. Depending on the nature and extent of the problems, the inspection could take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour. The inspector will likely start by looking for problems on the outside of the building. He/she will then proceed to do the internal inspection, methodically going from room to room, checking plumbing fixtures, looking for damage to the building, making sure ventilation is appropriate, etc. When the inspector is finished he/she will give you a brief overview of his/her findings.
If Minimum Housing Code violations are found, the inspector will make a report of the findings and issue a Notice of Violation to the property owner. The owner will be given a designated amount of time to resolve the problems (typically 30 days, but this may vary depending on the nature of the problems).
Many tenants call the Housing Line to complain about mold in their rental dwellings. If you are concerned about mold, it is important to understand that there are no federal standards for mold growth. Therefore, mold is not regulated by the Minimum Housing Code. However, while we can’t inspect for mold, per se, we can inspect for sources of moisture that might lead to excessive mold growth. So if you believe you have a leaking roof, water damaged walls, or some other source of excess moisture, then it might be appropriate to request a Minimum Housing Code inspection.
For more information on mold and indoor air quality, try looking at these sources:
NC Department of Health and Human Services
Buncombe County Indoor Air Quality
If you have housing code questions, or you want to file a complaint, and you live within Asheville city limits, please call the City of Asheville Housing Line at (828) 259-5764.
Buncombe County residents outside Asheville city limits should call the Buncombe County Fire Marshal at (828) 250-6620.