Q&A: How Asheville’s Housing Code Coordinator can assist renters who encounter substandard conditions

Renting a home or apartment? The City of Asheville can be
a resource if you encounter substandard housing.
The City’s Housing Code Coordinator investigates complaints about violations of the Minimum Housing Code.


Recognizing that most landlords or property managers maintain rental units properly, the Housing Code Coordinator can help a renter who encounters a building problem get resolution. The Housing Code Coordinator acts as a neutral party, not advocating for anything other than adherence to the Minimum Housing Code.

Here are some things to know about how this division works — what the Housing Code Coordinator can do and what he cannot do.


Question: What is the primary duty of the Housing Code Coordinator?

Answer: The City’s Housing Code Coordinator enforces the Minimum Housing Code. Typically, these are building safety issues, such as whether the electrical or plumbing systems are working properly. Another example of a building safety issue is a floor that is in danger of falling through.


Q: Can the Housing Code Coordinator help me with a dispute over my lease?

A: No. The person in this position does not have authority over these kinds of issues.


Q: What happens if I file a complaint?

A: When a complaint comes in, it needs to be about a specific issue with the building.

“I will ask a few key questions, what is your concern, have you communicated this to your landlord (not a requirement but we encourage this),” said Housing Code Coordinator Russell Roe. “Once I have an idea what the concern is, if I have reason to believe there might be a housing code violation, I will schedule a time to meet the person at their rental unit for an inspection.”


Q: What happens to the landlord or property manager?

A: If the inspector finds the complaint is legitimate, the owner will get a Notice of Violation (NOV), sent by mail the next business day. The owner will be given a specific amount of time, depending on the nature of the violation, to make repairs bringing the home into compliance with the Minimum Housing Code.


Q: Can I file an anonymous complaint?

A: 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. State law protects you from being evicted for filing a complaint. Your landlord cannot retaliate against you by threatening eviction for filing a complaint.


Q: How do I file a complaint?

A: Call the Housing Hotline at 828-259-5764 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can mail a complaint 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. Or visit the Development Services Department, 161 S. Charlotte St., from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Q: Can landlords contact the City if they have questions about the Housing Code?
A: Absolutely! If an owner or property manager has questions about housing standards, we encourage them to get in touch with the Housing Code Coordinator. “We can work together to address potential issues before they become problems,” Roe said. “I can also help to provide clarification about the Housing Code if landlords and tenants are having a dispute over conditions of the building.”



Your safety matters

As a tenant, you have the right to live in a rental unit that is safe, clean, and habitable. For more information, visit the City of Asheville Housing Code Inspection webpage.