To All Property Management Companies and Landlords

Please take time to read the letter below I sent out last month concerning a recent Court decision stating that the magistrate can no longer abate the rent because a tenant states that he did not have a smoke detector. Legal Aid has now asked the Court of Appeals to reconsider that decision. Are you surprised? I am not!

I am very busy, as I know you are, but I believe we should help each other with our problems. Is anyone willing to meet in the future regarding this? If so, please email or contact me and I will put a meeting together. (

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know, since we all are in the same boat.


Rick Stikeleather
Stikeleather Realty & Investments

Are you disgusted by Small Claims Court decisions concerning evicting a tenant for non-payment of rent? Have you tried to evict a tenant because of non-payment of rent and have had the tenant’s attorney counter sue you because of code violations, especially carbon monoxide and smoke detector issues? The truth being that the tenant removed the detectors and caused damage to your property? This has happened to me and it appears that some of the Magistrates and Judges in Mecklenburg County are not making decisions according to law. They seem to be making bad rulings that are not based on fact or law. It costs a lot to appeal to the State, but I finally had enough of not being treated fairly by the Mecklenburg County Court system.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals reversed the lower Court decision of awarding the tenant rent abatement and unfair trade practice against Stikeleather Realty. The N. C. Court of Appeals decision makes it a lot harder in the future for tenants and their attorneys to get an award of damages by simply making claims. The N. C. Court of Appeals clarified that failure to ensure an operable smoke detector alone is not sufficient to award damages for rent abatement without showing proof of actual damages. I believe certain code violations would be covered by this ruling.
If a Magistrate or Mecklenburg County Appeals Judge rules otherwise; I recommend that you call Attorney Ross Sohm at (704) 804-8121. He did an excellent job for me.
You may reach me at (704) 537-3900 if you have any comments or questions.
Rick Stikeleather

Stikeleather Realty 

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