Employment Law Concerns: Employee Housing
By: Sarah Reddy
Employment Law Concerns: Employee Housing
By: Sarah Reddy
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Employment Law Concerns: Employee Housing

By: Sarah Reddy – North Carolina Licensed Litigation Managing Attorney with Brownlee Whitlow & Praet, PLLC

     On many occasions, housing providers contract with their onsite employees and provide onsite housing as a form of compensation. If you wish to offer such a benefit there are certain things you should always consider:

  1. Proper Paperwork: You should always make sure that the Parties sign all the necessary Leasing Paperwork prior to granting Apartment access to the Employee. On many occasions, we find that the Employee was only required to sign a Lease Addendum (or an ‘Employee Rider’) before moving into the Apartment. In order to protect all parties, you should require that the Employee and Ownership sign a completed Lease with an Employee addendum. This will provide a much clearer road
    map in the event the employee relationship ever comes to an end.
  2. At Will Employment: North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia are At Will Employment States whereby either party may terminate the employment relationship for any reason, or no reason at all, at any time. However, that liberty applies both
    ways. We highly recommend including provisions in the Employment Addendum or the Lease to address any housing
    concerns upon termination of employment.
  3. Covenants not to Compete: North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia law allows Employers to include non-compete agreements in employment documents. However, these agreements are disfavored and strictly construed so make sure that they are well drafted with no ambiguities. If a non-compete agreement is included in your Company’s Lease or Employee Addendum, then we highly recommend seeking counsel to confirm that said clause would be enforceable if required.
  4. Proper Notice: If the employment relationship is terminated, you may be able to terminate the tenancy as well. While some Leases and Employment Addendums (or ‘Employee Riders’) do not require any notice, we always recommend including some form of written notice as a sign of good faith. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the notice requirements for
    your Company’s Lease or Addenda, we recommend consulting an attorney to confirm. 
  5. Roommate Concerns: On some occasions, the Employee will share housing with another leaseholder. If the non-employee Leaseholder has signed the Lease, but not signed the Employee Addendum, then they cannot be held subject to the employment housing terms. If the employment relationship terminates and you wish to terminate the tenancy for all
    residents, then you must require all leaseholders to sign the employment documents with the co-leaseholder
    acknowledging their status as a third-party benefiting from the employment relationship. Otherwise, you may be stuck
    with a messy tenancy situation. 

     Finally, it is always a good idea to reach out to your risk management department, general counsel or designated outside counsel when presented with employee concerns to confirm your rights before acting.


     

*The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information in this article is for general informational purposes only. Information in this article may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. Viewers of this material should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. No viewer of this material should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information in this presentation without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.  Use of, and access to, this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Brownlee Whitlow & Praet, PLLC or any contributing law firms. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this article are hereby expressly disclaimed.