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State Landlord Tenant Law

North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law and Regulations

by Editor | ezLandlordForms
north carolina landlord tenant law

What is North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law?

North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law is a set of laws created to ensure that both landlords and tenants have an understanding of their rights and responsibilities during a rental agreement. The Law sets forth rules, regulations, and guidelines for how each party should conduct themselves throughout the rental process. Specifically, North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law covers topics such as late fees, pets in rental units, utilities, overdue rent payments, security deposits, termination notices, and more. North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law also provides important information on tenant evictions and permissible decreases in services provided by the landlord. Whether you are a renter interested in protecting your rights or a landlord looking to understand North Carolina legal requirements about tenancy agreements and management of property tenants North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law has something of value to provide.

Are there rent control/rent stabilization policies or laws in North Carolina?
The state of North Carolina has not established rent control or stabilization practices.

What is the maximum amount I can collect as a security deposit?
Security deposits may not exceed the following amounts:

  • If rent is collected weekly, the landlord may require an amount equal to 2 weeks rent.
  • If rent is collected monthly and there is no written lease, the landlord may require an amount equal to 1 and a 1/2 month’s rent.
  • If there is a lease for more than a month, the landlord may require an amount equal to 2 months.

Please Note: Under the North Carolina landlord tenant law, the landlord must give the tenant written notice of the name of the bank that is holding the tenant’s security deposit or the name and address of the insurance company providing a bond to cover the security deposit.

My tenant has moved out, what do I do with their security deposit?
The original language of NC Gen. Stat. § 42-52 required that all landlords must itemize any deductions from the security deposit and refund any remaining balance to the tenant within 30 days after the tenant relinquishes tenancy and vacates the unit. However, in consideration of the difficulty some landlords had in determining the extent of the damages and the cost along with generating or furnishing invoices for the repairs; the landlord now has up to 60 days to provide an itemization and accounting if this cannot be determined within 30 days.

What is a common problem where security deposits are concerned?
At times landlords may try claiming deductions for items that are often characterized by the court as normal wear and tear. This situation may be prevented by realistically evaluating each deduction, providing proof of damage as well as including repair receipts and pictures.

What is the process for evicting a tenant in North Carolina? 

Evicting a tenant in North Carolina is a complex process that must be done in accordance with north carolina landlord tenant law. In order to begin the eviction process, landlords must provide tenants with written notice that states the grounds for eviction. Then, if the tenant has not resolved the issue or vacated after a specified amount of time, landlords can file an eviction lawsuit and proceed with obtaining an order of possession from a court. Finally, if it becomes necessary, landlords can enlist assistance from sheriff forces to enforce the court order. While it is possible for landlords to evict tenants on their own, seeking legal counsel throughout the eviction process may be of great benefit to ensure maximum protection of rights as a landlord.

Are there any special provisions for North Carolina landlords when it comes to tenant Screening

As a landlord in North Carolina, being aware of tenant screening laws is crucial. The state of North Carolina provides certain “Safe Harbor” provisions that protect landlords during the process. This means that as long as you adhere to specific guidelines when screening applicants, such as considering only their criminal background or rental history and not any protected characteristics like race, religion or national origin, then the landlord will be protected in the event of any legal action. It’s important to note that this provision only applies if you comply with all of the tenant screening guidelines outlined by north carolina landlord tenant law – so make sure to do your research.

What are some of the most important aspects of a lease or rental agreement in North Carolina? 

In North Carolina, there are a few essential elements that all leases and rental agreements must include. The most fundamental is an airtight north carolina landlord tenant law, which provides much-needed protection to both tenants and landlords. It outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties, defines the type of residence being leased, how it will be used, how long it will last as well as any required deposit amounts. Furthermore, it should also note clear provisions on late fees, security deposits and maintenance procedures. Adhering to north carolina landlord tenant law is extremely important for everyone involved – be sure to cover all your bases.

May I charge an application fee, late rent charge or a returned payment fee?
Reasonable cost should always be kept in mind when initiating any charges. There are no restrictions or limits placed on the collection of an application fee. Once a rental payment is 5 days late or more, a landlord may assess a late fee which may not exceed $15 or 5% of the rental payment, whichever is greater. The processing fee which may be charged and collected for a check on which payment has been refused by the bank because of insufficient funds is not to exceed $25. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 25-3-506.

How can I end a North Carolina lease agreement?
For month to month tenancies, the lease may be terminated by a notice of 7 days before the end of the current month of tenancy. If the lease is yearly, then written notice shall be given 30 days before the end of the current term of tenancy. With regards to a week to week tenancy, the lease may be terminated by a notice of 2 days before the end of the current week of tenancy. Regardless of the term, if the rental is a manufactured home, the tenant must give 30 day’s notice before vacating.

What are the rules for terminating a lease in North Carolina? 

If you live in North Carolina, you must abide by the state’s landlord-tenant laws, which include being aware of your rights and obligations when it comes to breaking a lease. In any instance, the specifics of how and when you can terminate, as well as any related fees that may be charged, will be spelled out in the formal lease agreement. Typically, the only acceptable grounds for early termination of a lease are military deployment, a breach of the lease by either party, or nonpayment of rent as agreed upon and in writing. You might be able to work out an early termination with your landlord if specific criteria are satisfied, depending on the reason you need to terminate the lease. All discussions should be documented in writing as soon as possible to avoid further complications or litigation down the road.

Can a landlord enter the property without prior notice? 

It depends under North Carolina landlord-tenant law. Landlords must give written notice to tenants 48 hours in advance of any situation other than an emergency and 24 hours in advance of any required repairs or maintenance. On the other hand, a tenant must grant permission for a landlord to access their apartment. Before requesting any type of entrance, North Carolina landlords must become informed with the state’s landlord-tenant laws and be aware of their own rights.

Can a tenant withhold rent if the landlord isn’t making repairs?

Tenant life in North Carolina may occasionally be challenging, especially when it comes to landlord repairs. Not every maintenance issue is the same, and this might affect whether the tenant has the authority to withhold rent until repairs are performed, according to North Carolina landlord-tenant law. In general, renters may be allowed to withhold rent if the repairs included major health or safety hazards, but this should always be confirmed with legal counsel before acting. In order to make the best decision possible, be careful to research your rights and obligations as a renter.

How often do you think landlords should review their lease agreements with tenants?

In North Carolina, it’s crucial for landlords to regularly go through their lease agreements with their renters. This is a chance to correct any ambiguous language and may also give landlords the option to stay within the confines of North Carolina landlord tenant law. Additionally, keeping your lease agreement up to date makes it possible for the landlord and tenant to have a clear idea of what is expected of them and may help prevent miscommunications. Regularly reviewing the lease gives both parties confidence that they are on the same page and helps maintain landlord-tenant relationships harmonious.

Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable.

Additionally, any member of the US Armed Forces who is required to move pursuant to permanent change of station with orders to depart 50 miles or more from the leased property is released from the rental agreement. Military person must provide at least 30 days notice to the landlord. In addition, any military person who is deployed for more than 90 days may terminate their lease with written notice which will become effective 30 days after the first date on which the next rental payment is due, or 45 days notice, whichever is shorter.

Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, may terminate their lease with 30 days written notice along with a copy of the valid order of protection/other restraining order/address confidentiality card.

My tenant has not paid rent; how much notice do I have to give a tenant in order to evict them?
If the tenant has breached the lease, then the landlord must notify the tenant of the breach and termination of the lease. This notice should be written and also contain a demand for possession of the property, as well as a statement to the reason(s) why the landlord is terminating the lease and/or a demand for all monies due.

If the landlord then wishes to file an eviction, a 10 day notice to vacate must either be given to the tenant or posted on the door of the premises. The day of posting does not count, nor does any day in which the court is not open such as holidays or weekends.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing landlords and tenants in North Carolina in the future?

As laws continue to change, landlords and tenants in North Carolina may soon confront a variety of difficulties. It can be challenging to stay current with landlord tenant law changes, particularly when rules differ from county to county. Additionally, securing property rights and ensuring that all contracts adhere to legal requirements will probably continue to be problems for both parties in North Carolina. In order to assure compliance with North Carolina landlord tenant legislation, landlords will face a number of additional obligations as more individuals than ever before choose to live in rental properties. Additionally, tenants must be aware of their rights in order to spot any problems or potential obligations related to their lease. With thoughtful proactive planning, north carolina landlords and tenants can approach the future with confidence.

How long does the eviction process take?
As with any legal matter, exact timing is almost impossible as it depends on many factors. Overall, with no complications, the eviction process usually takes approximately 4-5 weeks.

What are the Landlord’s legal rights when a tenant remains after a lease has ended or been terminated?
The landlord may terminate the tenancy upon express notification. If the tenant remains, the landlord may remove the tenant through the courts with an eviction known as summary ejectment.

Can I require my tenants to obtain renter’s insurance?
Landlords may require tenants to obtain rental insurance, and can make the failure to do so a breach of the lease agreement.

How do I tell if my tenant has “skipped” out of the apartment?
Often times it’s best to look for the obvious, such as removal of personal goods, whether or not the tenant has come back to the premises at any time during a one week period, and simply no food in the refrigerator. It’s extremely important to document all of the “proof” gathered in order to determine abandonment. When in doubt, if payment of rent has not been made, the landlord may always file for eviction.

Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy by providing so in the Lease.

Do I have to give the tenant notice before I enter the rental property?
There are no statutory regulations regarding a landlords right to enter the leased premises. However, landlords should exercise caution and use reasonable judgment.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. The answers to the questions may vary depending on your factual situation. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.

Additional North Carolina rental resources are available, and legal questions about NC landlord-tenant law can be asked (and answered) through our ezLandlord Forum.

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