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What is the maximum amount I can collect as a security deposit?
A security deposit may not exceed an amount equal to 1 month’s rent and the landlord is obligated to deposit the money in a federally insured interest-bearing savings or checking account.

Please Note: The landlord may require a "pet deposit" which may not exceed an amount of $2,500 or 2 month's rent, whichever is greater.

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.

Can I require my tenants to obtain renter's insurance?
Landlords may require tenants to obtain rental insurance.

May I charge late and returned payment fees?
The landlord may charge a late fee, however, it must be a provision of the lease (verbal or written) or it is not legal. In addition, the lease must state how much the late fee will be and on what date it will be effective. The maker of a dishonored check may be liable for collection fees or costs not to exceed $30. N.D. Cent. Code § 6-08-16 and N.D. Cent. Code § 6-08-16.2

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.

How can I end a North Dakota lease agreement?
If the tenancy is:

  • Month-to-Month: If there is no provision in the month-to-month periodic lease stating how much advance notice must be given to end the lease (written or verbal), either party may terminate the lease by giving at least 30 days written notice at any time.
  • Fixed Term: Terminates automatically at the end of the lease period without the need of any notice from either landlord or tenant unless otherwise specified within the lease.

Please Note: NOTICE TO TERMINATE LEASE- 60 DAY NOTICE Requirement
Where an advance 60 day notice to end or renew the tenancy is specified in the lease, the landlord must provide a space for the resident to initial next to the notice requirement. If that notice requirement is not initialed by the resident, the lease can be terminated by either party with at least one calendar months notice to take effect on the last day of the month.

  • If a Month-to-Month lease from the inception requires a 60 day notice to terminate, that termination clause must be also initialed by the resident.
  • After August 1, 2007, if the term lease is going to convert on a Month-to-Month basis, the landlord will no longer be allowed to require 60 days notice to terminate from the resident, even if the resident initialed such language.

My tenant has moved out, what shall I do with their security deposit?
Within 30 days of tenancy termination, the landlord must return the tenant's security deposit (plus interest if the leased premises was occupied for 9 months or longer), or give the tenant a written explanation as to why the deposit (or any part of the deposit) will not be returned.

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, a tenant may seek release from a rental agreement with the court when a landlord does not abide by the state’s landlord obligations. You may not deny a tenant release from a contract if they are part of domestic abuse, are threatened or in harms way do to domestic abuse.  NOTE:  The tenant must provide advance written notice to the landlord stating:  The tenant fears imminent domestic violence from a person named in court or restraining order. 

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.

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 to give the tenant notice before I enter the rental property?
Unless it is an emergency or impractical to do so, the landlord must attempt to obtain the tenant's consent for an agreed time of entry. Consent may be presumed from the tenant's failure to object to access after reasonable notice is given.

Aside from the lease agreement, are there any additional documents necessary?
If the leased premises was constructed prior to 1978, the landlord must provide all tenants with the Lead-Based Paint EPA Disclosure and the Lead-Based Paint EPA Pamphlet.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.

Questions about North Dakota landlord-tenant laws can be asked in our Landlord Q&A Forum, and additional North Dakota rental resources are also available.


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