Do you own a rental property in North Carolina? As a landlord, it's vital that you remain up-to-date on the state's landlord-tenant law!
In the state of North Carolina, the written or verbal lease and rental agreements give both the landlord and their tenant certain rights and responsibilities.
As a landlord, it’s important to understand everything that you’re obligated to do for your tenant. This will ensure that you’re not only able to build a solid relationship with them, but that you’re able to prevent potential legal issues.
The following is a general overview of the landlord-tenant laws in the state of North Carolina.
Required Landlord Disclosures in the State of North Carolina
Each state requires landlords to make several disclosures to their tenants. As a landlord in North Carolina, you must make the following three disclosures to your tenant prior to lease signing:
- Disclosure of lead-based paint. This is a requirement for landlords renting out units built prior to 1978. You must disclose lead concentrations in paints and finishes.
- Disclosure of late fees. Do you charge tenants a fee for paying rent late? If you do, North Carolina law requires that you disclose it in the lease agreement. If you don’t, the fee will not be enforceable.
- Disclosure of water contamination. You must disclose and provide your tenants with a notice of contaminant levels that exceed the state guidelines.
Tenants’ Responsibilities & Rights in North Carolina
Tenants in North Carolina have the following rights and responsibilities. The right to:
- Not be retaliated against for exercising any of their rights, including forming or joining a tenants’ union to advocate or fight for their rights.
- Be treated equally and fairly regardless of their race, color, nationality, or other protected classes as stated under the Fair Housing Act.
- Have requested repairs carried out in a reasonable time frame.
- Break the lease early in certain legally acceptable circumstances.
- Live in peace and quiet enjoyment of their rental.
- Have their security deposit returned either wholly or partially at the end of the lease term.
- Be evicted through a judicial eviction process.
Tenant is the state also has list of responsibilities which is as follows:
- Comply with all material health and safety codes.
- Maintain the property to the required habitability standards.
- Ensure waste disposal is done in a safe and clean manner.
- Maintain all components and fixtures in a clean and sanitary condition.
- Notify the landlord whenever repairs need to be made to the smoke or carbon monoxide detector.
- Not to unreasonably cause disturbance to other tenants.
- Care for the rental premises.
North Carolina Landlords’ Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords have certain rights and responsibilities under the NC General Statutes Chapter 42 Article 5. A landlord has a right to:
- Evict a tenant who violates a term of the lease agreement.
- Ask for a security deposit from tenants.
- Charge a fee for late rent payments.
- Screen prospective tenants as long as the process is free from any bias on the basis of certain protected classes.
- Charge as much rent as you want for rent and raise it for whatever reason.
- Enter your tenant’s rented unit to perform needed or required tasks.
The following is a list of responsibilities for North Carolina landlords:
- Abide by all terms of the lease agreement.
- Treat all tenants fairly regardless of their race, color, nationality, and any other protected class under the NC Fair Housing laws.
- Only make allowable deductions on a tenant’s security deposit.
- Follow the statewide eviction process when removing a tenant from their rented premises.
- Carry out requested property repairs in a timely and reasonable manner.
An Overview of North Carolina’s Landlord-Tenant Laws
You can evict your North Carolina tenant for a number of reasons. The most common reasons for eviction in the state include the following:
- Failure by the tenant to pay rent on time.
- Violating a term of the lease agreement, such as unlawfully subletting the unit.
- Failure by the tenant to leave after their lease has expired.
- Engaging in illegal activities.
Each of these reasons has a specific procedure for eviction which a landlord must follow for the process to be successful.
As a landlord, you have the right to charge tenants a security deposit. You also have a responsibility to abide by the statewide security deposit rules. The following are some of those rules:
- Charge the right amount. For leases that run weekly, you must charge a maximum deposit of two weeks’ rent. For month-to-month leases, you must charge no more than 1.5 months’ rent. And for leases that are greater than month-to-month, you must charge no more than 2 months’ rent.
- Return the deposit on time. North Carolina landlords must return their tenant’s security deposit within 30 days after they move out.
- A landlord can only make allowable deductions from their tenant’s security deposits.
Early Lease Termination
Tenants in North Carolina can break their lease early in certain legally acceptable circumstances including:
- In the event that there’s an early lease termination clause.
- If a tenant is starting active military service.
- If the tenant experienced landlord harassment.
- If the tenant’s rental unit becomes uninhabitable.
Please note, however, that North Carolina landlords have a duty to “mitigate damages” after a tenant moves out.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating against their tenants on the basis of 7 classes: race, color, religion, nationality, sex, disability, and familial status.
The state of North Carolina doesn’t offer any additional protections beyond those offered at the federal level. The state department tasked with handling housing discrimination complaints is the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings’ Civil Rights Division.
Understanding the state's landlord-tenant laws will help you keep your rental operation legally compliant. If keeping up with your legal and management duties is daunting, consider hiring a property manager.
For expert legal and management help turn to the trusted team at House In Order Property Management. We are a professional property management company you can rely on. We serve Asheville and the surrounding areas. Get in touch to learn more!
Disclaimer: This blog should not serve as a substitute for professional legal advice from a qualified attorney. Laws change and the content in this post may not be updated at the time of your reading.