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North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law

North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law

As of 2021, the North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law is the legislation that governs the relationships between landlords and tenants in North Carolina. The law is designed to protect the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants while ensuring that fair practices are implemented. If you are a landlord or a tenant in the state of North Carolina, it is important to understand the various rights and obligations that North Carolina’s Landlord Tenant Law imposes on you.

Getting Started with North Carolina Landlord-Tenant Law

Before getting into the technicalities of the North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law, it is important to understand some basic terms. A landlord is typically an individual or group that owns a property and rents it out to a tenant. A tenant, on the other hand, is the individual or group that rents the property from the landlord.

The North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law governs the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants in various areas, such as rent, security deposits, maintenance of the property, eviction, and more. Therefore, it is essential to understand all the terms and conditions before entering into a lease agreement.

Lease Agreement

A lease agreement is a legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of a rental agreement. It includes details regarding the rental property, rent, security deposit, maintenance requirements, late fees, and more.

Lease agreements in North Carolina can be written or verbal. However, it is always better to have a written agreement since it is easier to enforce and avoids misunderstandings between the landlord and tenant. Regardless of the form, it is important to document the terms and conditions in writing to avoid any confusion.


The North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law requires landlords to charge fair rent and to give adequate notice of any increases. The law also states that rent due dates must be reasonable and must comply with the terms of the lease agreement.

Tenants have the right to challenge rent increases that go beyond the fair market rate. The landlord must also provide a written notice of any increase in rent at least 30 days before the new rate goes into effect. If the tenant stays beyond the end of the month in which the lease terminates, the tenant will be deemed to be on a month-to-month lease agreement, and the landlord has the right to increase the rent.

Security Deposits

Security deposits are one of the most disputed areas of the North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law. The landlord can require a security deposit that cannot be greater than two months’ rent. Security deposits are held to cover any damages that may occur during the tenant’s stay. If no damages are found, the landlord must return the full deposit to the tenant within 30 days of the lease termination.

However, upon lease termination, landlords may withhold a portion or the entirety of the deposit but must provide an itemized list of damages that were present along with a basis for the money kept. The landlord’s failure to provide a list within the first 30 days relieves the tenant of any claims of damage to the property by the landlord.


The landlord is required to maintain the rental property to a “”fit and habitable”” standard, which means that the property should have heat, hot water, and other necessities. The landlord must also keep the property pest-free, sanitary, and safe.

Tenants are required to take reasonable care of the rental property to reduce the risk of damage to it. Since the tenants are given possession of the property, they are expected to maintain it in the same condition as when they received it while living there.

By law, tenants have the right to withhold rent payments or repair costs if the landlord does not make necessary repairs within a “”reasonable”” time. The tenant must obtain permission from the landlord before making repairs.


In North Carolina, eviction proceedings are always processed through the local magistrate’s court. The landlord can evict a tenant for non-payment of rent, violating the terms of the lease, or breaking any laws. The landlord must provide the tenant with a 10-day notice before filing for an eviction to let the tenant know that eviction is imminent.

During the court proceedings, the tenant has the right to defend themselves against any allegations of wrongdoing. If the tenant files an affidavit of defense, the court must grant the tenant a hearing to allow them to defend themselves.

If the tenant is found to be in violation of the lease agreement, the court will order the tenant to vacate the rental property within ten days. Depending on how soon the tenant vacates, the landlord may request an additional court order to have the sheriff physically remove the tenant from the premises.


The North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law is designed to protect both landlords and tenants. Understanding the various provisions and requirements of the law is essential for both parties before entering into a lease agreement. Both landlords and tenants have certain rights and obligations that must be adhered to for a smooth relationship. This ensures that rental properties are maintained to a high standard while also providing tenants with the necessary protection against unreasonable rent increases and evictions without proper notice. By working in tandem, landlords and tenants can maintain healthy relationships and respect the rights and obligations of each other.

Quick Guide to Carolina Landlord Tenant Law

North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law

This article will discuss general NC landlord tenant law concerning maintenance of the property, security deposits, and eviction.  For more information refer to the link provided by U.S. Department of Housing or the NC General Assembly:

• https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states/north_carolina/renting/tenantrights

• https://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/Statutes/StatutesTOC.pl?Chapter=0042

NC landlord tenant law and Maintenance 

Chapter 42-42 provides general obligations of the landlord to maintain and repair the property.  Some of these obligations under North Carolina landlord tenant law are listed below:

• the landlord must comply with updated housing code and make repairs whenever possible to keep the property in habitable condition

• keep all common areas clean and safe

• maintain all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, hearing, ventilating, air conditioning, and more

• provide updated smoke detectors and make repairs within 15 days if there is faulty equipment

• provide notice if drinking water is bad

• provide an operable carbon monoxide detector

• immediately repair any dangerous conditions listed in part 8 of Chapter 42-42 under North Carolina tenant rights

Chapter 42-43 describes duties of the tenant under North Carolina landlord tenant law.  Some of these duties include the following:

• keep all areas of occupation clean and safe, including common areas

• dispose of all ashes, rubbish, garbage, and other waste in appropriate manner

• keep all plumbing fixtures clean

• keep from deliberately destroying, defacing, damages, or removing any part of the property including the smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector

• comply with all building and housing codes

• be responsible for any accrued damages other than those listed in 42-42 unless for normal wear and tear

• notify the landlord right away of any damages listed in 42-42

NC landlord tenant law and Security Deposits

Chapter 42-52 of NC landlord tenant law specifies some obligations of the landlord for a security deposit.  An explanation of Chapter 42-52 can be found in the article on this website titled, “General NC Tenant Rights under State Statutes.”

Chapter 42-50 also describes the duties of a landlord under North Carolina landlord tenant law.  The statute indicates that all security deposits need placed in a trust account with a licensed and insured bank or saving institution in NC.  This NC landlord tenant law also states a landlord must notify a tenant of the location of the funds 30 days after the lease has begun.

Under North Carolina landlord tenant law, a tenant also has the right to dispute a returned security deposit if they believe the landlord has unlawfully deducted expenses from the deposit.  If you believe your landlord has violated North Carolina landlord tenant law in security deposits, you can file a claim against the landlord through the court and jurisdiction the residence falls.

NC landlord tenant law and Evictions

A large percentage of North Carolina landlord tenant law addresses different types of evictions.  Article 7 of the statutes explains the rights of the landlord in expediting evictions for drug traffickers and other criminals.

If you believe  a landlord is unlawfully trying to evict you, you should regard the laws under Article 4A and contact a lawyer immediately.