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North Carolina Tenant Rights

North Carolina Tenant Rights


North Carolina Tenant Rights are the set of laws that govern the relationship between a landlord and a tenant. These laws include the rights and duties of both parties concerning matters such as lease agreements, security deposits, repairs, and eviction. Knowing your rights as a tenant in North Carolina is essential to navigate the rental process smoothly and avoid disputes with your landlord. This article will provide detailed information about North Carolina Tenant Rights, including the most recent laws, so you can confidently protect your interests as a tenant.

Lease Agreements

A lease agreement is a binding legal contract between a landlord and a tenant that outlines the terms of a rental arrangement. It typically includes the rent amount, security deposit, lease term, and any additional charges. North Carolina law does not require a written lease, but it is advisable to have one to avoid disputes later. If there is no written agreement, the landlord and tenant are subject to the terms of an oral agreement.

Lease agreements in North Carolina are regulated by the Residential Rental Agreements Act. The act requires landlords to provide tenants with a written lease agreement before collecting any money or deposits. The lease agreement must include:

– The name and address of the landlord;
– The name and address of the tenant;
– The term of the lease;
– The amount of rent and how it should be paid;
– The amount of security deposit and any other fees;
– The procedure for handling repairs and maintenance;
– The conditions for renewing or terminating the lease.

Security Deposits

A security deposit is a sum of money that a tenant pays to a landlord at the beginning of the lease to protect against damages or unpaid rent. North Carolina law does not limit the security deposit amount, but it requires landlords to return the deposit, minus any lawful deductions, within 30 days of the lease termination date.

The law also stipulates that landlords must provide tenants with a written notice of the security deposit deductions within 30 days after the lease termination date. The notice must specify the amount and reason for the deductions. If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant may sue for double the amount of the security deposit.

Repairs and Maintenance

North Carolina law requires landlords to maintain their rental property in a habitable condition, which means that it is safe and free of hazards that could cause harm to the tenant. Examples of hazardous conditions include:

– Inadequate heating and cooling systems;
– Plumbing problems such as leaks or blockages;
– Electrical issues such as faulty wiring;
– Pest problems such as rodents or insects;
– Structural damage such as roof leaks or foundation cracks.

Landlords must promptly address any repair request by the tenant and make necessary repairs within a reasonable time frame. If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant may file a complaint with the North Carolina Department of Justice or seek legal action against the landlord.

Landlords in North Carolina are also required to install and maintain smoke detectors on each level of the rental property. Failure to comply with this requirement can result in the landlord being fined up to $200.


Eviction is a legal process that allows a landlord to regain possession of their rental property from a tenant who has breached the terms of the lease agreement. North Carolina law requires landlords to follow specific procedures before they can evict a tenant.

The first step in the eviction process is to provide the tenant with a written notice of the breach of the lease agreement. The notice must include the date by which the tenant must remedy the violation or vacate the rental property. The notice period depends on the nature of the violation:

– Non-payment of rent: ten days’ notice;
– Material breach (other than non-payment) of the lease agreement: 30 days’ notice;
– Illegal activity on the rental property: immediate eviction notice.

If the tenant fails to remedy the violation or vacate the rental property, the landlord can file a complaint with the local court and request an eviction order. The tenant has the right to contest the eviction order and present their defense in court.

Fair Housing Laws

Fair Housing Laws are federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination in the housing market based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability. North Carolina has its fair housing law, which adds protection based on age, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

The law applies to all aspects of the housing market, including the rental of apartments, houses, and mobile homes. It prohibits landlords from engaging in discriminatory practices such as:

– Refusing to rent or sell a property based on the tenant’s protected status;
– Setting different rental terms or conditions based on the tenant’s protected status;
– Advertising rental properties in a discriminatory manner.

If a tenant believes that their rights have been violated under fair housing laws, they can file a complaint with the North Carolina Human Relations Commission or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


North Carolina Tenant Rights provide a framework for landlords and tenants to establish a healthy and fair relationship. It is crucial for tenants to know their rights and obligations under the law to protect themselves from exploitative or discriminatory practices by landlords. Armed with this knowledge, tenants can confidently navigate the rental process and avoid disputes with their landlord. If you have questions or concerns about your rights as a tenant in North Carolina, you can seek legal advice from an attorney or a tenant advocacy organization in your area.

General NC Tenant Rights under State Statutes 
North Carolina Tenant Rights
There are numerous NC Tenant Rights under the state’s General Assembly, and several important laws are discussed throughout this article.  For more information on a complete listed of landlord/tenant rights, visit the website listed below.
NC Tenant Rights in Chapter 42-42 Landlord to provide fit premises
This statute is one of the most important laws under North Carolina tenant rights.  The landlord has specific durations of time to fix specific problems within a rental unit according to NC Tenant Rights, and some of these rights 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
NC Tenant Rights in Chapter 42-52 Landlord’s obligations
The NC Tenant Rights listed under this subsection address what a landlord needs to do with a security deposit after the termination of tenancy.  According to this statute, a landlord shall create an itemized list of any damage and deliver the list along with any remaining balance no more than 30 days.
If the extent of the report cannot be completed in 30 days, the landlord must notify the tenant that the damages are being accounted for and the list will be delivered no more than 60 days after the termination of tenancy.
Additionally, North Carolina tenant rights specify that a landlord must hold a security deposit for 6 months if the tenant’s contact information is unknown.  Any damages deducted from the security deposit cannot represent normal wear and tear damages.
NC Tenant Rights in Chapter 42-42.3
The North Carolina tenant rights within this section lay out procedures for changing locks for the tenant’s own protection.  Section (a) of this statute indicates that if a landlord receives oral or written notice that a tenant is in danger of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, the owner of the property must change the locks in 48 hours.
Part (b) of these North Carolina tenant rights specify that if a perpetrator of the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking is a tenant within the same unit as the tenant who made the complaint, the following conditions will apply:
• the tenant who came forward must provide the landlord with a document issued by the court to keep the other tenant away from the property, and the landlord will have to change the locks in 72 hours
• if the landlord receives proper notice, the landlord has no duty to let the perpetrator on the property and is not responsible for any damage to their personal property
• the perpetrator will remain liable for damages and rent
The tenant will be responsible for the fee associated with changing the locks unless the landlord has no made proper changes in the right amount of time.