North Carolina Rental Laws

Written on March 28, 2014 by , updated on June 14, 2018

North CarolinaThis article summarizes some key North Carolina landlord-tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county or city to city. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, you should contact a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the North Carolina Bar Association.

Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: Not to exceed two weeks’ rent if a tenancy is week-to-week, one and one-half months’ rent if a tenancy is month-to-month, and two months’ rent for terms greater than month to month. (NCGS § 42-51)
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit: NCGS § 42-51 outlines the allowable uses of the deposit.
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days, unless the landlord needs more time to evaluate damage, upon which an interim notice may be sent within 30 days, with a final determination within 60 days. (NCGS § 42-52)
  • Security Deposit Interest: No Statute
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account:
    • Landlord is required to deposit the funds into a trust account with a licensed and insured bank or savings institution in the State of North Carolina, or furnish a bond from an insurance company licensed to do business in North Carolina. (NCGS § 42-50)
    • The landlord must notify the tenant within 30 days after the beginning of the lease term of the name and address of the bank or institution where his deposit is currently located or the name of the insurance company providing the bond. (NCGS § 42-50)
  • Pet Deposits: A reasonable non-refundable pet deposit is allowed (NCGS § 42-53)
  • Advance Notice of Deposit Withholding: No (NCGS § 42-52)
  • Move-Out Checklist/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (NCGS § 42-52)
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
  • Receipt of Deposit: No Statute

Lease, Rent and Fees:

  • Rent Is Due: No Statute
  • Rent Increase Notice: No Statute
  • Rent Grace Period: 5 days (NCGS § 42-46(a))
  • Application Fees: No Statute. Use Cozy to avoid charging application fees, since the tenant pays for the credit report directly.
  • Late Fees:
    • If rent is due in monthly installments, the landlord may charge a late fee up to $15.00 or five percent (5%) of the monthly rent, whichever is greater. (NCGS § 42-46(a)(1))
    • If rent is due in weekly installments, the landlord may charge a late fee up to $4.00 or five percent (5%) of the weekly rent, whichever is greater. (NCGS § 42-46(a)(2))
  • Prepaid Rent: No Statute
  • Additional Fees: Some fees are allowed and are specified in (NCGS § 42-46)
  • Returned Check Fees: $25 (NCGS § 25-3-506). Use Cozy to collect rent online to nearly eradicate late payments.
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): A tenant cannot withhold rent for any reason unless a judge or civil magistrate allows the tenant to do so (NCGS § 42-44)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No Statute
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Yes (NCGS § 42-46 and NCGS § 42-33)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages, including an Attempt to Rerent: No Statute

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No Statute. Typically no notice is needed as the lease simply expires.
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Year-to-Year Lease: One month or more before the end of the current year of the tenancy. (NCGS § 42-14)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 7 days (NCGS § 42-14)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: 2 days (NCGS § 42-14)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – The Leasing of a Space for a Manufactured Home: 60 days (NCGS § 42-14)
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No Statute
  • Termination for Nonpayment: 10 days (NCGS § 42-3)
  • Termination for Lease Violation: Immediately (NCGS § 42-26)
  • Required Notice before Entry: No Statute, but 24 hours is recommended
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): No Statute
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: No Statute
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No Statute
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (NCGS § 42-25.9)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (NCGS § 42-25.9)
  • Self-Help Evictions: If a tenant is unlawfully evicted, the landlord is liable for the actual damages incurred to the tenant. (NCGS § 42-25.9)
  • Abandonment of Personal Property: Personal property is considered abandoned 10 days after lawful repossession of the property and formal written notice is posted inside and outside of the property, and there has been no communication from the tenant. Landlords must follow specific instructions in NCGS § 42-25.9 and NCGS § 42-36.2 .

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Landlord’s Duties: A detailed list of landlord responsibilities is provided in NCGS § 42-42.
  • Renter’s Duties: A detailed list of tenant responsibilities is provided in NCGS § 42-43.
  • Domestic Violence Situations:
    • Proof of Status: Landlord is entitled to verify claim of Domestic Violence status. (NCGS § 42-42.2)
    • Protection from Termination: Landlord cannot terminate a tenancy, fail to renew a tenancy, or refuse to enter into a rental agreement with a victim of domestic violence. (NCGS § 42-42.2)
    • Early Termination Rights: A tenant is allowed to terminate a lease with 30 days written notice and proof of Domestic Violence status. (NCGS § 42-45.1)
    • Locks: Upon request, the landlord must change or re-key the locks, or give the tenant permission to do so, at the tenant’s expense within 48 hours if the perpetrator does not live in the same dwelling unit as the victim, and 72 hours if the perpetrator lives in the dwelling unit. If a landlord fails to change the locks within 48 hours, a tenant may do so, but must give a copy of the keys to the landlord within 48 hours. (NCGS § 42-42.3)
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.
  • Retaliation: For 12 months thereafter, a landlord must not terminate or refuse to renew a lease to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, been involved in a tenant’s organization, made a good faith complaint, or exercised a legal right. Other actions are prohibited. (NCGS § 42-37.1)

Court and Legal Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.

Related Links

Housing Authorities

REALTORS® Associations

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861 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Wendell Phillips

    1. My tenant vacated the property five months ago. I failed to send an itemized list of repairs, is there a penalty for failing to do so? Do I forfeit the balance owed?

    2. The total amount of repairs exceeds the initial deposit, can I still collect? If so, is collection of monies owed civil suit or only after failed attempts to collect.

    The property is located in North Carolina.

  • Karla

    I currently just moved into a property on 1/2/20 found black mold spores everywhere on all the windows. It only been a week in living here I have four young children. I know black mold can be dangerous. The landlord is responsible for solving this problem correct? If not fixed I can break the lease for the home being uninhabitable right?

  • Jessica Carter

    First let me state that i do not have a written lease. However i have been renting for 5 months now paying $675 per month and have some of the utilities in my name. The first of the year i got a roommate with the knowledge of my landlord the rent went to $900. My boyfriend has been staying over rather frequently so my landlord asked for more money. There were some disputes over this but i did agree to pay additional since she paid .electric and water. I figured all is good. Then today she informed me we all had to move out February 1st. Her reason… well she told me to ask my nephew??? He is a police officer and without knowing her or her vehicle pulled her over because her tags were expired and the car was uninsured. Can she do that?

  • scott

    they was no lease sign she was thire three months thy mane thing was no smocking in house and no animal. she done this any way. plus the house was dirty,thingswere still thire after the 15th of the month she wants despost back im cleaning the house with that do I owe her

  • billie a moore

    I got my kids a home their in park I paid cash for home now the kids want to move not happy I paid 49,000.00 wamt to sell for 35,000.00 it is 2019 new 3 bedroom 2 full bath room please call me 803 357 4512 my name is billie

  • Kordell walker

    I’m in a rough situation..2 yes ago I moved in with my girlfriends mobile home that she was renting frm a landlorf.. The landlord gave me permission to live their but i never got to sign any documents or lease.I helped with the rent and gottn furniture..Well I had end up incarcerated for 2 months during this time my girlfriend wanted to stay with her family until she can bond me out.she told the landlord that she was not moving out but that she was scared to b by her self and that she was gettng me out of jail then we was going to mobile home..Also letting her kno that she was gonna pay the rent but it would b after getting me out which the landlord agreed 2mnth later we we get their and all our stuff was gone can can i sue as tenant?

  • Angela Harris

    I put down a significant amount of money the other day for a rent to own property
    .including the first months rent. After discovering the landlord has a different business name and had several complaints against them. I informed them that I am not comfortable moving forward and ask for my money back. I have not been approved yet or signed or even viewed a lease to own agreement. I did offer to pay an application fee for thier time and ask the remaining to be refunded to me. I’m scared I’m not going to get my money back. In NC do they have a right to keep my money even before they approve my application?

  • Dana

    I’m renting an apartment here in nc. I paid a deposit when I moved in. I am renewing my lease. They are trying to charge me another deposit. Is this typical? Legal?

  • Dana

    I’m renting an apartment here in nc. I paid a deposit when I moved in. I am renewing my lease. They are trying to charge me another security deposit. Is this typical? Legal?

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