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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807 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Deborragh

    I am six months into a 12-month and my apartment now wants a copy of my registration, car insurance and/or title. Is this legal or does the complex have to wait until my lease is up in December to add this to my new lease?

  • john archer

    Active R/E broker for over 30 yrs in NC – # 145270

    Question – If Landlord breaches lease -Tenant Security Deposit Act, in 2 specific ways – does award to tenant of full security deposit refund nullify landlord’s ability to sue for actual damages to unit (house) beyond normal wear and tear?

  • Larry Olson

    OUR LEASE: without notice if tenant holds over beyond initial term ” tenancy shall automatically become a year to year tenancy upon same terms and conditions contained herein. thereafter tenancy may be terminated by either landlord or tenant giving the other 60 days written notice prior to last day of the final period of tenancy.”
    1. tenant A wants out, not filed request, we are past the end of first year of lease (ended Feb 2018). Does “language” allow them to move before the end of the second year with 60 day notice or does it only allow moving out at end second year if they give 60 2. tenant B is 62 days from end of lease wants out if/when they find new place, not happening in next 2 days, are they stuck in lease another year?

  • Lorence Olson

    Says our lease: without notice if tenant holds over beyond initial term “tenancy shall automatically become a year to year tenancy upon same terms and conditions contained herein. thereafter tenancy may be terminated by either landlord or tenant giving the other 60 days written notice prior to last day of the final period of tenancy.”
    1. tenant A wants out, not filed request, we are past the end of first year of lease (ended Feb 2018). Does “language” allow them to move before the end of the second year with 60 day notice or does it only allow moving out at end second year if they give 60 2. tenant B is 62 days from end of lease wants out if/when they find new place, not happening in next 2 days, are they stuck in lease another year?

  • V. Shipman

    I am a widowed grandmother with two adopted grandchildren. I informed my landlord last month that I believe I may be eligible for housing assistance and may be moving soon depending on my eligibility. My landlord sent me a text msg demanding to know within the next 48 hours the name and contact information of the agency to which I have applied and my exact move out date or she will flea an eviction notice. My rent is paid. I have violated no terms of the month-to-month rental agreement. Is this considered a form of harrassment?

    • Feather1454

      I am not a lawyer or expert, but it seems to me that if you have a month-to-month lease it is terminable by either party for any reason at the end of any month that has not yet been paid.

  • Stu

    My tenant has incurred damages via breach of lease during the lease term and repairs have been made. The tenant now refuses to pay the damages but continues to pay rent. Two questions:
    1) Can I deduct the damages from rent payment? And claim rent shortfall?
    2) Can I evict for the unpaid incurred damages? I have no proof that the tenant is now abiding by the lease.

    What is the best solution. Right now considering the damages the deposit will be below one month’s rent if I do nothing.

  • Julie

    I moved out of my house that I was renting from a property management company due to the owner was selling the house. I cleaned the house very good and asked for the security deposit back. The owner put the house up for sale “as is” two days after moving out. He did no repairs to the house and on the real estate website they said “renters and house is clean inside and out” so I asked the property management company for my security deposit back as the owner did not do any work to the house. I have yet to receive the deposit back. Is there anything I can do to get the deposit back?

  • kaye

    live in a home for 22month I have been sick ever since I move there I found black mold inside my bedroom closet and in the other room which was my office I work in 85 percent of my time and found black mold there also found inside the closet call the landlord and a mold inspector found 4inches of dust in ac return that was only a few feet from the closets the landlord told me I might need to move since I was allergic to the mold all he did was spray mold inside the closets I have never been sick before then the contractor wrote a letter and gave it me to replace the whole 2 room I had to find a place to move fast do I have legal right to sue him I am still having problems with my health after 7months

  • Missy

    I have a 2 year lease to end in Spring of 2019 and my landlord told me that he is selling the townhome and that I have to move.
    No clause in my lease mentions the scenario about “if property is sold, then….”
    Do I have to move or is my lease good til end of term?

  • kiran

    Hi
    Is it mandatory to mention number of children in the rental agreement (occupancy list ) for NC state

  • Dave Jones

    I am breaking my lease after 4 months of 12. In the signed agreement there is no mention of any fee, just that I am responsible for rent until someone else moves in. I am being charged a lease renewal fee that the management company says:

    “$200 lease renewal fee due to breaking the lease (Owner paid this when you renewed
    the lease and now has to pay another fee for this new tenant)”.

    Am I responsible for this?

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