North Carolina Rental Laws

Last updated on November 8, 2016 by

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. 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, I only recommend contacting 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 the 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 NC, or furnish a bond from an insurance company licensed to do business in NC. (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 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 because the tenant pays for the credit report directly.
  • Late Fees:
    • If rent is due in monthly installments, the landlord may charge a late fee of $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 of $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). I recommend using Cozy to collect rent online to nearly eradicate late payments.
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): No Statute
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No Statute
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: No (NCGS § 42-25.9)
  • 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 5-7 days after lawful repossession of the property and formal written notice to 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 at the tenant’s expense within 48-72 hours depended on the situation. (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.

Landlord-Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

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692 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Kim

    Our landlord put our rental home on the market several months ago. We did not receive any type of notification they were doing so. Our current lease ends 9/30. We have not received and or given notice that we will be leaving the premises. Our lease states landlord or tenant must give a 30 day notice. We learned 3 days ago there is a contract on the house. The buyer is not an investor and they are due to go to closing in less then a months’ time. What are our rights?

  • Tabitha Marsh

    I currently rent through a realtor and signed a lease when I first moved in. However, I did not resign a lease after my year lease ended so I assumed that I was on a month to month lease. When I contacted the realtor to let her know that I had found a new place she informed me that I was in a year lease. She explained that in the contract it automatically renews without signing a new lease is this true? Also, what can I do now?
    Thank you,
    Tabitha Marsh

  • Don Know

    I had a renter which rented my house for over 7 years.
    Over time he got behind on rent. Probably ever since 2010 he gradually fell behind
    Since it was a friend who fell on hardship, I asked him to make up over time.
    Now that he moved out in July’16, I’m still waiting for those few months in rent.
    I’m thinking about going to court.
    Is there a statue of limitation on owed rent?

  • Tracy l

    I was doing a rent to own and paying $1,500 a month for 3 bedroom house and 1 bedroom cabin. The agreement said 1-4 beedroom house and 3 bathrooms. Which isn’t the case it’s 2 separate units about 30 feet apart. After $3,000 deposit and being here 10 months paying $1,500 a month I find out the cabin isn’t legal that health dept wouldn’t pass it and the shower water and sink water run down the hill into the creek. Can I get my money I invested into this place back for trying to sell me an illegal home

  • Denise b

    I plan on moving out within the same month that has already been paid and my current landlord specks as if he’s not going into give my deposit back. There are no damages to the apt everything is the same as it was when I moved in. My question is by law can he keep my deposit? And what do I need to do to get my deposit back? Thank you

  • ffro

    my landlord sold my property and i was month to month… now the new owners want to go up on rent and want me to sign a lease, pay an application fee, and etc.. as if i just moved in.. i have been in my place for going on 5 years… is that legal? Also i just found out that my building may have bed bugs and the management of my condo does not treat for this ??? is this legal ? what should i do

  • Sylina Lambert

    I’m currently renting a lil house in Lumberton N.C and the landlord doesn’t have any kind of heating n air system they’re not doing any of our repairs like installing cabinets, better flooring what can or should I do thanks in advance

  • Mary J Satre

    During a manic episode, my daughter signed a six month sub-lease contract on an apartment she cannot afford. Can she get out of this contract due to her mental illness?

  • Frances DesRosiers

    I was charged an entrance fee of 3,000 the reason being (verbally) as assisted care fee. Is this legal?

  • Pamela Sutterfield

    We have rented a space to this gentleman to place his mobile home on for the past 10 plus years and have not gone up on the rent. Now because of taxes we feel we need to increase the amount of the rent from $175. to $200. Is this too much at one time?

    Your feedback would be appreciated.

    • Ashli

      This is more than fair in my opinion. my landlord just increased my rent by $25 after one year.

    • Scott

      After 10 years you only want to go up $25.00. That is more the an a fair amount to raise the rent. Where I’m at in NC, single wide lot rent starts at about $300.00 a month. The bad thing is that’s the price that is also the starting rate for double-wides as well. I wish you where renting space by me. If I were you I’d raise it to $225.00.

  • C. Smith

    I’m a renter of a townhouse in Holly Springs. We discovered a water leak and reported it to the landlord but by that time, our next bill was over $1100. We’ve tried to get the bill total lessened by the city with no luck. Who ultimately is responsible for paying for a leak stemming from a leaking bathroom toilet?

  • Desperate for answers

    we lived in a rental for 2 yrs, paid $1,000 security deposit and first month’s rent. Month-to-month. Landlord decided to put rental home on market. He gave us the opportunity to purchase the home. We said no, so he put the home on the market. We gave him a written notice on 9/12/16 that we would be leaving 9/30 – not exactly a 30-day notice. In the meantime, I became quite ill and out of work for 2-3 days due to a bug, a torrential rainy weekend the week before Hurricane Matthew hit (NC). All said and done, we could not because of high water in the yard get the last of our stuff out until 10/10 which ended up being 30 days. Landlord was aware. Utilities were cut off 10/5;we had not lived there since 10/2;help

  • Brenda

    I have a month to month agreement on the house I live in but no written lease. I want to move out December 15th but the landlord wants me to pay all of Decembers rent. Do I have to do that?

  • Cesi

    Can my COA in Charlotte place limitations on me getting a roommate? Can they say I
    must have the roommate sign a lease for more than X-months? These rules were
    not in the original covenants — the covenants have updated to include this rule.

  • Cody

    i live with my mom whom rents a house from my grandparents none of us ( my mom nor my self are on a written lease) my mom and myself have agreed upon an amount that I need to pay to my mom for rent, can my mom legally just “throw me out” without an eviction notice?

  • Susan Hatrick

    We have rented a tri-level house going on 5 years in Chapel Hill. Our son and and his family lived in the upper apartment we lived in the lower. They are splitting up, now our landlord are saying we may have to move if their daughter can’t find 2 roomates. It has something to do with off campus housing. Is this for real. Do we have any legal right to stay here. We have never been late with the rent. We can’t afford to move at this time being on a fixed income

  • Srikanth

    I am a tenent in charlotte,NC. I am renting a room in an house and she said you can use the kitchen and living room. Month-to-month contract.
    The lease is about to end in 2 the owner wants me to put from the house just giving 2 days of immediate notice.
    Now She is threatening me my pointing her finger to my face you must leave the house by tomorrow 12:00pm.
    She also says that she is a citizen and am a fucking immigrant.
    Is this right to do.
    She has camaras in house and always try’s to spy on me.
    What should I do now?
    Please suggest me.
    I can’t find another house right now within this short period and is also said clearly that I will leave on 29th Jan. She wants me to leave by 4th jan.
    Now I am legal immigrant and now I am scared.

  • Tabitha Rodriguez

    Our roommate moved out and his name is the only name on the lease. However I do have rent reciepts with my name on them. I received an eviction notice today but doesnt have mine or my fiancees name on it. Do I still go to court or what should I do? I also noticed the landlord has been inside the home while I was away because she took my trash out.

  • Kimberly Baker

    Today we signed a rental home contract. After we got home we decided we don’t won’t the rental. The landlord is holding our check until Monday. Can we legally back out.

  • Sam

    I’m currently renting a space in a RV park, what are my rights when the owner says he’s kicking me out and I haven’t done anything. How many days legally do I have to move my camper

  • Kimberley Cooley-Wilson

    Q: we (roomate) just signed a one year lease, Complex is Under New Management (3rd time) and they fully renovated a portion of the units mine is an older unit and it seems It’s Time to be renovated they are offering me a similar unit two bedroom but it will come at a higher price. I’ve been in my apartment for over 5 years and the rent yes that’s gone progressively up but not to what it will be if I move to another unit. If I agree to this move can it be temporary to a temp apt & move back to my old one, i work from home my address is important

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