North Carolina Residential
Lease Agreement for
Rental Properties


The information provided on this website does not, and is
not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all
information, content, and materials available on this site
are for general informational purposes only. You should
contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any
particular legal matter and before you use any information
or documents found on this website.

Download Free Form


Leases are the cornerstone of a successful landlord-tenant relationship, providing a legal framework for both parties to enter a harmonious agreement.

In North Carolina, residential lease documents—including their structure, nature, and contents—are regulated by North Carolina landlord tenant laws. For this reason, it’s imperative to understand the intricacies of the law before constructing a lease.

This guide will walk you through the crucial components of an NC lease agreement, ensuring you’re well-equipped to make informed decisions. And to make your journey easier, we’re offering a free North Carolina lease template for download!

An NC lease agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions governing the rental of a residential property within the state. This lease adheres to North Carolina’s landlord-tenant laws, providing a clear framework for both landlords and tenants to follow and fostering a secure and transparent rental environment.

The following components should be included in every North Carolina lease agreement.

Lease Term

This section specifies the lease’s start and end dates, establishing the duration of the rental agreement.


Here, you’ll find details regarding the rent rate, due date, and the status of rent control. In North Carolina, rent control laws are banned. This means no city or county in the state can pass a law that regulates the amount of rent landlord can charge, so you can charge any reasonable amount for rent in the lease.

Late Fees

The penalties for missing rent payments should be clearly stated in the lease, as should any exceptions. In North Carolina, late fees are limited to $15 or 5% of monthly rent, whichever is greater (if rent is due in weekly installments, this limit is decreased to $4 or 5%). There is also a five-day mandatory grace period in North Carolina, meaning that no late fees may be charged until at least five days after the rent due date.

North Carolina landlords should clearly explain the late fee policy in every lease—including the late fee amount and grace period, so that tenants understand exactly what will happen if they are late on rent.

Security Deposit

This section of the lease includes details about the security deposit, including its amount, where it will be stored, and how/when it will be returned.

Security deposits amounts are regulated by North Carolina law. The maximum or limit for deposits in this state is 2 months’ rent, and this limit applies to all leases with terms greater than month to month (NCGS § 42-50). Additionally, North Carolina law requires landlords to keep security deposits in trust accounts with a licensed and federally insured bank or a bond from a licensed insurance company. When the lease ends, North Carolina landlords are required to return security deposits (minus any deductions) within 30 days (NCGS § 42-52).

All North Carolina lease agreements should state the security deposit amount and procedures for its return to the tenant at the end of the tenancy.

Required Disclosures

This section encompasses crucial required disclosures in North Carolina, which are information that must be disclosed to the tenant in the lease before they agree to rent the property. In North Carolina, the required disclosures are:

  • Lead-based paint – Landlords in all 50 states must disclose lead-based paint hazards in rental agreements for most properties built before 1978.
  • Utility disclosure — North Carolina landlords who pay for certain utilities must disclose the owner’s liability should the utility company cut off service.
  • Security deposit location — Landlords in North Carolina must disclose to tenants the name and address of the bank or institution where their security deposit is being stored within 30 days after the lease term begins.
  • Residential property disclosure statement – If a NC landlord is leasing with the option to purchase for properties with one to four units, and the lessee does not intend to occupy the unit, the landlord must provide a disclosure statement about the characteristics and condition of the property, in addition to the Mineral and Oil and Gas Rights Mandatory Disclosure Statement.

Landlord Right to Entry

In North Carolina, there are no specific laws governing when a landlord can enter a rental property. However, landlords generally give at least 24 hours’ notice before entering a property for any non-emergency reason. In your North Carolina lease agreement, be sure to include the landlord’s right to entry and describe the circumstances in which you might enter (e.g., showings, inspections, etc.).

Repairs & Maintenance

The lease outlines how and when tenants should submit maintenance requests and clarifies the process for addressing necessary repairs. Every North Carolina residential lease agreement should specify which maintenance responsibilities are the landlord’s and which are the tenant’s.

Lease Termination/Renewal Procedures

This section details the procedures for early lease termination and breaking the lease, including eviction processes. Specifically, the lease should clearly state how many days’ notice the tenant needs to provide the landlord to announce their intent to either renew or terminate the lease.

A North Carolina residential lease agreement should also clearly describe what happens if the tenant breaks the lease. Before filing for eviction in North Carolina, landlords must send eviction notices of specified lengths: A ten-day pay or quit notice for late rent or an immediate quit notice for lease violations and illegal activity. These notice periods should be specified to the tenant so that both parties are clear on what will happen if the tenant fails to uphold the lease agreement.

Community Rules

Any specific community rules or regulations, such as policies on smoking, guests, and pets, are listed in this section. You may also include a North Carolina sublease agreement if tenants are permitted to sublease their units.

Joint and Severability Clause

This clause is for leases with multiple roommates and explains the legal consequences if one party fails to fulfill their obligations. It ensures that the entire lease isn’t invalidated due to one roommate’s breach.


Both the landlord and tenant will sign the lease either on paper or electronically, ensuring a secure and convenient process.

North Carolina Lease Agreement Download

To make your leasing journey simpler, we offer a free, downloadable North Carolina lease agreement. This template is tailored to meet the specific requirements of North Carolina state law, making it a valuable tool for landlords and tenants.


Understanding the nuances of a North Carolina residential lease agreement is vital for a smooth and legal tenancy. We hope this guide has provided you with a clear understanding of the components of a North Carolina lease. To get started on the right foot, download our free North Carolina lease template and ensure a transparent, lawful, and satisfying rental experience.