North Carolina Landlord Tenant Laws
January 17, 2023
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|Required Disclosures |
Security deposit location
Residential property disclosure statement
Rent and Fees
Application Fees: N/A
Rent Control: Banned
Late Fee Limit: $15 or 5% of monthly rent
Grace Period Minimum: 5 days
Amount Limit: 2 months’ rent
Return Within: 30 days
|Fair Housing Protections |
Permitted Times of Entry: N/A
Rent Demand Notice: 10-day pay-or-quit notice
North Carolina Landlord-Tenant Law
Understand the essential North Carolina landlord tenant laws before enforcing your own rental policies. Find more information in the North Carolina state law code.
Landlords in all 50 states must include information about lead-based paint hazards in the rental agreements for most properties built before 1978. Sellers and landlords must distribute an EPA-approved information pamphlet called “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” and disclose any known lead hazards in the property. These obligations were established by Section 1018 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.
Security Deposit Location
Landlords in North Carolina must disclose to their tenants the name and address of the bank or institution where the deposit is located, or the name of the insurance company providing the bond, within 30 days after the lease term begins.
North Carolina landlords who agree to supply and pay for certain utilities in the lease must include a disclosure stating the owner’s liability should the utility company cut off service. If utility service will be cut off in the future due to nonpayment, the landlord must also give written notice to the tenant.
Residential Property Disclosure Statement
(NCGS § 47E-4, 4.1)
Owners who lease with the option to purchase properties with one to four dwelling units, if the lessee does not intend to occupy the dwelling, are required to provide this disclosure statement about the characteristics and condition of the property. Sellers who meet these criteria must also include the Mineral and Oil and Gas Rights Mandatory Disclosure Statement.
Rent and Fees
- Rent Due Date: Rent in North Carolina is due on the date specified in the lease.
- Application Fees: Rental application fees are not regulated in North Carolina.
- Rent Increases: Rent control is banned in North Carolina. No city or county in the state may “enact, maintain, or enforce any ordinance or resolution which regulates the amount of rent” for single-family or multi-unit residential or commercial properties owned privately (NCGS § 42-14.1).
- Late Fees: $15 or 5% of monthly rent, whichever is greater. If rent is due in weekly installments, landlords cannot charge more than $4 or 5% of weekly rent, whichever is greater (NCGS § 42-46(a)).
- Grace Period: 5 days (NCGS § 42-46(a)).
- NSF/Bounced Check Fee Maximum: A new law passed by the North Carolina Legislature in 2019 increased the NSF fee maximum to $35 instead of $25 (NCGS § 25-3-506). If your tenant’s rent check bounces because of insufficient funds or no account, you may charge an NSF processing fee of up to $35.
- Withholding Rent/Repair and Deduct: If the landlord fails to make necessary repairs within a reasonable amount of time, tenants in North Carolina cannot withhold rent or repair and deduct unless agreed to in the lease. However, tenants may file an action in Small Claims Court for a rent rebate or refund (NCGS § 42-41).
- Deposit Limit: Security deposits in North Carolina must not exceed two weeks’ rent for week-to-week tenancies, one and one-half months’ rent for month-to-month tenancies, and two months’ rent for terms greater than month to month (NCGS § 42-50).
- Interest: No state statute requires North Carolina landlords to pay interest on security deposits.
- Return Within: 30 days (NCGS § 42-52).
- Deposit Location: Security deposits should be deposited in a trust account with a licensed and federally insured depository institution, another authorized to do business in this State, or the landlord may furnish a bond from a licensed insurance company in North Carolina (NCGS § 42-50).
- Withholding: Landlords may withhold funds from the security deposit for damage to the premises, damages due to nonpayment or nonfulfillment of the rental period, unpaid bills, the costs of re-renting the property after a breach of lease, the costs of storing the tenant’s property after eviction, and court costs for evictions (NCGS § 42-51). Landlords may not withhold funds for conditions due to normal wear and tear (NCGS § 42-52).
Tenant Screening and Fair Housing Protections
- The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability (Title 24 USC § 3601-3607). The North Carolina Fair Housing Act reaffirms these protections (NCGS § 41A-4).
- North Carolina landlords are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (15 USC § 1681), which outlines the responsibilities of landlords to protect tenant credit information. According to the Act, landlords may not share tenant credit information with anyone without a legal reason to view it. They must also investigate disputed information, dispose of credit reports after use in tenant screening, and notify applicants when their credit score or history was the reason for their denial.
- Criminal background checks may be used during tenant screening in North Carolina as grounds to refuse to rent a property (NCGS § 42-14.5).
- North Carolina landlords should follow HUD recommendations for using criminal background checks fairly. This includes avoiding blanket policies for denying applicants with criminal convictions, assessing applicants and their criminal histories on a case-by-case basis, and only denying an applicant when they demonstrate a risk to the safety of other residents or the property.
- Advanced Notice: There is no state law in North Carolina requiring landlords to give advance notice before entering a property.
- Permitted Times: North Carolina state law does not designate any time-of-day restrictions for entering.
- Emergency Entry: There are no laws in North Carolina regarding emergency entry without notice. Since landlords are not required to give advanced notice before entry, emergency entry is also permitted.
- Rent Demand Notice: 10 days to pay or quit (NCGS § 42-3). This notice is in accordance with North Carolina eviction laws.
Other Laws and Facts About North Carolina
- Reasonable, nonrefundable pet deposits are permitted in North Carolina (NCGS § 42-53).
- The median rent rate in North Carolina is $1,850.
- The median rent rate in Charlotte is $1,975.