As a landlord in North Carolina, you must be knowledgeable of all rental regulations including the state's landlord-tenant law. After all, ignorance of the law is never a legal defense.
You might have questions, such as “Can you break a lease in North Carolina?”, “What are my NC landlord responsibilities?”, or even “What are the North Carolina housing regulations?” In unfortunate situations, you may need to know how to handle an eviction.
Both the tenant and landlord have certain rights and responsibilities under North Carolina law. It's therefore important that North Carolina landlords and tenants understand and follow these regulations.
Mark Thomas Properties Property Management can assist you in navigating the legal requirements of owning a North Carolina rental property. While the North Carolina landlord-tenant laws might be straightforward, we will go over the basics for you in this article.
Required Landlord Disclosures
You must make certain information known to your North Carolina tenants prior to them signing the North Carolina lease agreement. The disclosures are as follows.
- Disclosure about lead paint. You must disclose all known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards prior to the tenant signing the lease agreement. In addition, you must give your tenant this pamphlet as well.
- Disclosure on utilities. Have you implied or expressly agreed in the agreement to pay for utilities such as gas, water, or electricity? If you have, then you’ll be liable for any inconveniences that may arise. For example, a disconnection because of nonpayment of the utility bill.
- Disclosure on structural damage. Does your rental property have any structural damage? If so, you must disclose that to your tenant. Structural damage may result from smoke, fire, water, or insects.
North Carolina Tenant Rights & Responsibilities
If, as a landlord, you don't respect the renter's rights, your North Carolina tenants may be able to break their leases without penalty.
Tenant rights in NC include:
- A home that is compliant with health, safety, and building codes.
- Live in peace and quiet, away from any unreasonable disturbances and annoyances.
- Receive notice before landlord entry.
- Be notified when a landlord is seeking to make changes to the lease agreement.
- Remain in their rented premises until the landlord has followed the due eviction process to remove them.
- Exercise their rights when a present landlord fails in their responsibilities. For example, withhold rent payments until the landlord takes care of important repairs.
- To have their security deposits managed within the scope of the law.
North Carolina tenants are responsible for the following under federal law:
- Maintaining their rented premises in clean and sanitary conditions.
- Notifying North Carolina landlords of important repairs on time.
- Part of tenant responsibilities include keeping noise levels at reasonable levels.
- Paying rent on time and to not withhold rent without reason.
- Abiding by all lease terms for the rental unit, including when to pay monthly rent and how to pay rent.
- Providing North Carolina landlords with a notice when looking to be away for an extended period of time.
- Informing the landlord via written notice of their intentions to move out.
- To have their security deposits used to cover any unpaid utility bills if a landlord wishes.
North Carolina Landlord Rights & Responsibilities
Landlord rights in NC include:
- To enter the tenant's rented premises to make required, agreed or requested repairs on the rental unit.
- Be notified when a tenant will be away for long periods of time.
- Be provided with sufficient notice when a tenant is looking to vacate their rented premises.
- To recover any unpaid rent or end the lease early for any number of legal reasons.
Meanwhile, NC landlord responsibilities under North Carolina law include:
- Following all terms of the lease agreement. And when looking to change them, to seek the tenant’s permission.
- Maintaining peace and quiet.
- Serving the tenant sufficient notice when looking to enter their rented premises.
- Responding to tenant's maintenance requests on time.
- Ensuring the property adheres to all the state’s safety, building and health codes.
- Following the legal eviction process when seeking to evict a tenant from the rented premises.
- Managing a security deposit and when a tenant will pay rent as per the rental agreement.
- To not retaliate against a tenant exercising their rights.
- To avoid housing discrimination at any point.
Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in North Carolina
1. North Carolina Housing Laws
Every tenant in North Carolina is protected by the Fair Housing Act, which passed by Congress in 1968. Basically, the Fair Housing Act makes discrimination in housing-related matters illegal. Refusing to rent to a person with a disability, or falsely stating that a unit is unavailable when it is actually available in reality, are both examples of violations of North Carolina housing rules.
At the federal level, there are seven protected classes. They include sex, religion, race, color, disability, national origin, and familial status. North Carolina also has additional protections, such as sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship status, genetic information, sickle cell or hemoglobin C trait, military status, and AIDS/HIV status.
2. North Carolina Security Deposit Law
North Carolina general statutes 42.50 to 42.56 are regarding North Carolina security deposit law. Tenants in North Carolina are protected by the North Carolina Tenant Security Deposit Act. There are regulations placed on property owners that dictate the amount they are allowed to collect for a security deposit, the reasons for deductions, storage requirements, and when a tenant's security deposit must be returned.
3. North Carolina Landlord-Tenant Right of Entry
So, do you have to provide your North Carolina tenant with a notice of entry? No. There are no rules regarding North Carolina landlord right of entry and how much notice you need to provide your tenant prior to entering.
That said, it’s still advisable to provide them with a 24 hours’ notice prior to entering their units.
As a landlord, you may want to enter your tenant’s rented unit for a variety of reasons. For instance, to make repairs, inspect the unit, issue a notice to evict them, or show the unit to prospective tenants, buyers, and lenders.
In addition, the time of entry must be reasonable. For example, between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM during weekdays, and between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM during weekends.
4. North Carolina Lease Termination and Eviction
Landlords may evict their tenants for various reasons, including nonpayment of rent, violation of the rental agreement, illegal activities, or even refusal by the tenant to leave after their rental agreement is up. Evicting a tenant is different from North Carolina lease termination, however, so it pays to know the difference.
The first step in any eviction must begin with serving the tenant the proper legal notice. The notice must be written and must state the reason and the notice period. Note that the eviction cannot be an act of landlord retaliation.
Next, landlords can initiate court proceedings if the tenant fails to comply with the eviction notice. If the claims amount to $10,000 or less, landlords can file the eviction lawsuit in a small claims court. But if filing for more, then a landlord would need to do so at a district court and cover any court costs.
If the judgment falls in the landlord's favor, then they must request a Writ of Restitution. This is a legal document that will instruct the sheriff to carry out the eviction on your behalf. And this is only required if the tenant is still adamant about remaining on the rented premises even after the court ruling.
5. North Carolina Landlord-Tenant Law Repairs
Tenants in North Carolina are entitled to a property that meets the basic health, structural, and safety standards. This means that under landlord-tenant law, pest control and other repairs and maintenance are required for you to cover. Additionally, under North Carolina rental laws, carpet replacement might also be considered a repair you must cover.
If your rental doesn’t meet these requirements, the statewide landlord-tenant law gives your tenants certain rights. For example, withholding rent, calling relevant authorities or a small claims court, repairing by themselves and then deducting the costs from the rent, and even moving out are all well within a tenant’s rights as per their North Carolina lease and North Carolina state laws and regulations.
This article provided a basic overview of North Carolina Landlord-Tenant laws. If you have further questions regarding finer aspects of these regulations, such as NC rental agreement laws, North Carolina pet deposit rules, squatters rights, written rental agreements, or specific questions regarding North Carolina lease termination, Mark Thomas Properties Property Management can help!
We have been reliably and professionally managing rental properties in North Carolina since 1985 and are familiar with NC tenant laws. Contact us today to find out how we can help you!
Disclaimer: This is article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please reach out to an experienced attorney or property management company if you have any questions about North Carolina laws and rental regulations.