Leases in North Carolina can be written or verbal, and once a landlord and a tenant have signed the lease, the statewide landlord-tenant law automatically grants each party certain rights and responsibilities.
As a landlord, you become entitled to rights such as the right to prompt rent payment and the right to evict a tenant for gross lease violations. Your tenants are also afforded certain rights such as the right to the return of their security deposit and the right to live in a habitable dwelling.
These rights exist regardless of whether or not they are mentioned in the lease.
We at Ballo Realty Property Management have made a basic overview of North Carolina landlord-tenant laws.
Required Landlord Disclosures in North Carolina
As a landlord in North Carolina, you must disclose certain information to your tenants. The following are the disclosures:
- Disclosure of Lead Paint. As a landlord, federal law requires you to disclose known information regarding lead-based paint and its hazards to a tenant before the lease can take effect. You must also give your tenant an EPA-approved information pamphlet.
- Disclosure of Mold. You must disclose information regarding structural damage. Including, but not limited to, mold, insect, smoke, fire, water, and roof damage.
- Disclosure of Utilities. Have you impliedly or expressly agreed to furnish the rental or pay for certain utilities? If you have, then you can be held liable should a utility company cut off service to the tenant’s dwelling.
Tenant Rights and Responsibilities in North Carolina
Tenants in North Carolina have a right to:
- Live in a property that’s both safe and in a good state of repair
- A fair and judicial eviction process
- Be notified when a change is made to the lease agreement
- Have repairs made within a reasonable period of time
- Exercise their rights when the landlord fails in their responsibilities
North Carolina tenants are responsible for:
- Keeping their rented premises well maintained at all times
- Letting their landlords know when important repairs are required
- Keeping noise levels at a reasonable level
- Abiding by all the terms of the lease agreement, including paying rent on time
- Notifying the landlord when they’re going to be away for an extended period of time
- Notifying the landlord when looking to move out of their rented premises
Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords in North Carolina:
North Carolina landlord-tenant laws also afford landlords certain rights. You have a right to:
- Collect rent whenever it falls due
- Raise it according to the lease agreement
- Evict a tenant for gross violations of the lease agreement
- Enter a tenant’s unit to carry out important your responsibilities as a landlord. Such responsibilities include inspecting the unit and showing it to prospective tenants, lenders, or buyers.
- Be served a notice when a tenant is looking to vacate their premises
- Be served a notice when a tenant is looking to be away for an extended period of time
And just like your tenants, you also have certain responsibilities you must abide by when managing a property. You have a responsibility to:
- Follow all terms of the lease agreement
- Maintain the peace and quiet of the rented premises
- Respond to tenant maintenance issues within a reasonable period of time
- Ensure the property meets local, state, and federal habitability standards
- Follow the step-by-step eviction process when seeking to evict a tenant for gross violation of the lease agreement
Overview of the North Carolina Landlord-Tenant Laws
North Carolina landlords have a right to require a security deposit before a tenant can live in their unit. Now, the state has pretty detailed security deposit rules. As a landlord, it goes without saying that you must abide by these rules.
For example, you must make sure not to overcharge your tenants. The amount of security deposit you can charge your tenant depends on the type of lease in effect.
For week-to-week tenants, you must charge no more than the equivalent of the rent of 2 weeks. For month-to-month leases, you must charge a maximum rent of no more than one- and a half month’s rent. For leases longer than one month, you must charge no more than two months’ rent.
A tenant must abide by the terms of the lease agreement. If they don’t, you may have a right to evict them. Common reasons for a tenant eviction in North Carolina include:
- Failure to move after the lease expires
- Causing excessive property damage
- Disturbing the neighbors, especially if it’s repeatedly
- Late payment of rent or failure to pay it at all
- Committing an illegal act
When evicting a tenant, you must follow the statewide eviction process. Using “self-help” eviction methods is illegal. Examples of “self-help” eviction methods include:
- Turning off the heat or electricity
- Removing the front door
- Removing your tenant’s belongings from the premises
- Changing the locks to lock out the tenant
Only a court, via the sheriff’s office, can evict a tenant from their rented premises.
It’s illegal to discriminate against a tenant on the basis of their protected characteristics. In North Carolina, protected characteristics include sex, religion, color, race, familial status, marital status, national origin, and gender expression.
So, when screening a prospective tenant, for instance, it would be illegal for you to ask the following questions.
- Are you married?
- How many children do you have?
- Where are your parents originally from?
- Do you go to church?
There is no legal provision in North Carolina for the landlord’s right to entry. Therefore, you can enter your tenant’s unit without providing any prior notice. That being said, you and your tenant can create agreeable notice policies in the lease agreement.
Remembering all of North Carolina landlord-tenant laws can seem daunting. Do you still require further help? Ballo Realty Property Management is an experienced and trusted property management company in Wake County that is ready to assist you in any way they can.
Disclaimer: The information mentioned in this post is only meant to be informational and is not a substitute for professional legal advice. For questions or edits, kindly get in touch with us.