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North Carolina Landlord-Tenant Laws

A summary of North Carolina Landlord Tenant Laws based on state law statutes as they apply to residential lease agreements executed between landlords and tenants.

Security Deposit Limit

Month-to-month tenancies may be charged up to one and one-half months’ rent for the security deposit. If the term is three months or longer, the equivalent of up to two months’ rent may be collected for the deposit. An additional nonrefundable pet deposit may also be charged as long as it’s reasonable. Whatever amount is collected, the landlord must disclose (within 30 days of the start of the lease) the name and address of the financial institution where the deposit is kept.

Deadline for Returning Security Deposit

After the tenant moves out, the deposit must be returned within 30 days. If for some reason there’s damage requiring additional time, the landlord may provide an initial itemized statement at 30 days and then a final statement with any remaining funds within 60 days.

Small Claims Lawsuits

For civil suits less than $5,000 (including landlord-tenant disputes), small claims court may be used

Late Fees

A late fee cannot be imposed until 5 days after the due date and cannot be higher than $15 or 5% of the amount that’s due. The late fee cannot be deducted from the next month’s rent, causing a subsequent deficiency in rent (and another late fee).

Increasing Rent

There’s no state statute regulating increasing the rent. Therefore, the terms of the lease agreement must reference any future changes in writing.

Tenant’s Right to Withhold Rent

There’s no state statute allowing a tenant to withhold rent. However, there may be case law depending on the particulars of any given situation to justify the remedies available to the tenant.

Termination and Eviction

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-26(a) gives landlords the ability to immediately terminate a lease as long as the lease specifies that eviction will result from noncompliance or holdover of tenancy.

Domestic Violence

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-3 states that the court (including magistrates designated by law), may grant a party exclusive “possession of the residence or household of the parties…” Order may not exceed one year.

North Carolina Lease Agreement

See North Carolina Residential Lease.

North Carolina Landlord-Tenant Law Statutes

North Carolina Gen. Stat. §§ 42-1 to 42-14.2; 42-25.6 to 42-76.