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North Carolina Renter Rights Overview

North Carolina is a beautiful state with an average rent of $1,165 in Raleigh, and other most notable areas. This makes the NC rental market quite attractive. Our platform offers thousands of apartments for rent in Charlotte, Raleigh and other neighborhoods.

Since we have thousands of apartments for rent in North Carolina, we decided to put the state’s tenant-landlord laws on a spotlight. Let’s see how we can make sure your landlord deals with your lease agreement strictly according to the state laws.

Rental Application

Application fee: Allowed (No specific amount stated)

Rental agreement required: Yes (for 1 year term and more)

Screening rules: No specific rules

State laws do not set the exact application fee amount, but they allow landlords to collect the application fee. There is also no requirement for a landlord to refund this fee. 

Usually, the application fee will be around $35-$75. This should include the credit report and background check along with the other application review services. We want to remind you that Rentberry allows tenants to send free applications. Also, our screening services cost only $24.99.

Security Deposit

Pet deposit maximum: Not stated

Security deposit maximum: 1-2 month’s rent

Return deposit deadline: 30 days

Security deposit interest: Not stated

Legal reasons to keep security deposit: List of damages

There are plenty of the ins and outs that you should know about the North Carolina laws that regulate how a landlord should charge and return security deposits.

First of all, there are two possible scenarios and two maximum amounts of rent deposits in North Carolina.

  • 1-1,5 month’s rent — for those lease agreements with less than 2 months term
  • 2 month’s rent — for all lease agreements with longer term

Pet deposits are also allowed, but state laws do not specify the maximum pet deposit amount. It should be reasonable and can be non-refundable.

Your landlord must return your security deposit within 30 days after you move out. If he doesn’t finalize his damage claim, he can send you an interim accounting after 30 days and then send the full one after 60 days.

Once your landlord collects your security deposit, he must provide you with the name and address of the bank where this deposit will be stored.

NC state laws do not specify anything regarding the interest-bearing account obligations. 

Security and Comfort

Smoke alarms: Required

Rekey requirements: Not stated

Notice before entry: Not required

Entry while tenant is absent: Allowed

NC state laws obligate your landlord to install the smoke alarms with a lithium battery in the rental. Carbon monoxide detectors are required as well in any rental property.

Unfortunately, the law doesn’t regulate the entry notice rules, so your landlord is not required to notify you before entering the rental. However, he can only do that if:

  • He needs to do maintenance or repair
  • He wants to show an apartment to another tenant
  • There is an emergency

As you can see, this can be a real problem, cause all of these reasons can be faked. Make sure you note this in your lease agreement before you eSign your lease.

Rental Payments

Maximum rent: No rent control

Late fees: $15 or 5% of rent payment

Rent increase: No statute regarding the amount of notice

Right to withhold rent for failure to provide essential services (Water, Heat, etc.): Allowed

Tenant’s right to repair and deduct rent: Allowed

First of all, there is no maximum rent amount that a landlord is allowed to charge you. There is no rent control in North Carolina, so it’s up to the market to decide. 

Whenever you’re late on your payment, you can be charged the late fees. Your landlord can charge you no more than $15 or 5% of your monthly rent payment (depending on what’s greater). This late fee can be applied only after the rent payment is 5 days late. 

Basically, each late rent payment can result in only one late fee. It’s a pretty fair law that covers your rights well.

Unfortunately, there is no statute that regulates the amount of notice on rent increase. Your landlord must follow the 7-day notice rule for any changes of your lease agreement details (just as he has for tenancy ending).

If you have a reason to believe that your landlord is exercising the rent increase to discriminate you (for example, because of your race), the state will defend you. If he/she uses the rent increase as retaliation against you, you have a right to oppose these unfair actions. 

You’re allowed to withhold the rent payments if your landlord doesn’t follow his responsibilities on keeping the rental livable. 

When your landlord refuses to repair the most important parts of your rental that make the unit livable, you can:

  • call the authorities and local inspectors
  • make the repairs yourself and deduct the cost from the rent
  • move out
  • withhold rent
  • pay the rent in full, but then sue your landlord and get the difference between the money you paid and the money you spent on the repairs

Lease Terminations

Notice to terminate lease: 7 days

Eviction notice for not paying rent: 10-day demand to pay rent

Eviction notice for lease violation: Not necessary

Move-out-inspection: Required

NC laws require landlords to provide you with the 7-days notice asking to vacate the rental unit. When you move out, you have to have a walkthrough with your landlord to perform the move-out inspection. 

Landlords can evict tenants for non-payment of rent. If you do not pay rent as promised, the landlord will provide you with the 10-day demand to pay rent. After that, your landlord can file for eviction.

Make sure you do not violate your lease conditions. Otherwise, your landlord will have a chance to skip the step of giving you a chance to cure the violation and proceed to eviction.

Landlord and Tenant Law

Official North Carolina Statutes

North Carolina Tenant Handbook 

Disclaimer: Although we have relied on Official State Statutes and other credible sources to find and analyze information for this post, you’re advised to use it as a starting point only, and do not consider this article a substitute for legal advice. Some situations are unique, and it is always better to consult with a qualified lawyer or appropriate government agencies.

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