Whether you're a tenant or a landlord in Winston-Salem, understanding the statewide landlord-tenant law is important. Why? Because with this knowledge, you'll be able to deal with the many potential legal issues on your own.
The following is a basic overview of North Carolina's landlord-tenant law.
Required Landlord Disclosures in the State of North Carolina
As a landlord, North Carolina laws require that you make certain information known to tenants.
Here are some examples:
Lead Paint : Was the rental building built before 1978? If so, federal law requires that you make the information known to the tenant before they sign the lease agreement. In addition, you must give them an EPA-approved information pamphlet.
Structural Damage : You must also disclose any structural damage that has occurred to the property such as mold, roof, insect, smoke, fire, and water damage.
Utilities : If you provide utility services such as electricity, gas, or water, you become liable for any inconvenience the utility service company causes.
Security Deposits : You must also disclose important information regarding security deposits. For example, how it'll be stored, whether it'll be interest bearing, and the conditions for its return. For more information on the security deposit laws in North Carolina, click here.
NC Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
Tenants in North Carolina have the right to:
- Remain in the property until the landlord has followed the right procedure to have them evicted.
- Have requested repairs done without unnecessary delays.
- Get notified whenever the landlord makes changes to the terms of the lease agreement.
- Get receipts after every rent payment.
- Enjoy their residence in peace and quiet.
- A safe and secure habitable property.
When it comes to responsibilities, North Carolina tenants are responsible for:
- Issuing a notice to the landlord when looking to vacate the premises.
- Abiding by all the terms of the lease or rental agreement.
- Paying rent on time.
- Taking care of the property.
- Notifying the landlord when maintenance issues appear.
- Keeping noise levels reasonable.
NC Landlord Responsibilities and Rights
In North Carolina, landlords have a right to:
- Be provided with a 30 days' written notice by month-to-month tenants who are looking to leave.
- Enter the premises to make important repairs.
- Change the terms of the lease, so long as they consult the affected tenants.
- Evict a tenant that seriously violates the terms of the lease agreement.
- Know when a tenant is looking to leave town for an extended period of time.
As for responsibilities, landlords are responsible for:
- Following the right legal process when evicting a tenant for serious lease violation.
- Abiding by all the terms of the lease or rental agreement.
- Providing tenants with 15 days' notice when looking to change a rental agreement.
- Maintaining the property's peace and quiet.
- Giving renters at least 24 hours' notice when looking to access their homes.
- Making requested repairs within a reasonable time frame after a tenant has requested them.
- Complying with all habitability codes that affect the property.
An Overview of North Carolina's Landlord-Tenant Laws
1. Entry Laws
Almost every state has laws compelling landlords to provide their tenants with notices prior to accessing their units. However, the state of North Carolina doesn't have this law. That said, most landlords in Winston-Salem notify their tenants at least 24 hours prior to entering their homes.
Landlords often require entry to a rental unit for a myriad of reasons.
Some of the reasons include to:
- Make needed repairs.
- Inspect the rental unit.
- Show the rental unit to potential buyers, tenants or even lenders.
- Issue a notice to evict the tenant.
- Check whether it has been abandoned.
2. Fair Housing Rules
According to anti-discriminatory rules, every person has an equal chance to be considered for housing. As per the North Carolina Fair Housing Act, discriminating an existing or a potential tenant based on sex, race, national origin, color, familial status, and religion is illegal.
3. Security Deposit Laws
Although not a requirement by law, many landlords require a security deposit before a lease can be signed. The role of a security deposit is to help cushion a landlord against potential financial ruin by the tenant.
Financial ruin may occur when a tenant, for instance, causes excessive property damage, or moves out without clearing rent or utility bills.
How much a landlord can charge a tenant for security deposit depends on the term of the lease. For a week-to-week tenancy, for example, a landlord must charge the equivalent of two week's rent as deposit.
Once the tenant vacates the unit, the law requires landlords to return the tenant's security deposit within 30 days.
For the original text regarding North Carolina security deposits, please check North Carolina General Statues §§ 42-50.to 42-56.
4. Landlord Retaliation
All forms of landlord retaliation are illegal in the state of North Carolina. Landlord retaliation occurs when a landlord harasses tenants who are simply exercising their legal rights.
Examples of actions that a court may deem retaliatory include:
- Decreased services
- Failure to respond to tenant maintenance requests within a reasonable time
5. Small Claims Court in North Carolina
A small claims court, also known as a Magistrate's Court, is part of the District Court Division. In North Carolina, a small claims court can hear disputes up to $10,000.
If you need more help, please consider hiring professional legal services or an experienced property management company. TE Johnson & Sons is a reputable property management company that has been serving Winston-Salem area since 1928.
Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws frequently change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.