Whether you're a tenant or a landlord in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 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
Landlords must make certain information known to their North Carolina tenants.
Here are some examples:
Lead Paint : Was the rental property built before 1978? If so, federal law requires that a landlord make the information known to the tenant before they sign the lease or rental agreement. In addition, landlords must give them an EPA-approved information pamphlet.
Structural Damage : A landlord must also disclose any structural damage that has occurred to the apartment or home such as mold, roof, insect, smoke, fire, and water damage.
Utilities : If landlords provide utility services such as electricity, gas, or water, they become liable for any inconvenience the utility service company causes.
Security Deposit : A landlord must also disclose important information regarding the security deposit. For example, how it'll be stored, whether it'll be interest bearing, and the conditions for the security deposits return. For more information on these regulations in North Carolina, click here.
NC Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
A North Carolina tenant has the legal right to:
- Remain in the unit until you pursue legal eviction to have them removed.
- Have requested repairs done without unnecessary delays (note that tenants cannot withhold rent payments if repairs are not made).
- Get notified whenever the landlord makes changes to the lease terms.
- Get receipts after all rent payments.
- Enjoy their residence in peace and quiet.
- A safe and secure habitable unit.
When it comes to responsibilities, a North Carolina tenant is responsible for:
- Issuing a notice to the landlord when looking to vacate the premises.
- Abiding by all the terms of the lease agreement or rental agreement.
- Paying the monthly rent on time.
- Taking care of the unit.
- Notifying the landlord when maintenance issues appear.
- Keeping noise levels reasonable.
NC Landlord Responsibilities and Rights
North Carolina landlord-tenant law states that landlords have a right to:
- Be provided with a 30 days' written notice by month-to-month tenants in North Carolina 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 tenant.
- File an eviction if a tenant makes a serious lease agreement violation such as not paying rent.
- Know when a tenant is looking to leave town for an extended period of time.
As for responsibilities, landlords in North Carolina are responsible for:
- Following the right legal process when carrying out a tenant eviction for serious lease violation, starting with serving an eviction notice.
- Abiding by all the terms of the lease agreement.
- Providing a tenant with 15 days' notice when looking to change written rental agreements.
- Maintaining the unit's peace and quiet.
- Giving North Carolina tenants 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 rental space.
An Overview of North Carolina's Landlord-Tenant Laws
1. Entry Laws
Almost every state has rules compelling landlords to provide their tenant 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, North Carolina notify their tenants at least 24 hours prior to entering their homes.
Landlords often require entry to a 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 if it is now an abandoned property.
2. Fair Housing Act
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 North Carolina law, many landlords require security deposits 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 doesn't pay rent. In addition to damages and unpaid rent, it can also be a result of unpaid 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 weeks rent as deposit.
Once the tenant vacates the unit, the landlord-tenant law requires landlords to return the tenant's security deposit within 30 days.
For the original text regarding these state laws, please check North Carolina General Statutes §§ 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
- Landlord fails 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, they can hear disputes up to $10,000.
If you're a landlord in need of more help, or information about the landlord and tenant law, please consider hiring professional legal services or an experienced North Carolina property management company. TE Johnson & Sons is a reputable 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 North Carolina. 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.