North Carolina, extremely popular for the “OBX” (Outer Banks) where beaches are beautiful and surfing is popular. Camp LeJuene, one of the largest Stateside Marine Corps bases provides a constant need for housing. Whether renting to a military family, or a vacationer, every landlord needs to know North Carolina rental laws! The summary below outlines some basic North Carolina landlord-tenant dos and don’ts.
At a Glance:
Late Fees: Late fees for those who pay monthly may not exceed the latter of either $15 or 5% of the rent amount.
Security Deposit: These vary on the rental arrangement. Month to month, no more than 1 ½ months rent; longer terms, not more than 2 months.
Returned Payment Fee Limit: A fee for a returned payment may not exceed $25.
Notice to Enter: There are no specific statutes regarding this, however reasonable notice of at least one day is sensible.
Late Fee/Returned Check Fee:
Late Fee: Governed by NCGS § 42-46 which states that for leases where the rent is due on a monthly basis, the late charge may be no more than 5% (or $15 whichever is larger). However, if the lease is a week to week lease, 5% or $4.00 whichever is greater may be collected.
Returned Payment: If a rent payment is returned by the financial institution, the landlord may charge a $25 fee.
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According to NCGS § 42-51, the following amounts may be collected as a security deposit. The security deposit may only be used for non-payment of rent, water or sewer or electric payments in accordance with the law, damages to the premises, costs of re-renting, court costs and some other items.
Week to week leases, no more than an amount equal to two weeks rent
Month to month leases, no more than an amount equal to one and a half months rent
Terms greater than month to month, no more than an amount equal to two months rent.
**If the landlord permits a pet, a reasonable, non-refundable fee may be collected.
All security deposits must be placed in a banking institution within the state of North Carolina. The landlord is obligated to let the tenant know within 30 days’ time the name and address of the bank where the security deposit is held.
The landlord must return the security deposit back to the tenant within 30 days after the tenant vacates. However, if there is such damage where the landlord needs more time to assess the cost, he can then have up to 60 days. But an interim notice must be sent in accordance with NCGS § 42-52.
Landlord has the obligation to keep the premises safe and in a fit condition in accordance with all that is written in NCGS § 42-42.
Right of Entry:
Even though there is no specific law regarding how much or what type of notice a landlord should provide a tenant before entering the rental unit, it is suggested that some reasonable form of notice be given.
Notice to End Lease:
In North Carolina where the lease stipulates the ending date, no notice is needed unless otherwise stated. Tenant would simply move at the end of the lease. Tenancies that are year to year require a notice to quit given at least one month before the end of the current year’s tenancy; a month to month would need a notice of at least seven days and if the tenancy is week to week, then two days’ notification is needed. This does not include those who rent space in a manufactured home, where sixty days is needed.
Evictions must follow the letter of the law, otherwise the landlord may face damages incurred by a tenant. If the tenant is late on rent, a notice providing the tenant ten days to pay rent or the lease will terminate. All other violations must comply with NCGS § 42-26. After the landlord follows these steps, he or she may go to court and file for the eviction. The owner or landlord of rental property is not permitted to force the tenant out by his own means.
Questions? Ask an Attorney!
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