North Carolina Landlord Tenant Rights

Whether you are the renter or the owner of the premises, renting a home is a big deal. Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a tenant or landlord ahead of time will save you time, money, and stress farther down the road. We’ve compiled a quick fact sheet of all the information you need to know before renting a home in North Carolina.

Landlord Responsibilities

Landlords owe certain responsibilities to their tenants. These include:

  • Structural components
  • Water
  • Electricity and wiring
  • HVAC
  • Sewage and sanitation
  • Smoke detectors
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Mold
  • Bed bugs

Landlords must complete maintenance of the above items within the timeframe listed in the lease. Tenants are not allowed to withhold rent for needed repairs or make repairs themselves and deduct from the rent.

They are also required to make certain disclosures, such as lead paint or water contamination.

Tenant Responsibilities

North Carolina law also specifies certain responsibilities for tenants:

  • Pay rent in a timely manner
  • Comply with all building and housing codes
  • Maintain safe and habitable conditions
  • Dispose of all waste in a clean and safe manner
  • Keep fixtures clean and sanitary
  • Inform landlord of any needed repairs to detectors in writing
  • Refrain from disturbing neighbors or other tenants
  • Do not damage the premises

Security Deposit

North Carolina has several laws regulating the collection of a security deposit by the landlord. If the tenancy is on a weekly basis, the security deposit can’t exceed two weeks’ rent. If the lease runs month-to-month, the security deposit is capped at one and a half months’ rent. For lease terms that are more than monthly, the maximum security deposit is two months’ rent.

The landlord has 30 days to return the security deposit to the tenant, minus any deductions for unpaid rent, damages, and other charges. However, if the landlord needs more than 30 days to assess damages, an interim notice must be sent within 30 days leading to a resolution in 60 days. Regardless, the landlord must include an itemized list of deductions.

North Carolina also allows for a non-refundable pet deposit.

Rent and Fees

Rent is due on the agreed upon time in the lease. The tenant has a 5-day grace period to pay the rent without penalty.

North Carolina law allows the landlord to charge late fees of up to 5% for rent paid beyond the 5-day grace period.

Landlords can also charge whatever they want for rent, including increases to current rent terms without notice to the tenant.


Landlords can evict tenants for the following reasons:

  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Violation of lease terms
  • No lease or end of lease
  • Illegal acts

Tenants can legally end their lease early in certain cases:

  • Early termination clause
  • Active military duty
  • Uninhabitable unit
  • Landlord harassment
  • Violation of lease terms by landlord

Lease Termination Notice

The landlord must provide the tenant with a lease termination notice unless the lease is for a specified amount of time, the tenant has violated the terms of the lease, or if the tenant has committed illegal acts on the property.

For nonpayment of rent, the landlord must give the tenant 10 days’ notice to pay the rent or vacate the premises.

Relevant State Agencies

N.C. Department of Housing and Urban Development

City-Specific Links













Official Rules and Regulations 

N.C. Landlord Tenant Act