State Landlord-Tenant Laws For North Carolina



  • Maximum deposit amounts are limited depending on the length of the lease.
  • Week-to-week leases maximum is 2 weeks.
  • Month-to-month maximum is 1.5x the monthly rent.
  • And longer fixed term leases is limited to 2 months rent.
  • Deposits must be held with a licensed institution.
  • Landlords have 30 days to return the deposit after the tenant's departure.


  • No rent control laws.
  • Not statute on on rent incraese notice requirements but at least 30 to 60 days notices is recommended for fixed term leases.


  • Tenants have a right to privacy as covered in the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.
  • Although there's no specific statute, landlords should give reasonable notice (at least 24 hours) before entry and only enter during reasonable hours (9am to 5pm).


  • No statute.


  • Rental agreements are required for leases of 12 months por longer.


  • Late fees are allowed but are limited.
  • If rent is collect weekly the maximum late fee is the higher of $4 or 5% of the rent.
  • If rent is collect monthly the maximum late fee is the higher of $15 or 5% of the rent.
  • There can only be a single late fee applied to a late payment.
  • Landlords must grant a 5 day grace period.


  • No statute.


  • Landlords in North Carolina are permitted to collect a fair, nonrefundable pet deposit.


1. North Carolina Landlord-Tenants Rights & Responsibilities

As with every state in the U.S., there are certain rights and responsibilities that are afforded to tenants and landlords in North Carolina in order to maintain a legally sound relationship between both parties.

Below is a summary of some key aspects of North Carolina's landlord-tenant laws.

Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities in North Carolina

Tenant Rights in North Carolina

  • Right to a rental unit that is compliant with North Carolina’s health, safety, and building laws.
  • Right to “quiet enjoyment,” live in peace and quiet away from things that bother you.
  • Right to get a notice from a landlord before entry.
  • Right to being notified if the landlord wants to make changes to the lease agreement.
  • Right to remain in a rental unit until the landlord has taken the right steps to evict the tenants.
  • Right to withhold rent when the landlord fails to do his obligations, for example, fix something important in the building.
  • Right to have the security deposit of renters handled in a way that follows the law.

Tenant's Responsibilities in North Carolina

  • Tenants must maintain their rented buildings in clean and sanitary conditions.
  • Tenants must notify landlords of important fixes on time.
  • Tenants must keep noise levels at reasonable levels.
  • Tenants must pay rent on time and to not stop rent payments without reason.
  • Tenants must abide by all lease rules for the rental unit, including when to pay monthly rent and how to pay rent.
  • Tenants must provide a notice to landlords when looking to be away for an extended amount of time.
  • Tenants must inform the landlord via written notice of their plans to move out.

Landlord’s Rights and Responsibilities

Landlord's Rights in North Carolina

  • Landlords have the right to enter the tenant's rented premises to make needed, agreed or requested repairs on the rental unit.
  • Landlords have the right to be notified when a tenant will be away for long stretches of time.
  • Landlords have the right to be given with sufficient notice when a tenant is looking to vacate their rented premises.
  • Landlords have the right to collect any unpaid rent or end the lease early for any number of legal reasons.

Landlord Responsibilities in North Carolina

  • Landlords must follow all terms of the lease deal and when looking to change them, seek the tenant’s permission.
  • Landlords must maintain peace and quiet in the rental unit.
  • Landlords must serve the tenant sufficient notice when looking to enter their rented premises.
  • Landlords must respond to tenant's repair requests on time.
  • Landlords must ensure the property adheres to all the state’s safety, building and health rules.
  • Landlords must follow the legal eviction process when trying to evict a tenant from the rented premises.
  • Landlords must manage the security deposit of a renter as per the lease or rental agreement.
  • Landlords must not retaliate against a tenant practicing their rights.
  • Landlords must avoid housing discrimination at any point.

Required Notices Before Entry in North Carolina

Are landlords in North Carolina required to give notice before entering the property?

There's no law in North Carolina that limits the ability of landlords to enter a property under any conditions. It implies that if landlords have a good cause, they can access the property without giving notice. Additionally, landlords have the right to enter during emergencies without the tenants' consent.

However, for a healthy renter-landlord relationship, it’s good practice for landlords to provide tenants with 24 hours’ notice prior to entering their units. Also, the time of entry must be during reasonable hours. 

Are landlords allowed to enter the property to conduct maintenance and repairs?

Yes, landlords in the state of North Carolina are permitted to enter a rental property without prior notice in order to perform necessary repairs. However, they are not allowed to do so frequently enough to infringe upon the “quiet enjoyment” rights of their tenants. 

Late Fee for Rent in North Carolina

According to North Carolina law, the landlord may impose fees of up to $15 or 5% of the monthly rent, whichever is higher. However, the rent must be at least five days past due before the landlord can charge a late fee.

Additionally, there can only be a single late fee assessed for each late rental payment. This means that subsequent rent payments cannot be subject to late fines. (NCGS § 42-46(a)(1))

If rent is due in weekly instalments the allowable late fee is limited to a maximum of $4 or 5% of the weekly rent, whichever is greater. (NCGS § 42-46(a)(2))



2. North Carolina Rent Increase Laws

There is no state law or rent control legislation in North Carolina that restricts how much a landlord can raise rent at the end of a lease. This implies that, in theory, a landlord is allowed to set new rent amounts at their discretion. However, before enacting a rent increase, landlords have to give renters enough notice. 

Additionally, landlords cannot raise rent on a fixed lease until the lease's expiration date, unless the lease specifies otherwise. It's also illegal for landlords to raise the rent as a form of discrimination or retaliation towards a renter. 

Notice Required to Raise Rent in North Carolina

There is no statute regarding how much notice a landlord needs to give tenants before a rent increase in North Carolina for a fixed-term lease.

However, since the law requires that all parties to a contract act honestly, if a landlord does want to raise the rent, they need to give the renter enough notice. Typically, this is 30 to 60 days in advance of the rent increase.

  • Notice Requirement: The landlord must give at least seven days' notice before enforcing a rent increase on a month-to-month lease.

Additionally, tenants should constantly check their rental agreement or lease to determine if there are any provisions pertaining to when and how a landlord can raise the rent.

Limitations on North Carolina Rent Increase Laws

Unless the long-term lease expressly permits it, North Carolina landlords are not permitted to increase the rent while the agreement is in effect.

Source: (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-14.1)


3. North Carolina Rental Agreement Laws

A lease agreement is a crucial legal instrument that safeguards the rights of both landlords and tenants in North Carolina. While a written lease is not required for leases of less than 12 months it is always recommended to have a written document regardless of the lease duration.

For a lease agreement to be deemed valid, several legal conditions must be satisfied. These conditions include:

  • The written agreement is required for leases of 12 months or longer.
  • The security deposit can't be more than two months' worth of rent.
  • If the landlord wants to raise the rent, they have to give a 30-day notice.
  • If a rental property has any known flaws, the landlord is required to disclose them.

A comprehensive lease agreement in North Carolina ought to have the following components:

  • The names and contact details of every individual engaged.
  • Describe the rental property and provide its address.
  • The length of the lease and the monthly rent.
  • Deposits for security and pets (if applicable).
  • Tenant policies and guidelines.
  • Duties for upkeep and repairs.
  • Other costs and utilities.
  • Lease renewal and termination.

Source: North Carolina General Assembly Lease-Purchase Agreement Act. (Public)


4. North Carolina Security Deposit Laws

What Is The Maximum Deposit Allowed In North Carolina?

As per the security deposit rules of North Carolina, there's a cap to the maximum amount a landlord can demand as a security deposit. The exact security deposit cap in North Carolina is determined by the length of the lease.

In North Carolina, security deposits for weekly leases cannot exceed the total rent for two weeks. Also, the most a landlord can charge on a monthly lease is one and a half months' worth of rent.

Furthermore, security deposit caps in North Carolina for leases longer than a month have to be at least twice as much as the monthly rent. Most damages during the rental term might be covered by two months' rent.

(N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-51)

Are Pet Deposits Allowed in North Carolina?

Landlords in North Carolina are permitted to collect a fair, nonrefundable pet deposit. (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-51)

What Can Landlords Deduct From The Deposiut in North Carolina?

According to North Carolina's law, a landlord can withhold part or whole of a tenant's security deposit to pay for just the following expenses:

  • Nonpayment of rent by the renter;
  • Damage to the property;
  • Costs associated with the tenant's early departure prior to the lease's expiration;
  • Unpaid rent bills that are lodged against the property as a lien;
  • Costs associated with renting out the space again following a tenant breach;
  • Costs associated with taking possession of and storing the tenant's belongings following eviction; and
  • Court fees related to ending a tenancy

How Must Security Deposits be Held in North Carolina?

By law, landlords in North Carolina must retain their tenants' security deposits in an escrow account, which is a depository with a state or federal license. Alternatively, the landlord may use the security deposit to buy a bond from an insurance company licensed to do business in North Carolina. (NCGS § 42-50)

Also, the landlord or the landlord's agent is expected to notify the tenant within 30 days after the beginning of the lease term of the name and address of the bank or institution where the tenant's deposit is currently located or the name of the insurance company providing the bond. (NCGS § 42-50)

How Long Do Landlords Have to Return Deposits in North Carolina?

A landlord is required by North Carolina law to reimburse a tenant's security deposit within 30 days after the tenant's departure. 

In the event that damage occurs to the rental, the landlord is required to provide a detailed estimate of the cost of repairs and the amount deducted from the security deposit. The landlord is required to give an interim accounting within 30 days of the termination and a definitive accounting within 60 days of the termination if they are unable to determine the full degree of the damage within those 30 days. (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-52)

Do Landlords Need To Pay Security Deposit Interest?

Landlords in North Carolina are not required by state law to pay interest on security deposits. However, it's feasible that an interest-bearing loan could be required by county or city legislation.



5. North Carolina Eviction Laws & Notices

Grounds for Eviction in North Carolina

In North Carolina, a landlord cannot evict a tenant without reasonable cause. Also, they are required to give a North Carolina eviction notice to their client before proceeding with the eviction process. Below are some of the grounds on which a landlord can legally evict a tenant. 

Nonpayment of Rent

In most cases, the landlord must give the tenant a 10-day "notice to quit" before initiating the eviction procedure if the landlord wishes to remove the tenant because they haven't paid their rent. (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-3

Holdover Tenant

According to North Carolina eviction law, a "holdover tenant" is a person who stays in the property after the lease expires without the landlord's permission. (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-26)

Lease Violations

If a renter fails to adhere to a certain clause in the lease, the landlord is legally entitled to have them evicted. Common infractions include damaging the rental property, upsetting the neighbors, bringing in an unregistered renter, and keeping a pet when the lease or rental agreement forbids pets. (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-11)

Drug Trafficking and Other Criminal Activity

Landlords in North Carolina who want to get rid of drug dealers and other criminals can apply for expedited eviction.

North Carolina Eviction Notice

The North Carolina eviction notice period depends on the type of lease agreement. In some specific situations the lack of proper notice may provide ground to dismiss the complaint.

If there is a written lease agreement, the requirements of the lease must be followed. If the lease requires 30 days prior notice, this means, that the landlord before filing the complaint must give you notice 30 days before the end of the rental term.

Below are details of the kinds of notices landlords can use to enda lease:

  • Two days' notice (in the case of a weekly agreement that is about to end)
  • A seven-day notice (in the event that a month-to-month agreement is about to end)
  • A 10-day notice, a "North Carolina notice to quit", is required if the tenant defaults on rent payments. This kind of notification is typically known as a "10-day demand for rent" in North Carolina.
  • One month's notice (in the case of an annual lease that is about to end)

Landlords can proceed with the eviction without giving further notice if the renter does not vacate by the deadline. 

Notices to Terminate a Tenancy

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No Statute. Typically no notice is needed as the lease simply expires.
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Year-to-Year Lease: One month or more before the end of the current year of the tenancy. (NCGS § 42-14)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 7 days (NCGS § 42-14)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: 2 days (NCGS § 42-14)
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No Statute
  • Termination for Nonpayment: 10 days (NCGS § 42-3)
  • Termination for Lease Violation: Immediately (NCGS § 42-26)

North Carolina Eviction Process

The North Carolina eviction process starts with the landlord submitting a lawsuit to the relevant court. This process is often handled by a small claims court or district court.

Disputes totalling less than $10,000 are exclusively heard in small claims courts. If it's more, the landlord is expected to submit the eviction paperwork to the district court.

Landlords are required to indicate the reason for eviction on the eviction form and what remedies they are looking for. After completing the filing process, a summons and complaint listing will be provided to the landlord. The time and date of the hearing are included in the listing. 

If the landlord wins the eviction proceeding, the magistrate would grant a "judgment of possession." This judgment returns ownership of the property to the landlord. It also specifies when the tenant has to leave the leased home or risk facing a forced eviction by the landlord.

Source: Landlord/Tenant Issues | North Carolina Judicial Branch


6. North Carolina Rental Application Laws

There aren't many laws that control North Carolina rental applications or tenant screening procedures. For example, the amount that a landlord may collect for a rental application fee is unlimited, and the landlord is not required to reimburse the fee unless they so desire. 

As long as the inquiries don't result in housing discrimination (i.e. they must comply with the Fair Housing Act), landlords are free to ask whatever questions on North Carolina rental applications.

Additionally, the North Carolina rental application laws allow landlords to conduct background checks on potential tenants, provided they first get the tenant's explicit agreement. These checks may include credit records, criminal histories, and rental histories.

Source: (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-38)


7. Breaking a Lease in North Carolina

Legally Terminating the Lease

Tenants may be able to legally move out before the lease term ends in the following situations.

Victim of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking

North Carolina’s law provides early termination rights for tenants who are victims of domestic violence, provided that specified conditions are met (such as the tenant securing a court order of protection).

Starting Active Military Duty

If a tenant is entering active military service after signing a lease, the renter has a right to break the lease under federal law. However, it's expected that the tenant must be part of the "uniformed services," which includes the armed forces, commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, and the activated National Guard. 

Additionally, the tenant is required to give the landlord written notice of your intent to terminate your tenancy for military reasons. Once the notice is mailed or delivered, the tenancy will terminate 30 days after the date that rent is next due, even if that date is several months before the lease expires.

Rental Unit Is Unsafe or Violates North Carolina Health or Safety Codes

If a landlord does not provide habitable housing under local and state housing codes, a court would probably conclude that the tenant have been "constructively evicted;" this means that the landlord, by supplying unlivable housing, has for all practical purposes "evicted" the tenant, so the tenant have no further responsibility for the rent. 

Landlord Harasses Tenant or Violates Tenant's Privacy Rights

North Carolina does not have a state law that specifies the amount of notice your landlord must give you to enter rental property. If the landlord repeatedly violates the tenant’s rights to privacy, or does things like removing windows or doors, turning off your utilities, or changing the locks, the tenant would be considered "constructively evicted," as described above; this would usually justify the tenant breaking the lease without further rent obligation.

Source: (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-45.1), War and National Defense Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 App. U.S.C.A. §§ 501.


8. HOA Laws in North Carolina

There are several state and federal laws that govern North Carolina HOA laws. Below are some of the  acts that control HOA operations in North Carolina.

North Carolina Planned Community Act

The North Carolina Planned Community Act is found in General Statute Chapter 47F. The standards for the creation, management, and operation of homeowner associations in North Carolina are outlined in this legislation. If your association was founded on January 1st, 1999, or later, it is required to follow this legislation.

There is one exception to this rule, though. Although this act does not apply to communities with 20 lots or fewer, these neighborhoods have the option to choose to be governed by its rules by including a reference to it in their official declaration.

If an exempted HOA does not consciously want to be covered by the Act, then some of its provisions may still be applicable to them. Examples include those related to authority, flying political flags and signs, and imposing fines.

(CHAPTER 47F - North Carolina Planned Community Act)

North Carolina Nonprofit Corporation Act

Chapter 55A of the North Carolina General Statutes describes the North Carolina Nonprofit Corporation Act, which is applicable to the majority of HOAs in the state as they are nonprofit corporations. This act's requirements are mostly concentrated on the HOAs' operational procedures and legal framework.

Remember that it is hard to cover every rule pertaining to homeowners associations, thus it is crucial to research local laws.

(CHAPTER 55A - North Carolina Nonprofit Corporation Act)

North Carolina Condominium Act

The formation and management of a condominium association are governed by the North Carolina Condominium Act, which is contained in Chapter 47C of the North Carolina General Statutes.

Certain sections of this legislation also apply to condominium associations founded prior to October 1, 1986, unless the organization specifically states in its declaration that it is not bound by it. It is applicable to organizations formed after that date.

(CHAPTER 47C - North Carolina Condominium Act)

North Carolina Unit Ownership Act

The other legislation that addresses condominium associations is the North Carolina Unit Ownership Act. It is contained in North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 47A, and it is applicable to condominium associations formed prior to October 1, 1986. Compared to the Condominium Act, the Unit Ownership Act has more general provisions on condo ownership.

(CHAPTER 47A - Unit Ownership Act)

North Carolina Fair Housing Act

This statute forbids discrimination against people on the grounds of religion, race, familial status, color, national origin, sex, or physical or mental disability by housing providers, including homeowner associations.

(Chapter 41A, State Fair Housing Act)

North Carolina Debt Collection Act

The North Carolina Debt Collection Act (NCDCA) governs debt collection in the state.

This statute shields homeowners—who are regarded as customers under the act—from aggressive, deceptive, or unjust debt collection tactics. It operates similarly to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

There is, nevertheless, one key distinction between state and federal legislation. The federal legislation defines debt collectors as third parties who recover debts on behalf of others, even though creditors are also regarded as debt collectors under the NCDCA.

That suggests that state-level debt collection laws must likewise be followed by collectors trying to collect their own debts.

(Chapter 105A. Setoff Debt Collection Act)


9. Squatters Rights in North Carolina

For a squatter to have rights to a property, they must occupy the land in a particular manner. North Carolina squatters rights can be obtained by fulfilling these five requirements:

  • Hostile Claim

Adverse possession may occur just by virtue of your mere habitation. It is not necessary for the squatter to know who the property's legitimate owner is. Being conscious that one is trespassing on someone else's property would be another definition of squattering.

A squatter acting in good faith would be an additional possibility. They think the deed in question is right. The squatter is a harmless person who is unaware of the property's ownership status.

  • Actual Possession

During their physical habitation on the property, the squatter has made aesthetic improvements. This behavior demonstrates ownership. Possession of the property is established if the squatter provides proof that maintenance has been done on the asset.

  • Open & Notorious Possession

The fact that the squatter is living openly on the property must be visible to the general public. The property owner may also clearly see the squatter's presence. The squatter is obviously not concealing the fact that they are occupying the property.

  • Exclusive Possession

The squatter must not transfer ownership of the property to someone else in order to maintain exclusive possession. It must be individually claimed by the squatter.

  • Continuous Possession

The term "continuous possession" refers to the squatter's uninterrupted twenty (20) years of residence on the land in North Carolina. A squatter cannot leave the area for a while, then come back and assert their claim.

In certain states, obtaining the color of title is necessary for a squatter to get rights. The color of the title indicates irregular property ownership and possible document missings. In order to file an adverse claim, a squatter in North Carolina is not required to have the color of title.

Source: (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-38, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-39)


10. North Carolina Landlord Tenant Legal Resources

Below, you’ll find some helpful North Carolina landlord–tenant law resources:

Documents and Forms

Legal Resources

Related Links

North Carolina REALTORS® Associations

DISCLAIMER: This article is designed to convey information, and not to provide legal advice. You should not consider any information in this article to be legal advice. Readers should consider obtaining specific legal advice from an attorney for any decision or course of action contemplated.