North Carolina Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for North Carolina landlords.  We summarize key North Carolina Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  North Carolina Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in North Carolina.


Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering North Carolina

North Carolina landlord-tenant laws are considered Landlord-friendly.

There are 10.4 million residents in North Carolina.  Major metropolitan markets in North Carolina are:

  1. Charlotte: Estimated population of 2,492,412, which 34% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $977.
  2. Raleigh: Estimated population of 1,390,785, which 33% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $1,073.
  3. Greensboro: Estimated population of 771,851, which 38% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $791.
  4. Winston: Estimated population of 676,008, which 32% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $730.


Jump to Different North Carolina Landlord Tenant Laws








Does North Carolina require security deposits? 

North Carolina does not require security deposits.



Is a security deposit receipt required in North Carolina? 

North Carolina does not require landlords to provide a receipt of security deposit.  Although it is good practice to provide a receipt.

Within 30 days, landlords are required to notify the tenant where their security deposit is held at.  Must provide the name and address of the bank, savings institution or insurance company who provided the bond.  (NCGS § 42-50)



How much security deposit can a landlord charge in North Carolina? 

In North Carolina, a landlord can charge different amounts based on the lease of tenancy  (NCGS § 42-51):

  • Week-to-Week:  Cannot exceed two weeks’ amount of rent
  • Month-to-Month:  Cannot exceed one and one-half months’ amount of rent
  • Leases Longer than Monthly:  Cannot exceed two months’ amount of rent



Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in North Carolina: 

Landlords must keep security deposits in a trust account located within a North Carolina licensed and insured bank or savings institution.  Alternatively, landlords can furnish a bond from an licensed insurance company that is allowed to do business in North Carolina.  (NCGS § 42-50)



Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in North Carolina? 

No Statute.



Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in North Carolina? 

Landlords are not required to pay interest to the tenants.  No Statute.



When must a landlord return the deposit by in North Carolina? 

In North Carolina, landlords have 30 days to return the security deposit.  Landlords can request additional time to evaluate damage by sending an interim notice within the 30 days.  The final assessment must be determined and returned within 60 days.  According to (NCGS § 42-51)



When can a landlord in North Carolina withhold security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit if:

  • Damage in excess of normal wear and tear
  • Unpaid rent
  • Unpaid water, sewage or electric bills
  • Damages resulting from unfulfilled rent due to the rental agreement being terminated.  Excluding terminations caused by Landlords actions
  • Unpaid bills that caused a lien
  • Costs for re-renting the rental unit if breached by tenant
  • Costs of removal and storage for personal property
  • Court costs

(NCGS § 42-51)



Nonrefundable fees: 

Landlords are allowed to charge a ‘reasonable’ non-refundable fee for pets.   (NCGS § 42-53)



Pet Deposits and Additional Fees:

North Carolina has no pet deposit.statutes.  Landlords are allowed to charge a ‘reasonable’ non-refundable fee for pets.   (NCGS § 42-53)



Require written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Landlords are required to provide written and itemized list of damages sent via mail or hand delivered.  If the tenant’s address is unknown, landlord’s are required to hold the balance of the deposit for 6 months. (NCGS § 42-52)



What happens to North Carolina landlords that fail to comply returning the security deposit?

No Statute.











Rental agreements required in North Carolina:

Rental agreements are required for leases 12 months or longer.  We always recommend having a legal lease agreement to prevent future complications.

If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online North Carolina rental lease agreement.



What are the required lease provisions in North Carolina?

North Carolina requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list:

  • Conditions of occupancy
  • Description of leased property and premises

It is also strongly recommended to include these provisions:

  • Landlord’s responsibilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities
  • Rent Amount and Due Date
  • Late Fees and Penalties
  • Pet policies
  • Cleaning Fees
  • Other fees






What are the rental agreement notice requirements in North Carolina: 

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year: Leases simply expire upon the stated date for fixed-end.  Year leases require a 30 day notice.  Tenants of a manufactured home requires 60 days notice, regardless of the duration term.  (NCGS § 42-14)

Month-to-Month: At least 7 days.  (NCGS § 42-14)

Week-to-Week: At least 2 days.  (NCGS § 42-14)


What happens when the tenant remains without consent after the rental agreement expires or terminates?

Landlords can immediately terminate the lease agreement have the have tenant removed.  (NCGS § 42-26)




Does the lease automatically renew in North Carolina? 

Leases terminate upon expiration, unless stated in the lease.



Rent Increase Notice:

No Statute.



Rent Grace Period for Residential:

Tenants have 5 days before rent is considered late and fees may be charged. (NCGS § 42-46(a))



Rent Grace Period for Manufactured Homes:

Tenants have 5 days before rent is considered late and fees may be charged. (NCGS § 42-46(a))



Prepaid Rent:

No Statute.  Landlords may accept prepaid rent.










Late Fees for Residential:

Landlords are allowed to charge late fees after the grace period.  Late fees are determined by occurrence of rent payments.



Late Fees for Manufactured Homes:

Landlords are allowed to charge late fees after the grace period.




Limits to late fees in North Carolina:

Landlords are limited to charging late fees based on the payment occurrence  (NCGS § 42-46(a)):

  • Monthly Payments:  Landlords can charge up to $15.00 or 5% of the monthly rental amount..  Whichever is greater.
  • Weekly Payments:  Landlords can charge up to $4.00 or 5% of the weekly rental amount.  Whichever is greater.







In North Carolina, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:



What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in North Carolina?

North Carolina requires a 10 day notice for past-due rent.  (NCGS § 42-3)



How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

Landlords do not have to provide notice unless the lease agreement includes a provision stating otherwise.  Landlords can immediately file eviction papers upon discovery of a lease violation.



North Carolina allows immediate lease termination if the tenant is responsible for:

  • Drug activity
  • Lease Violations

More information at (NCGS § 42-26)





How many days when terminating for illegal drug-related activities?

Tenants using, possessing or selling illegal drugs on premises can have their lease terminated with immediately.  (NCGS § 42-26)







North Carolina does not have any statutes regarding tenants being allowed to withhold rent or deduct repair costs from rent.



How many days must the tenant give for non-emergency repairs? 

Tenants must provide reasonable amount of time for the landlord to repair the issue.



Can tenant without rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

Tenants cannot withhold rent prior to a judicial determination.  (NCGS § 42-44)



If the landlord fails to take necessary action, then the tenants can legally:

No Statute.  Tenants should seek legal advice from a professional.








What must the landlord provide in good and working order?

North Carolina defines certain responsibilities for landlords, including:

  • Must comply with all applicable building codes affecting health and safety
  • Must keep all common areas in a clean and safe condition
  • Safety from fire hazards with smoke alarms and smoke detectors
  • Carbon monoxide detectors

According to (NCGS § 42-42)

Do landlords have to provide appliances and services?

No Statute.







Tenant must maintain a fit and habitable premise and is prohibited from intentionally or negligently damaging or removing any part of the premise.  Tenants must notify landlords, in writing, to replace smoke alarms and cabon monoxide alarms.  (NCGS § 42-43)








North Carolina requires a landlord to file a Summary Ejectment action to evict a tenant.  

Landlords may evict tenants for the following:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Tenant holding over on premise after lease expired
  • Breach of lease agreement
  • Illegal drug activity: possession, manufacturing or selling



Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

In North Carolina, it is illegal for landlords to attempt to evict a tenant not through a court order.



Are landlords allowed to lock out tenants by changing locks?

Landlords cannot change locks. (NCGS § 42-25.9)



Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

Landlords cannot turn off utilities. (NCGS § 42-25.9)



Tenants may not be evicted for non-payment of rent if:

Tenant pays rent at the court hearing, known as ‘tender of rent’.


Do landlords have to make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages when re-renting the rental unit?

No Statute.






North Carolina laws state a landlord cannot terminate a lease, refuse a lease renewal or raise rents when:


  • Tenant submitted a complaint to government agency for building or health code violation
  • Tenant has sent written complaints to the landlords about repairs
  • Tenant joined fellow tenants to negotiate or deal collectively on terms and conditions of the lease agreement with the landlord
  • Attempts to and/or establishes, or participates in a tenant organization


If a landlord responds negatively within twelve months, it is assumed to be retaliation. (NCGS § 42-37.1)







A landlord cannot discriminate against prospective tenants or tenants because they have been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape or stalking.


Verify Claim:

A landlord is allowed to verify claim of Domestic Violence. (NCGS § 42-42.2)



Can a tenant terminate the least if they are a victim of domestic violence: 

North Carolina state law says a tenant with proof of Domestic Violence status is allowed with 30 days notice and proof of victim status. (NCGS § 42-45.1)



Who is responsible for Recovery of Losses: 

Landlords can hold the offender, if they are on the lease in a Domestic Violence situation liable for all losses incurred due to the early termination of a lease. (NCGS § 42-45.1)



Must Landlords Change Locks:

If requested by a victim of Domestic Violence, a landlord must the locks within 72 hours.  Cost of the lock is at the tenant’s expense.  Tenants can change locks but must provide the landlord with a set of keys within 48 hours. (NCGS § 42-42.3)








Are landlords requested to change locks before new tenants:

No Statute.  Before new tenants moves in, landlords are not required to change the locks.  It is always recommended to do so.



Are landlords required to install any specific security device:

Landlords are legally required to provide window latches, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.



Do landlords have to change locks for domestic violence victims:

If requested by a victim of Domestic Violence, a landlord must the locks within 72 hours.  Cost of the lock is at the tenant’s expense.  Tenants can change locks but must provide the landlord with a set of keys within 48 hours. (NCGS § 42-42.3)








North Carolina Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any specific pet laws.  Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more.  Read our guide to pet policies.



Any limitations on pets that landlords can impose?

No Statute. (NCGS § 42-53)



What are the max pet deposits in North Carolina:

No Statute for max deposits.  Landlords can also charge non-refundable fees.  (NCGS § 42-53)







According to North Carolina Landlord-Tenant Laws, landlords do not need a rental license in North Carolina.

Landlords and owner of a residential rental property do not need to register the property.  Local cities may have different requirements, we recommend you research the local city specific laws.









Do landlords in North Carolina have to provide notice of entry? 

North Carolina does not require landlords to provide any notice.  However, it is recommended that landlords provide 24 hours’ notice for normal circumstances entry.    This includes:

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Improvements to property
  • Inspections
  • Showing prospective tenants, contractors, mortgagees or buyers.



When can a landlord enter without notice:

No Statute.




Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?




Can landlords enter for showings?





Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?




Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?




Can landlords enter for pesticide use?

No statute. 








Is subleasing permitted?

Yes, there is no statute.



Do you need the landlord consent?

If the lease includes a clause stating the landlord allows or requires consent.



Can the LL / lease prohibit subletting?

Yes, there is no statute.







North Carolina Landlord-Tenant Laws does specific procedures that landlords must follow when tenants leave belongings.  This may be from evictions or moving out at the expiration of lease.


How long must landlords hold Tenant’s personal property?

Landlords must hold onto the tenants personal belongings 10 days after posting a written inside inside and outside of the property.  (NCGS § 42-25.9) (NCGS § 42-36.2)


How long notice must landlords give if law enforcement has legally locked them out?

Sheriff can execute the writ 5 days after receiving.  (NCGS § 42-36.2)



Can the landlords sell property to pay for outstanding debts?

Yes, including unpaid rent, damages, storage fees and sale costs.  (NCGS § 42-25.9)



What happens to excess proceeds?

Landlords must disburse the remaining balance to the tenant within 7 days.  Or, may submit the remaining amount to country treasurer. (NCGS § 42-25.9)



How long must landlords keep records of the sale for?

No Statute.



Landlord must store the tenant’s abandoned property where:

No Statute.




Are the landlords liable for damage?

No Statute.







North Carolina Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:


Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.

Mold Disclosure:  Landlord must disclose any structural damage from the result of water, fire, smoke or inspects.  Also, landlords must provide the condition of the roof and any mold.

Utility Disclosure:  If the landlord is responsible for paying for water, gas, or electric, the landlord must acknowledge their liability to provide tenant service and notify tenants for any utility service cut off, whether due to landlord’s nonpayment or otherwise.

Oil and Mineral Rights Disclosure:  Landlords are required to disclose whether the mineral, oil and gas rights for the property are owned by another party other than the seller.



N.C. General Statute §§ 42 – Landlord and Tenant

N.C. General Statute §§ 41A – State Fair Housing Act

N.C. General Statute §§ 7A-19 – Small Claim Actions in District Court.

North Carolina Private Landlord/Tenant Law Overview (PDF Guide)

North Carolina Landlord-Tenant Booklet (PDF Guide)


North Carolina Department of Insurance

North Carolina Consumer Protection

North Carolina U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

North Carolina Real Estate Commission

North Carolina Housing Finance Agency

North Carolina Fair Housing Project

North Carolina Housing Coalition

North Carolina Human Relations Division






North Carolina Small Claims Court Limits:

$10,000 is the limit for small claims court. (NCGS § 7A-210)



North Carolina Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims:


North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Court System

North Carolina Bar Association



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