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North Carolina Tenant Rights Laws

Many of us will enter into a residential lease at some point in our lives. The laws of every state govern the relationship between landlords and tenants to make sure that both parties are protected. If you are a renter in North Carolina, or are considering entering into a lease, read on to learn about your legal rights as a tenant.

North Carolina Tenants Rights Laws Overview

Like all other states, North Carolina has put laws in place to protect the rights of tenants in residential leases. These laws cover a variety of important issues, including:

The below chart provides more information about North Carolina's tenants' rights laws.


North Carolina State Fair Housing Act and Landlord and Tenant Code

Security Deposits

  • For a month-to-month lease, landlord can't require more than one and one-half months' rent as a security deposit
  • For a lease term of longer than a month, landlord can't require more than two months' rent as a security deposit
  • Landlords can also require an additional "reasonable" nonrefundable deposit for pets
  • Landlord must return a security deposit within 30 days of tenant move-out, or provide a final accounting of deductions within 60 days

Paying Rent

  • There are no limitations on how much rent a landlord can charge in North Carolina, or how much notice a landlord must give before raising rent
  • Landlord can't charge a monthly late fee in excess of $15 or 5% of the rental payment, whichever is higher

Living Conditions

  • Landlord is obligated to maintain unit in "fit and habitable condition"
  • Tenant may "repair and deduct" if tenant fails to make important repairs


  • It's illegal for a landlord to discriminate against a tenant on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicapping condition, or familial status

Ending or Renewing a Tenancy

  • If tenant fails to pay rent, landlord must provide at least 10 days' notice and give tenant opportunity to come current before commencing eviction proceedings


  • It's illegal for landlord to retaliate against tenant for exercising legal rights

Note: State regulations are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related: North Carolina Tenants' Rights Resources

Get a Free Evaluation of Your Landlord/Tenant Case

Uncertainty about your living situation can be really tough. If you believe that your landlord has acted illegally, act promptly to understand your legal tenant's rights. FindLaw can help by matching you with an experienced landlord/tenant attorney for your free case evaluation.

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