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What Rights Do I Have as a Landlord in North Carolina?

As a landlord in North Carolina, you must adhere to a certain set of rules to maintain a positive, legal relationship with your tenants. However, North Carolina laws are largely favorable to landlords, which means you also enjoy plenty of rights.

Pre-Screen Tenants for Eligibility

As a landlord, you have the right to decide who can reside on your property. You can screen prospective tenants for eligibility according to your own criteria. For instance, many landlords require tenants to provide proof of monthly income three times greater than the monthly cost of the rent. However, you may not discriminate against applicants based on protected characteristics like national origin, race, religion, sex, or disability.

Decide How Much to Charge in Rent

Unless you own a rent-controlled property, there is no limit to how much you can charge your tenants in rent. This includes any fees you charge in pet rent and any rent increases you impose. You typically must wait until a given lease has ended to increase a tenant’s rent, but you can include provisions in your rental agreements that allow you to increase rent as you like.

Require Tenants to Pay Security Deposits

You may require new tenants to pay security deposits before moving in, though state law does limit the amount you can charge. For month-to-month rentals, the most you can require in security deposits is one and one-half month’s rent. For rental agreements longer than two months, the most you can charge is two months’ rent. You can also require “reasonable,” non-refundable pet deposits.

Enter Rental Units When Necessary

Your tenants have the right to the “quiet enjoyment” of their units under state law, which means you shouldn’t make a habit of entering occupied units unexpectedly. However, you do have the right to enter units on your property without notice to fulfill your obligations as a landlord per the terms of the lease agreement. That being said, it is polite to provide tenants with at least 24 hours’ notice when possible.

Charge Fees for Late Rent Payments

If your rental agreements specify a definite time for rent payments, you can charge tenants reasonable late fees if they render payments five days or more past due. For monthly rent payments, you can charge up to $15 or five percent of the monthly rent, whichever is greater. For weekly payments, you can charge up to $4 or five percent.

Bill Tenants for the Cost of Excessive Repairs

You are required to take care of any repairs needed to keep your rental units safe and habitable for tenants. However, if a tenant or their guest damages your property, you have the right to hold them responsible. You can deduct the costs of repairing excessive damage from your tenants’ security deposits.

Evict Tenants for Serious Lease Violations

You have the right to evict tenants for:

  • Nonpayment of rent – If a tenant fails to pay their rent, you must send them a notice demanding payment within ten days. If they fail to respond in time, you can seek eviction in court.
  • Breach of lease – If your tenant fails or refuses to comply with the terms of their rental agreement, you must send them an unconditional eviction notice or file for eviction in court.
  • Criminal activity – If your tenant engages in criminal activity on your property, you can initiate an “Article 7 eviction,” which goes into effect immediately.

Contact Our Attorneys Today

If you have more questions about your rights as a North Carolina landlord, reach out to the dedicated attorneys of Crawford & von Keller, LLC. We can provide straightforward answers and review your case when you contact us at 803-790-2626 for a consultation session.


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