North Carolina Landlords and Tenants: Understanding Your Responsibilities


Every state has their own promulgated laws pertaining to the responsibilities and rights between landlords and tenants. While we may not be able to cover the laws of all fifty states, we are going to start in North Carolina. The Tarheel State became only the ninth state in the country to reach a population of 10 million at the end of 2015.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 281 new people call North Carolina their home everyday. With this kind of growth, mixed with rising home prices, it’s easy to see that a good portion of the growing population is starting off with rentals.

If you’re making your move to North Carolina as a renter, or have been a resident for some time, it’s important to know the responsibilities of your landlord, as well as your own. These laws have been published by the NC Department of Justice.

Responsibilities of the Landlord – NC General Statute 42-42(a)

  • Landlords must enact on all requested repairs to keep the the living space “in a fit and habitable condition”. The property should be maintain according to all housing codes.
  • Install a properly working smoke detector, approved by Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc, or another equivalent approval agency. The landlord also must replace/repair the smoke detector within fifteen days after the tenant’s notification.
  • Electrical, heating/cooling, plumbing, and all other “facilities and appliances” must be maintained by the landlord to be in good working condition

General Statute 42-42(b) says that the duties of the landlord can not be waived in the lease agreement or anywhere else. However, a separate agreement between the landlord and tenant can be made in the event that the tenant agrees to preform repairs for compensation.

Responsibilities of the Tenant – NC General Statute 42-43(a)

  • Premises must be kept in a clean and safe manner “as the conditions of the premises permit”. This includes removing all trash in a reasonably fast time frame.
  • Plumbing fixtures must be kept clean by the tenant.
  • Handle responsibility “for all damage, defacement, or removal of any property” within the unit. The tenant cannot intentionally destroy any part of the unit.
  • Tenant must notify the landlord about the need for replacement of smoke detectors, unless another agreement has been put in place where the tenant agrees to maintain the smoke detectors themselves. Without notification, the landlord can not be considered negligent surrounding the manner.

North Carolina’s laws generally fall inline with what other states require, but there are certainly exceptions to be made. Make sure that you fully understand your rights as you rent within the confines of the state. While you have rights that are to be observed by your landlord, you also have responsibilities to fulfill.

The full document from the NC Department of Justice can be viewed here.

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