Renter’s Rights: What You Need To Know

If you are a renter in North Carolina, you should be aware of your rights before entering into a rental agreement. Having this knowledge will help you avoid entering into a contract where your rights might not be fully recognized.

A Limit on Security Deposits

The If you are renting a house or apartment on a month-to-month basis or for a term of more than two months, your landlord can charge you a security deposit of up to one and a half month’s rent. He or she may also charge you a reasonable nonrefundable deposit if you have pets. The landlord must also provide you with information as to the name and address of the bank where the security deposit is being kept.

Your security deposit must be returned within 30 days if you move from the rental property. Any reductions to your deposit because of damage to the property or monies owed to the landlord must be accounted for.

Withholding Your Rent Payment

You are within your rights to withhold a rent payment or deduct repair expenses from your rent if you have notified your landlord about an important needed repair through writing. He or she must make the repair, for example resolving a heat, hot water or plumbing issue within a reasonable amount of time.

Late Fees

You have up to five days to pay your rent before your landlord can charge you a late fee. This fee cannot be more than $15 or five percent of your rent payment, whichever amount is greater.

Termination and Eviction Rules

Your landlord cannot file for eviction until your rent is ten days late. You can avoid eviction proceedings by paying your rent or moving before that 10-day milestone is reached.

Protection from Landlord Retaliation 

Your rent cannot be raised in a discriminatory manner, for example if you are of a different race. A landlord also cannot raise your rent in retaliation if you report them to the local housing agency for a legitimate reason, including unsafe conditions or failure to make repairs.

Knowing your rights as a renter can help protect you against future conflicts with your landlord.

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