A North Carolina lease agreement is a document used between the landlord (lessor) and the tenant (lessee) to regulate their mutual rights and obligations.
The main right of the tenant and obligation of the landlord is to enable access to the leased property. On the other hand, the payment of rent is the duty of the tenant and the right of the landlord that is protected by the lease agreement.
These rights and duties can be determined through a written or oral agreement. However, written agreements enable the parties to define their rights and duties in a more detailed manner and protect their rights more efficiently.
The lease agreement drafting process usually starts after the landlord reviews the prospective tenant’s rental application and does their background check. The landlord and the tenant will then negotiate the lease terms, enter them into the agreement, and sign it.
North Carolina Lease Agreement Required Disclosures
When drafting the North Carolina lease agreement, make sure to include the disclosures listed below to avoid legal liability for non-compliance with federal and state law:
Lead-based paint disclosure. The landlord must inform the tenant about any lead-based paint present at the leased property construction. This disclosure is declared mandatory by federal law for any property built before 1978. (Section 1018 of Title X)
Security deposit notification. This disclosure is mandatory only if the landlord requires a security deposit to be set. The landlord must inform the tenant of the name and address of the institution where the security deposit is held. NC Gen Stat § 42-50 (2021)
Water contamination disclosure. If the landlord charges the tenant for the water or sewage utility, they must inform them if the supplied water exceeds the maximum contamination level. NC Gen Stat § 42-42(a)(6) (2021)
North Carolina Lease Agreement Optional Disclosures
Many contractual parties choose to include the following optional disclosures that additionally secure your rights and prevent liability:
Mold disclosure. The landlord shall provide the tenant with the mold status at the leased property and provide guidelines on mold prevention and treatment either as a separate notification or as a part of the lease agreement.
Non-refundable fee disclosure. Any fees charged to the tenant that will not be refunded after the lease is over shall be addressed in the lease agreement. Otherwise, the tenant might file a lawsuit for the compensation of these fees.
Consequences of Non-Disclosure
Non-disclosure of health and safety hazards by the landlord can result in legal liability and damage claims filed by the tenant.
The landlord can be fined up to $19,507 for not disclosing the lead-based paint hazard in the lease agreement. (24 CFR § 30.65)
North Carolina Lease Agreement Security Deposits
Security Deposit Maximum
If the lease term is longer than 2 months, the landlord can take a security deposit equal to up to 2 months' rent.
The maximum deposit is set at one and a half months' rent for month-to-month rent.
In a week-to-week tenancy, the landlord cannot take more than two weeks' rent as the security deposit. NC Gen Stat § 42-51 (2019)
Security Deposit Return
The landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant no later than 30 days after the tenancy is over.
The same deadline applies if the tenant has any claims against the security deposit.
However, if the claims cannot be determined within the 30-day deadline, the landlord can send an itemized list of deductions and the remaining security deposit within an additional 30-day period. NC Gen Stat § 42-52 (2019)
When is Rent Due in North Carolina? (Grace Period)
The rent should be paid before the due date, which is usually provided in the lease agreement.
The state of North Carolina provides a 5-day grace period for the rent payment. That means the landlord cannot charge any late fees during that period. NC Gen Stat § 42-46(a) (2019)
When it comes to eviction for not paying the rent, the landlord must issue a 10-day notice to pay or quit to the tenant after the grace period is over.
North Carolina Rent Late Fees
Any late fee must be provided in the lease agreement to be legally charged to the tenant.
The landlord can charge the late fee no more than $15 or 5% of the monthly rent, whichever is higher. NC Gen Stat § 42-46(a)(1) (2019)
North Carolina NSF Checks
If the landlord accepts a check from the tenant for rent payment and the check bounces because of a lack of funds, they can charge a fee of up to $35 to cover the cost of processing the check.
The landlord cannot ask for any other fee or compensation besides the check value and a processing fee. NC Gen Stat § 25-3-506 (2021)
North Carolina Landlord’s Right to Enter
The North Carolina state laws don’t provide any details about the landlord’s right to access the leased property.
However, to violate the tenant’s right to privacy, the landlord shall send a notice at least 24 hours in advance to inform the tenant about their visit to the property. Whenever possible, the landlord shall also limit their visit to reasonable times, between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.
North Carolina Lease Agreement FAQ
Yes, the lease agreement is a legally binding document in North Carolina.
If the landlord doesn’t sign the lease agreement, it can still be considered legally binding if they accept the rent payment from the tenant.
On the other side, if the tenant doesn’t sign the lease agreement, it will still be valid if they offer to pay the rent.
Most of the lease agreements in North Carolina follow the outline below:
Information about the contractual parties
Details about the leased property
Rent amount and due date
Security deposit amount
Late and non-refundable fee disclosure (if applicable)
Mandatory disclosures provided by federal and state law
Maximal occupancy and house rules
Lease agreement termination rules
Place and date of the lease agreement signature
Signatures of the contractual parties
You can simply download one of the many lease agreement templates available on our website.
Depending on the duration and type of your lease, you can download:
Long-term lease or month-to-month rental agreement
Commercial or residential lease agreement
Room rental or sublease agreement
Rent-to-own lease agreement
After signing your North Carolina lease agreement, you should inspect the property for any damages.
The inspection should be done by both the landlord and the tenant. If no repairs or cleaning need to be done, they should both sign the move-in form. By signing it, they will make the move-out process much faster and prevent any disputes about the damages that are outside of usual wear and tear.