Seven Property Management Topics Every Fayetteville Landlord Needs to Know If Your Are Managing Your Own Property

An understanding of the landlord tenant laws in North Carolina is necessary for any property owner who wishes to serve as a property manager for their own property in Fayetteville. Even though you may make the decision not to hire a property manager, you will be held to the same standards as a property manager when you manage your own property.

The following is a summary of some of the landlord tenant laws in the state of North Carolina, as they apply to residential rental property. Our goal is to assist you as much as possible, to avoid having to show up in magistrate court in Fayetteville, having to defend yourself and your assets from a lawsuit.

As always, we suggest you hire a property management company to assist you in management, but with the right information, a landlord may be able to manage her own property.

The topics we will touch on briefly include: limits on the amount that can be collected for a security deposit, returning security deposits, late fees, increasing rent, withholding rent, terminating tenancy, and right to enter. The body of law governing rental properties in North Carolina is dense, however, the brief summaries below should assist you on your path towards independent research and study.

Security Deposit Limits. In North Carolina, month to month tenancies may be charged up to one- and one-half month’s rent for the security deposit. In the Fayetteville area, it is typical to see month to month tenancies while servicemembers are awaiting the arrival of household goods; on temporary duty orders; or awaiting movement to their new permanent change of station location.

If the term is three months or longer, the equivalent of up to two months’ rent may be collected for the deposit. An additional nonrefundable pet deposit may also be charged as long as it’s reasonable.

Returning Security Deposits. The security deposit must be returned within 30 days after a tenant moves out. If for some reason there’s damage requiring additional time, the landlord may provide an initial itemized statement at 30 days, and a final statement with any remaining funds within 60 days.

Late fees. A late fee can be imposed five days after the lease due date, but cannot be higher than $15 or 5 percent of the amount that’s due. An unpaid late fee cannot be deducted from the next month’s rent, causing a subsequent deficiency in rent, resulting in another late fee increasing the rent.

Increasing Rent. There is no statute in North Carolina regarding increasing the rent. The lease agreement, therefore, would need to have a provision for making future changes to the amount of rent. If the lease agreement does not have such a provision, the rent cannot be changed during the lease term.

Withholding Rent. North Carolina does not have a statute which allows a tenant to withhold the rent. The withholding of rent can occur under two circumstances: when the landlord consents to the withholding in writing, or when a judge or civil magistrate orders withholding by court order. This does not, however, allow a landlord to fail to comply with the terms of a lease. The landlord can be held liable in court for failure to maintain a property in accordance with the terms of the lease, or housing laws.

Terminating Tenancy and Eviction.  North Carolina General Statute Section 42-26(a) provides landlords the ability to immediately terminate a lease as long as the lease specifies that eviction will result from noncompliance or a holdover of tenancy.

The Right to Enter.  Although North Carolina doesn’t address a particular amount of time to meet the notice requirement, a landlord should provide the tenant a reasonable notice of entry before being permitted inside the unit. This should also be addressed in the lease.

As stated earlier, landlord tenant law in North Carolina is a very dense subject. While we have provided you with an extremely brief summation of the law, we caution you against applying it without more research.

We are always here to help.