North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law - Click here to return to US Landlord
North Carolina General Statutes
Landlord and Tenant.
* 42-1. Lessor and lessee not partners.
*No lessor of property, merely by reason that he is to receive as rent or compensation for its use a
share of the proceeds or net profits of the business in which it is employed, or any other uncertain
consideration, shall be held a partner of the lessee. (1868-9, c. 156, s. 3; Code, s. 1744; Rev., s.
1982; C.S., s. 2341.)
* 42-2. Attornment unnecessary on conveyance of reversions, etc.
*Every conveyance of any rent, reversion, or remainder in lands, tenements or hereditaments,
otherwise sufficient, shall be deemed complete without attornment by the holders of particular
estates in said lands: Provided, no holder of a particular estate shall be prejudiced by any act done
by him as holding under his grantor, without notice of such conveyance. (4 Anne, c. 16, s. 9;
1868-9, c. 156, s. 17; Code, s. 1764; Rev., s. 947; C.S., s. 2342.)
* 42-3. Term forfeited for nonpayment of rent.
*In all verbal or written leases of real property of any kind in which is fixed a definite time for the
payment of the rent reserved therein, there shall be implied a forfeiture of the term upon failure to
pay the rent within 10 days after a demand is made by the lessor or his agent on said lessee for all
past-due rent, and the lessor may forthwith enter and dispossess the tenant without having
declared such forfeiture or reserved the right of reentry in the lease. (1919, c. 34; C.S., s. 2343.)
* 42-4. Recovery for use and occupation.
*When any person occupies land of another by the permission of such other, without any express
agreement for rent, or upon a parol lease which is void, the landlord may recover a reasonable
compensation for such occupation, and if by such parol lease a certain rent was reserved, such
reservation may be received as evidence of the value of the occupation. (1868-9, c. 156, s. 5;
Code, s. 1746; Rev., s. 1986; C.S., s. 2344.)
* 42-5. Rent apportioned, where lease terminated by death.
*If a lease of land, in which rent is reserved, payable at the end of the year or other certain period
of time, is determined by the death of any person during one of the periods in which the rent was
growing due, the lessor or his personal representative may recover a part of the rent which
becomes due after the death, proportionate to the part of the period elapsed before the death,
subject to all just allowances; and if any security was given for such rent it shall be apportioned in
like manner. (1868-9, c. 156, s. 6; Code, s. 1747; Rev., s. 1987; C.S., s. 2345.)
* 42-6. Rents, annuities, etc., apportioned, where right to payment terminated by death.
*In all cases where rents, rent charges, annuities, pensions, dividends, or any other payments of
any description, are made payable at fixed periods to successive owners under any instrument, or
by any will, and where the right of any owner to receive payment is terminable by a death or other
uncertain event, and where such right so terminates during a period in which a payment is
growing due, the payment becoming due next after such terminating event shall be apportioned
among the successive owners according to the parts of such periods elapsing before and after the
terminating event. (1868-9, c. 156, s. 7; Code, s. 1748; Rev., s. 1988; C.S., s. 2346.)
* 42-7. In lieu of emblements, farm lessee holds out year, with rents apportioned.
*When any lease for years of any land let for farming on which a rent is reserved determines
during a current year of the tenancy, by the happening of any uncertain event determining the
estate of the lessor, or by a sale of said land under any mortgage or deed of trust, the tenant in lieu
of emblements shall continue his occupation to the end of such current year, and shall then give up
such possession to the succeeding owner of the land, and shall pay to such succeeding owner a
part of the rent accrued since the last payment became due, proportionate to the part of the period
of payment elapsing after the termination of the estate of the lessor to the giving up such
possession; and the tenant in such case shall be entitled to a reasonable compensation for the
tillage and seed of any crop not gathered at the expiration of such current year from the person
succeeding to the possession. (1868-9, c. 156, s. 8; Code, s. 1749; Rev., s. 1990; C.S., s. 2347;
1931, c. 173, s. 1.)
* 42-8. Grantees of reversion and assigns of lease have reciprocal rights under covenants.
*The grantee in every conveyance of reversion in lands, tenements or hereditaments has the like
advantages and remedies by action or entry against the holders of particular estates in such real
property, and their assigns, for nonpayment of rent, and for the nonperformance of other
conditions and agreements contained in the instruments by the tenants of such particular estates,
as the grantor or lessor or his heirs might have; and the holders of such particular estates, and
their assigns, have the like advantages and remedies against the grantee of the reversion, or any
part thereof, for any conditions and agreements contained in such instruments, as they might have
had against the grantor or his lessors or his heirs. (32 Hen. VIII, c. 34; 1868-9, c. 156, s. 18;
Code, s. 1765; Rev., s. 1989; C.S., s. 2348.)
* 42-9. Agreement to rebuild, how construed in case of fire.
*An agreement in a lease to repair a demised house shall not be construed to bind the contracting
party to rebuild or repair in case the house shall be destroyed or damaged to more than one half of
its value, by accidental fire not occurring from the want of ordinary diligence on his part. (1868-9,
c. 156, s. 11; Code, s. 1752; Rev., s. 1985; C.S., s. 2349.)
* 42-10. Tenant not liable for accidental damage.
*A tenant for life, or years, or for a less term, shall not be liable for damage occurring on the
demised premises accidentally, and notwithstanding reasonable diligence on his part, unless he so
contract. (1868-9, c. 156, s. 10; Code, s. 1751; Rev., s. 1991; C.S., s. 2350.)
* 42-11. Willful destruction by tenant misdemeanor.
*If any tenant shall, during his term or after its expiration, willfully and unlawfully demolish,
destroy, deface, injure or damage any tenement house, uninhabited house or other outhouse,
belonging to his landlord or upon his premises by removing parts thereof or by burning, or in any
other manner, or shall unlawfully and willfully burn, destroy, pull down, injure or remove any
fence, wall or other inclosure or any part thereof, built or standing upon the premises of such
landlord, or shall willfully and unlawfully cut down or destroy any timber, fruit, shade or
ornamental tree belonging to said landlord, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1883, c.
224; Code, s. 1761; Rev., s. 3686; C.S., s. 2351; 1993, c. 539, s. 402; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s.
* 42-12. Lessee may surrender, where building destroyed or damaged.
*If a demised house, or other building, is destroyed during the term, or so much damaged that it
cannot be made reasonably fit for the purpose for which it was hired, except at an expense
exceeding one year's rent of the premises, and the damage or destruction occur without
negligence on the part of the lessee or his agents or servants, and there is no agreement in the
lease respecting repairs, or providing for such a case, and the use of the house damaged or
destroyed was the main inducement to the hiring, the lessee may surrender his estate in the
demised premises by a writing to that effect delivered or tendered to the landlord within 10 days
from the damage or destruction, and by paying or tendering at the same time all rent in arrear, and
a part of the rent growing due at the time of the damage or destruction, proportionate to the time
between the last period of payment and the occurrence of the damage or destruction, and the
lessee shall be thenceforth discharged from all rent accruing afterwards; but not from any other
agreement in the lease. This section shall not apply if a contrary intention appear from the lease.
(1868-9, c. 156, s. 12; Code, s. 1753; Rev., s. 1992; C.S., s. 2352.)
* 42-13. Wrongful surrender to other than landlord misdemeanor.
*Any tenant or lessee of lands who shall willfully, wrongfully and with intent to defraud the
landlord or lessor, give up the possession of the rented or leased premises to any person other
than his landlord or lessor, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1883, c. 138; Code, s. 1760;
Rev., s. 3682; C.S., s. 2353; 1993, c. 539, s. 403; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)
* 42-14. Notice to quit in certain tenancies.
*A tenancy from year to year may be terminated by a notice to quit given one month or more
before the end of the current year of the tenancy; a tenancy from month to month by a like notice
of seven days; a tenancy from week to week, of two days. Provided, however, where the tenancy
involves only the rental of a space for a manufactured home as defined in G.S. 143-143.9(6), a
notice to quit must be given at least 30 days before the end of the current rental period, regardless
of the term of the tenancy. (1868-9, c. 156, s. 9; Code, s. 1750; 1891, c. 227; Rev., s. 1984; C.S.,
s. 2354; 1985, c. 541.)
* 42-14.1. Rent control.
*No county or city as defined by G.S. 160A-1 may enact, maintain, or enforce any ordinance or
resolution which regulates the amount of rent to be charged for privately owned, single-family or
multiple unit residential or commercial rental property. This section shall not be construed as
prohibiting any county or city, or any authority created by a county or city for that purpose, from:
*(1)Regulating in any way property belonging to that city, county, or authority;
*(2)Entering into agreements with private persons which regulate the amount of rent charged
for subsidized rental properties; or
*(3)Enacting ordinances or resolutions restricting rent for properties assisted with
Community Development Block Grant Funds. (1987, c. 458.)
* 42-14.2. Death or illness of previous occupant.
*In offering real property for rent or lease it shall not be deemed a material fact that the real
property was occupied previously by a person who died or had a serious illness while occupying
the property; provided, however, that no landlord or lessor may knowingly make a false statement
regarding such past occupancy. (1989, c. 592, s. 2.)
* 42-15. Landlord's lien on crops for rents, advances, etc.; enforcement.
*When lands are rented or leased by agreement, written or oral, for agricultural purposes, or are
cultivated by a cropper, unless otherwise agreed between the parties to the lease or agreement,
any and all crops raised on said lands shall be deemed and held to be vested in possession of the
lessor or his assigns at all times, until the rents for said lands are paid and until all the stipulations
contained in the lease or agreement are performed, or damages in lieu thereof paid to the lessor or
his assigns, and until said party or his assigns is paid for all advancements made and expenses
incurred in making and saving said crops.
This lien shall be preferred to all other liens, and the lessor or his assigns is entitled, against the
lessee or cropper, or the assigns of either, who removes the crop or any part thereof from the
lands without the consent of the lessor or his assigns, or against any other person who may get
possession of said crop or any part thereof, to the remedies given in an action upon a claim for the
delivery of personal property.
Provided, that when advances have been made by the federal government or any of its agencies,
to any tenant or tenants on lands under the control of any guardian, executor and/or administrator
for the purpose of enabling said tenant or tenants to plant, cultivate and harvest crops grown on
said land, the said guardian, executor, and/or administrator may waive the above lien in favor of
the federal government, or any of its agencies, making said advances. (1876-7, c. 283; Code, s.
1754; Rev., s. 1993; 1917, c. 134; C.S., s. 2355; 1933, c. 219; 1985, c. 689, s. 11.)
* 42-15.1. Landlord's lien on crop insurance for rents, advances, etc.; enforcement.
*Where lands are rented or leased by agreement, written or oral, for agricultural purposes, or are
cultivated by a cropper, unless otherwise agreed between the parties to the lease or agreement,
the landlord or his assigns shall have a lien on all the insurance procured by the tenant or cropper
on the crops raised on the lands leased or rented to the extent of any rents due or advances made
to the tenant or cropper.
The lien provided herein shall be preferred to all other liens on said insurance, and the landlord or
his assigns shall be entitled to all the remedies at law for the enforcement of the lien. (1959, c.
1291; 1985, c. 689, s. 12.)
* 42-16. Rights of tenants.
*When the lessor or his assigns gets the actual possession of the crop or any part thereof
otherwise than by the mode prescribed in G.S. 42-15, and refuses or neglects, upon a notice,
written or oral, of five days, given by the lessee or cropper or the assigns of either, to make a fair
division of said crop, or to pay over to such lessee or cropper or the assigns of either, such part
thereof as he may be entitled to under the lease or agreement, then and in that case the lessee or
cropper or the assigns of either is entitled to the remedies against the lessor or his assigns given in
an action upon a claim for the delivery of personal property to recover such part of the crop as he,
in law and according to the lease or agreement, may be entitled to. The amount or quantity of
such crop claimed by said lessee or cropper or the assigns of either, together with a statement of
the grounds upon which it is claimed, shall be fully set forth in an affidavit at the beginning of the
action. (1876-7, c. 283, s. 2; Code, s. 1755; Rev., s. 1994; C.S., s. 2356.)
* 42-17. Action to settle dispute between parties.
*When any controversy arises between the parties, and neither party avails himself of the
provisions of this Chapter, it is competent for either party to proceed at once to have the matter
determined in the appropriate trial division of the General Court of Justice. (1876-7, c. 283, s. 3;
Code, s. 1756; Rev., s. 1995; C.S., s. 2357; 1971, c. 533, s. 1.)
* 42-18. Tenant's undertaking on continuance or appeal.
*In case there is a continuance or an appeal from the magistrate's decision to the district court, the
lessee or cropper, or the assigns of either, shall be allowed to retain possession of said property
upon his giving an undertaking to the lessor or his assigns, or the adverse party, in a sum double
the amount of the claim, if such claim does not amount to more than the value of such property,
otherwise to double the value of such property, with good and sufficient surety, to be approved
by the magistrate or the clerk of the superior court, conditioned for the faithful payment to the
adverse party of such damages as he shall recover in said action. (1876-7, c. 283, s. 3; Code, s.
1756; Rev., s. 1995; C.S., s. 2358; 1971, c. 533, s. 2.)
* 42-19. Crops delivered to landlord on his undertaking.
*In case the lessee or cropper, or the assigns of either, at the time of the appeal or continuance
mentioned in G.S. 42-18, fails to give the undertaking therein required, then the sheriff or other
lawful officer shall deliver the property into the actual possession of the lessor or his assigns, upon
the lessor or his assigns giving to the adverse party an undertaking in double the amount of said
property, to be justified as required in G.S. 42-18, conditioned for the forthcoming of such
property, or the value thereof, in case judgment is pronounced against him. (1876-7, c. 283, s. 4;
Code, s. 1757; Rev., s. 1996; C.S., s. 2359; 1973, c. 108, s. 17.)
* 42-20. Crops sold, if neither party gives undertaking.
*If neither party gives the undertaking described in G.S. 42-18 and 42-19, it is the duty of the
clerk of the superior court to issue an order to the sheriff, or other lawful officer, directing him to
take into his possession all of said property, or so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy the
claimant's demand and costs, and to sell the same under the rules and regulations prescribed by
law for the sale of personal property under execution, and to hold the proceeds thereof subject to
the decision of the court upon the issue or issues pending between the parties. (1876-7, c. 283, s.
5; Code, s. 1758; Rev., s. 1997; C.S., s. 2360; 1971, c. 533, s. 3.)
* 42-21. Tenant's crop not subject to execution against landlord.
*Whenever servants and laborers in agriculture shall by their contracts, oral or written, be
entitled, for wages, to a part of the crops cultivated by them, such part shall not be subject to sale
under executions against their employers, or the owners of the land cultivated. (Code, s. 1796;
Rev., s. 1998; C.S., s. 2361.)
* 42-22. Unlawful seizure by landlord or removal by tenant misdemeanor.
*If any landlord shall unlawfully, willfully, knowingly and without process of law, and unjustly
seize the crop of his tenant when there is nothing due him, he shall be guilty of a Class 1
misdemeanor. If any lessee or cropper, or the assigns of either, or any other person, shall remove
a crop, or any part thereof, from land without the consent of the lessor or his assigns, and without
giving him or his agent five days' notice of such intended removal, and before satisfying all the
liens held by the lessor or his assigns, on said crop, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
(1876-7, c. 283, s. 6; 1883, c. 83; Code, s. 1759; Rev., ss. 3664, 3665; C.S., s. 2362; 1993, c.
539, s. 404; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)
* 42-22.1. Failure of tenant to account for sales under tobacco marketing cards.
*Any tenant or share cropper having possession of a tobacco marketing card issued by any agency
of the State or federal government who sells tobacco authorized to be sold thereby and fails to
account to his landlord, to the extent of the net proceeds of such sale or sales, for all liens, rents,
advances, or other claims held by his landlord against the tobacco or the proceeds of the sale of
such tobacco, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1949, c. 193; 1993, c. 539, s. 405; 1994,
Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)
* 42-23. Terms of agricultural tenancies in certain counties.
*All agricultural leases and contracts hereafter made between landlord and tenant for a period of
one year or from year to year, whether such tenant pay a specified rental or share in the crops
grown, such year shall be from December first to December first, and such period of time shall
constitute a year for agricultural tenancies in lieu of the law and custom heretofore prevailing,
namely from January first to January first. In all cases of such tenancies a notice to quit of one
month as provided in G.S. 42-14 shall be applicable. If on account of illness or any other good
cause, the tenant is unable to harvest all the crops grown on lands leased by him for any year prior
to the termination of his lease contract on December first, he shall have a right to return to the
premises vacated by him at any time prior to December thirty-first of said year, for the purpose
only of harvesting and dividing the remaining crops so ungathered. But he shall have no right to
use the houses or outbuildings or that part of the lands from which the crops have been harvested
prior to the termination of the tenant year, as defined in this section.
This section shall only apply to the counties of Alamance, Anson, Ashe, Bladen, Brunswick,
Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gaston, Greene, Hoke, Jones, Lenoir,
Lincoln, Montgomery, Onslow, Pender, Person, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wayne and Yadkin.
(Pub. Loc. 1929, c. 40; Pub. Loc. 1935, c. 288; Pub. Loc. 1937, cc. 96, 600; Pub. Loc. 1941, c.
41; 1943, c. 68; 1945, c. 700; 1949, c. 136; 1953, c. 499, s. 1; 1955, c. 136; 1959, c. 1076; 1981,
c. 97, s. 1.)
* 42-24. Turpentine and lightwood leases.
*This Chapter shall apply to all leases or contracts to lease turpentine trees, or use lightwood for
purposes of making tar, and the parties thereto shall be fully subject to the provisions and
penalties of this Chapter. (1876-7, c. 283, s. 7; Code, s. 1762; 1893, c. 517; Rev., s. 1999; C.S., s.
* 42-25. Mining and timberland leases.
*If in a lease of land for mining, or of timbered land for the purpose of manufacturing the timber
into goods, rent is reserved, and if it is agreed in the lease that the minerals, timber or goods, or
any portion thereof, shall not be removed until the payment of the rent, in such case the lessor
shall have the rights and be entitled to the remedy given by this Chapter. (1868-9, c. 156, s. 16;
Code, s. 1763; Rev., s. 2000; C.S., s. 2364.)
Ejectment of Residential Tenants.
* 42-25.6. Manner of ejectment of residential tenants.
*It is the public policy of the State of North Carolina, in order to maintain the public peace, that a
residential tenant shall be evicted, dispossessed or otherwise constructively or actually removed
from his dwelling unit only in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Article 3 or Article 7
of this Chapter. (1981, c. 566, s. 1; 1995, c. 419, s. 1.1.)
* 42-25.7. Distress and distraint not permitted.
*It is the public policy of the State of North Carolina that distress and distraint are prohibited and
that landlords of residential rental property shall have rights concerning the personal property of
their residential tenants only in accordance with G.S. 42-25.9(d), 42-25.9(g), 42-25.9(h), or
42-36.2. (1981, c. 566, s. 1; 1995, c. 460, s. 8.)
* 42-25.8. Contrary lease provisions.
*Any lease or contract provision contrary to this Article shall be void as against public policy.
(1981, c. 566, s. 1.)
* 42-25.9. Remedies.
*(a) If any lessor, landlord, or agent removes or attempts to remove a tenant from a dwelling unit
in any manner contrary to this Article, the tenant shall be entitled to recover possession or to
terminate his lease and the lessor, landlord or agent shall be liable to the tenant for damages
caused by the tenant's removal or attempted removal. Damages in any action brought by a tenant
under this Article shall be limited to actual damages as in an action for trespass or conversion and
shall not include punitive damages, treble damages or damages for emotional distress.
*(b) If any lessor, landlord, or agent seizes possession of or interferes with a tenant's access to a
tenant's or household member's personal property in any manner not in accordance with G.S.
42-25.9(d), 42-25.9(g), 42-25.9(h), or 42-36.2 the tenant or household member shall be entitled
to recover possession of his personal property or compensation for the value of the personal
property, and, in any action brought by a tenant or household member under this Article, the
landlord shall be liable to the tenant or household member for actual damages, but not including
punitive damages, treble damages or damages for emotional distress.
*(c) The remedies created by this section are supplementary to all existing common-law and
statutory rights and remedies.
*(d) If any tenant abandons personal property of five hundred dollar ($500.00) value or less in the
demised premises, or fails to remove such property at the time of execution of a writ of
possession in an action for summary ejectment, the landlord may, as an alternative to the
procedures provided in G.S. 42-25.9(g), 42-25.9(h), or 42-36.2, deliver the property into the
custody of a nonprofit organization regularly providing free or at a nominal price clothing and
household furnishings to people in need, upon that organization agreeing to identify and
separately store the property for 30 days and to release the property to the tenant at no charge
within the 30-day period. A landlord electing to use this procedure shall immediately post at the
demised premises a notice containing the name and address of the property recipient, post the
same notice for 30 days or more at the place where rent is received, and send the same notice by
first-class mail to the tenant at the tenant's last known address. Provided, however, that the notice
shall not include a description of the property.
*(e) For purposes of subsection (d), personal property shall be deemed abandoned if the landlord
finds evidence that clearly shows the premises has been voluntarily vacated after the paid rental
period has expired and the landlord has no notice of a disability that caused the vacancy. A
presumption of abandonment shall arise 10 or more days after the landlord has posted
conspicuously a notice of suspected abandonment both inside and outside the premises and has
received no response from the tenant.
*(f) Any nonprofit organization agreeing to receive personal property under subsection (d) shall
not be liable to the owner for a disposition of such property provided that the property has been
separately identified and stored for release to the owner for a period of 30 days.
*(g) Ten days after being placed in lawful possession by execution of a writ of possession, a
landlord may throw away, dispose of, or sell all items of personal property remaining on the
premises. During the 10-day period after being placed in lawful possession by execution of a writ
of possession, a landlord may move for storage purposes, but shall not throw away, dispose of, or
sell any items of personal property remaining on the premises unless otherwise provided for in this
Chapter. Upon the tenant's request prior to the expiration of the 10-day period, the landlord shall
release possession of the property to the tenant during regular business hours or at a time agreed
upon. If the landlord elects to sell the property at public or private sale, the landlord shall give
written notice to the tenant by first-class mail to the tenant's last known address at least seven
days prior to the day of the sale. The seven-day notice of sale may run concurrently with the
10-day period which allows the tenant to request possession of the property. The written notice
shall state the date, time, and place of the sale, and that any surplus of proceeds from the sale,
after payment of unpaid rents, damages, storage fees, and sale costs, shall be disbursed to the
tenant, upon request, within 10 days after the sale, and will thereafter be delivered to the
government of the county in which the rental property is located. Upon the tenant's request prior
to the day of sale, the landlord shall release possession of the property to the tenant during regular
business hours or at a time agreed upon. The landlord may apply the proceeds of the sale to the
unpaid rents, damages, storage fees, and sale costs. Any surplus from the sale shall be disbursed
to the tenant, upon request, within 10 days of the sale and shall thereafter be delivered to the
government of the county in which the rental property is located.
*(h) If the total value of all property remaining on the premises at the time of execution of a writ
of possession in an action for summary ejectment is less than one hundred dollars ($100.00), then
the property shall be deemed abandoned five days after the time of execution, and the landlord
may throw away or dispose of the property. Upon the tenant's request prior to the expiration of
the five-day period, the landlord shall release possession of the property to the tenant during
regular business hours or at a time agreed upon. (1981, c. 566, s. 1; 1985, c. 612, ss. 1-4; 1995, c.
460, ss. 1-3.)
* 42-26. Tenant holding over may be dispossessed in certain cases.
*Any tenant or lessee of any house or land, and the assigns under the tenant or legal
representatives of such tenant or lessee, who holds over and continues in the possession of the
demised premises, or any part thereof, without the permission of the landlord, and after demand
made for its surrender, may be removed from such premises in the manner hereinafter prescribed
in any of the following cases:
*(1)When a tenant in possession of real estate holds over after his term has expired.
*(2)When the tenant or lessee, or other person under him, has done or omitted any act by
which, according to the stipulations of the lease, his estate has ceased.
*(3)When any tenant or lessee of lands or tenements, who is in arrear for rent or has agreed
to cultivate the demised premises and to pay a part of the crop to be made thereon as rent, or who
has given to the lessor a lien on such crop as a security for the rent, deserts the demised premises,
and leaves them unoccupied and uncultivated. (4 Geo. II, c. 28; 1868-9, c. 156, s. 19; Code, ss.
1766, 1777; 1905, cc. 297, 299, 820; Rev., s. 2001; C.S., s. 2365.)
* 42-26.1: Expired.
* 42-27. Local: Refusal to perform contract ground for dispossession.
*When any tenant or cropper who enters into a contract for the rental of land for the current or
ensuing year willfully neglects or refuses to perform the terms of his contract without just cause,
he shall forfeit his right of possession to the premises. This section applies only to the following
counties: Alamance, Alexander, Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick,
Burke, Cabarrus, Camden, Carteret, Caswell, Chatham, Chowan, Cleveland, Columbus, Craven,
Cumberland, Currituck, Davidson, Duplin, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Gaston, Gates, Greene,
Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Jackson, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Martin,
Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Moore, Nash, Northampton, Onslow, Pasquotank, Pender,
Perquimans, Pitt, Polk, Randolph, Robeson, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Sampson, Stokes,
Surry, Swain, Tyrrell, Union, Wake, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Wilson, Yadkin. (4 Geo. II, c.
28; 1868-9, c. 156, s. 19; Code, ss. 1766, 1777; 1905, cc. 297, 299, 820; Rev., s. 2001, subsec. 4;
1907, cc. 43, 153; 1909, cc. 40, 550; C.S., s. 2366; Pub. Loc. Ex. Sess. 1924, c. 66; 1931, cc. 50,
194, 446; 1933, cc. 86, 485; 1935, c. 39; 1943, cc. 69, 115, 459; 1951, c. 279; 1953, c. 271; c.
499, s. 2; 1955, c. 93; 1961, c. 25.)
* 42-28. Summons issued by clerk.
*When the lessor or his assignee files a complaint pursuant to G.S. 42-26 or 42-27, and asks to be
put in possession of the leased premises, the clerk of superior court shall issue a summons
requiring the defendant to appear at a certain time and place not to exceed seven days from the
issuance of the summons, excluding weekends and legal holidays, to answer the complaint. The
plaintiff may claim rent in arrears, and damages for the occupation of the premises since the
cessation of the estate of the lessee, not to exceed the jurisdictional amount established by G.S.
7A-210(1), but if he omits to make such claim, he shall not be prejudiced thereby in any other
action for their recovery. (1868-9, c. 156, s. 20; 1869-70, c. 212; Code, s. 1767; Rev., s. 2002;
C.S., s. 2367; 1971, c. 533, s. 4; 1973, c. 1267, s. 4; 1979, c. 144, s. 4; 1981, c. 555, s. 4; 1983,
c. 332, s. 2; 1985, c. 329, s. 1; 1989, c. 311, s. 3; 1993, c. 553, s. 73(c); 1995, c. 460, s. 4.)
* 42-29. Service of summons.
*The officer receiving the summons shall mail a copy of the summons and complaint to the
defendant no later than the end of the next business day or as soon as practicable at the
defendant's last known address in a stamped addressed envelope provided by the plaintiff to the
action. The officer may, within five days of the issuance of the summons, attempt to telephone the
defendant requesting that the defendant either personally visit the officer to accept service, or
schedule an appointment for the defendant to receive delivery of service from the officer. If the
officer does not attempt to telephone the defendant or the attempt is unsuccessful or does not
result in service to the defendant, the officer shall make at least one visit to the place of abode of
the defendant within five days of the issuance of the summons at a time reasonably calculated to
find the defendant at the place of abode to attempt personal delivery of service. He then shall
deliver a copy of the summons together with a copy of the complaint to the defendant, or leave
copies thereof at the defendant's dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of
suitable age and discretion then residing therein. If such service cannot be made the officer shall
affix copies to some conspicuous part of the premises claimed and make due return showing
compliance with this section. (1868-9, c. 156, s. 21; Code, s. 1768; Rev., s. 2003; C.S., s. 2368;
1973, c. 87; 1983, c. 332, s. 1; 1985, c. 102; 1995, c. 460, s. 5.)
* 42-30. Judgment by confession or where plaintiff has proved case.
*The summons shall be returned according to its tenor, and if on its return it appears to have been
duly served, and if the plaintiff proves his case by a preponderance of the evidence, or the
defendant admits the allegations of the complaint, the magistrate shall give judgment that the
defendant be removed from, and the plaintiff be put in possession of, the demised premises; and if
any rent or damages for the occupation of the premises after the cessation of the estate of the
lessee, not exceeding the jurisdictional amount established by G.S. 7A-210(1), be claimed in the
oath of the plaintiff as due and unpaid, the magistrate shall inquire thereof, and give judgment as
he may find the fact to be. (1868-9, c. 156, s. 22; Code, s. 1769; Rev., s. 2004; C.S., s. 2369;
1971, c. 533, s. 5; 1973, c. 10; c. 1267, s. 4; 1979, c. 144, s. 5; 1981, c. 555, s. 5; 1985, c. 329, s.
1; 1989, c. 311, s. 4; 1993, c. 553, s. 73(d).)
* 42-31. Trial by magistrate.
*If the defendant by his answer denies any material allegation in the oath of the plaintiff, the
magistrate shall hear the evidence and give judgment as he shall find the facts to be. (1868-9, c.
156, s. 23; Code, s. 1770; Rev., s. 2005; C.S., s. 2370; 1971, c. 533, s. 6.)
* 42-32. Damages assessed to trial.
*On appeal to the district court, the jury trying issues joined shall assess the damages of the
plaintiff for the detention of his possession to the time of the trial in that court; and, if the jury
finds that the detention was wrongful and that the appeal was without merit and taken for the
purpose of delay, the plaintiff, in addition to any other damages allowed, shall be entitled to the
amount of rent in arrears, or which may have accrued, to the time of trial in the district court.
Judgment for the rent in arrears and for the damages assessed may, on motion, be rendered
against the sureties to the appeal. (1868-9, c. 156, s. 28; Code, s. 1775; Rev., s. 2006; C.S., s.
2371; 1945, c. 796; 1971, c. 533, s. 7; 1979, c. 820, s. 7.)
* 42-33. Rent and costs tendered by tenant.
*If, in any action brought to recover the possession of demised premises upon a forfeiture for the
nonpayment of rent, the tenant, before judgment given in such action, pays or tenders the rent due
and the costs of the action, all further proceedings in such action shall cease. If the plaintiff further
prosecutes his action, and the defendant pays into court for the use of the plaintiff a sum equal to
that which shall be found to be due, and the costs, to the time of such payment, or to the time of a
tender and refusal, if one has occurred, the defendant shall recover from the plaintiff all
subsequent costs; the plaintiff shall be allowed to receive the sum paid into court for his use, and
the proceedings shall be stayed. (4 Geo. II, c. 28, s. 4; 1868-9, c. 156, s. 26; Code, s. 1773; Rev.,
s. 2007; C.S., s. 2372.)
* 42-34. Undertaking on appeal and order staying execution.
*(a) Upon appeal to the district court, either party may demand that the case be tried at the first
session of the court after the appeal is docketed, but the presiding judge, in his discretion, may
first try any pending case in which the rights of the parties or the public demand it.
*(b) It shall be sufficient to stay execution of a judgment for ejectment that the defendant
appellant sign an undertaking that he will pay into the office of the clerk of superior court the
amount of the contract rent as it becomes due periodically after the judgment was entered and,
where applicable, comply with subdivision (c) below. Any magistrate, clerk, or district court
judge shall order stay of execution upon such undertaking. If either party disputes the amount of
the payment or the due date in such undertaking, the aggrieved party may move for modification
of the terms of the undertaking before the clerk of superior court or the district court. Upon such
motion and upon notice to all interested parties, the clerk or court shall hold a hearing and
determine what modifications, if any, are appropriate.
*(c) In an ejectment action based upon alleged nonpayment of rent where the judgment is entered
more than five working days before the day when the next rent will be due under the lease, the
appellant shall make an additional undertaking to stay execution pending appeal. Such additional
undertaking shall be the payment of the prorated rent for the days between the day that the
judgment was entered and the next day when the rent will be due under the lease.
Notwithstanding, such additional undertaking shall not be required of an indigent appellant who
prosecutes his appeal with an in forma pauperis affidavit that meets the requirements of G.S.
*(d) The undertaking by the appellant and the order staying execution may be substantially in the
"State of North Carolina,
"County of ................
"................ , Plaintiff
"................ , DefendantStay Execution
On Appeal to
"Now comes the defendant in the above entitled action and respectfully shows the court that
judgment for summary ejectment was entered against the defendant and for the plaintiff on
the.......... day of ......., 19..., by the Magistrate. Defendant has appealed the judgment to the
"Pursuant to the terms of the lease between plaintiff and defendant, defendant is obligated to pay
rent in the amount of $...... per ....., due on the ..... day of each ......
"Where an additional undertaking is required by G.S. 42-34(c), the defendant hereby tenders $......
to the Court as required.
"Defendant hereby undertakes to pay the periodic rent hereinafter due according to the aforesaid
terms of the lease and moves the Court to stay execution on the judgment for summary ejectment
until this matter is heard on appeal by the District Court.
"This the ........ day of........, 19.....
"Upon execution of the above bond, execution on said judgment for summary ejectment is hereby
stayed until the action is heard on appeal in the District Court. If defendant fails to make any
rental payment to the clerk's office within five days of the due date, upon application of the
plaintiff, the stay of execution shall dissolve and the sheriff may dispossess the defendant.
"This ........ day of ........, 19.....
Assistant Clerk of Superior Court."
*(e) Upon application of the plaintiff, the clerk of superior court shall pay to the plaintiff any
amount of the rental payments paid by the defendant into the clerk's office which are not claimed
by the defendant in any pleadings.
*(f) If the defendant fails to make a payment within five days of the due date according to the
undertaking and order staying execution, the clerk, upon application of the plaintiff, shall issue
execution on the judgment for possession.
*(g) When it appears by stipulation executed by all of the parties or by final order of the court that
the appeal has been resolved, the clerk of court shall disburse any accrued moneys of the
undertaking remaining in the clerk's office according to the terms of the stipulation or order.
(1868-9, c. 156, s. 25; 1883, c. 316; Code, s. 1772; Rev., s. 2008; C.S., s. 2373; 1921, c. 90; Ex.
Sess. 1921, c. 17; 1933, c. 154; 1937, c. 294; 1949, c. 1159; 1971, c. 533, s. 8; 1979, c. 820, ss.
* 42-35. Restitution of tenant, if case quashed, etc., on appeal.
*If the proceedings before the magistrate are brought before a district court and quashed, or
judgment is given against the plaintiff, the district or other court in which final judgment is given
shall, if necessary, restore the defendant to the possession, and issue such writs as are proper for
that purpose. (1868-9, c. 156, s. 27; Code, s. 1774; Rev., s. 2009; C.S., s. 2374; 1971, c. 533, s.
* 42-36. Damages to tenant for dispossession, if proceedings quashed, etc.
*If, by order of the magistrate, the plaintiff is put in possession, and the proceedings shall
afterwards be quashed or reversed, the defendant may recover damages of the plaintiff for his
removal. (1868-9, c. 156, s. 30; Code, s. 1776; Rev., s. 2010; C.S., s. 2375; 1971, c. 533, s. 10.)
* 42-36.1. Lease or rental of manufactured homes.
*The provisions of this Article shall apply to the lease or rental of manufactured homes, as defined
in G.S. 143-145. (1971, c. 764; 1985, c. 487, s. 8.)
* 42-36.1A. Judgments for possession more than 30 days old.
*Prior to obtaining execution of a judgment that has been entered for more than 30 days for
possession of demised premises, a landlord shall sign an affidavit stating that the landlord has
neither entered into a formal lease with the defendant nor accepted rental money from the
defendant for any period of time after entry of the judgment. (1995, c. 460, s. 7.)
* 42-36.2. Notice to tenant of execution of writ for possession of property; storage of evicted
tenant's personal property.
*(a) When Sheriff May Remove Property. -- Before removing a tenant's personal property from
demised premises pursuant to a writ for possession of real property or an order, the sheriff shall
give the tenant notice of the approximate time the writ will be executed. The time within which
the sheriff shall have to execute the writ shall be no more than seven days from the sheriff's receipt
thereof. The sheriff shall remove the tenant's property, as provided in the writ, no earlier than the
time specified in the notice, unless:
*(1)The landlord, or his authorized agent, signs a statement saying that the tenant's property
can remain on the premises, in which case the sheriff shall simply lock the premises; or
*(2)The landlord, or his authorized agent, signs a statement saying that the landlord does not
want to eject the tenant because the tenant has paid all court costs charged to him and has
satisfied his indebtedness to the landlord.
Upon receipt of either statement by the landlord, the sheriff shall return the writ unexecuted to
the issuing clerk of court and shall make a notation on the writ of his reasons. The sheriff shall
attach a copy of the landlord's statement to the writ. If the writ is returned unexecuted because
the landlord signed a statement described in subdivision (2) of this subsection, the clerk shall make
an entry of satisfaction on the judgment docket. If the sheriff padlocks, the costs of the
proceeding shall be charged as part of the court costs.
*(b) Sheriff May Store Property. -- When the sheriff removes the personal property of an evicted
tenant from demised premises pursuant to a writ or order the tenant shall take possession of his
property. If the tenant fails or refuses to take possession of his property, the sheriff may deliver
the property to any storage warehouse in the county, or in an adjoining county if no storage
warehouse is located in that county, for storage. The sheriff may require the landlord to advance
the cost of delivering the property to a storage warehouse plus the cost of one month's storage
before delivering the property to a storage warehouse. If a landlord refuses to advance these costs
when requested to do so by the sheriff, the sheriff shall not remove the tenant's property, but shall
return the writ unexecuted to the issuing clerk of court with a notation thereon of his reason for
not executing the writ. Within 10 days of the landlord's being placed in lawful possession by
execution of a writ of possession and upon the tenant's request within that 10-day period, the
landlord shall release possession of the property to the tenant during regular business hours or at a
time agreed upon. During the 10-day period after being placed in lawful possession by execution
of a writ of possession, a landlord may move for storage purposes, but shall not throw away,
dispose of, or sell any items of personal property remaining on the premises unless otherwise
provided for in this Chapter. After the expiration of the 10-day period, the landlord may throw
away, dispose of, or sell the property in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 42-25.9(g). If the
tenant does not request release of the property within 10 days, all costs of summary ejectment,
execution and storage proceedings shall be charged to the tenant as court costs and shall
constitute a lien against the stored property or a claim against any remaining balance of the
proceeds of a warehouseman's lien sale.
*(c) Liability of the Sheriff. -- A sheriff who stores a tenant's property pursuant to this section and
any person acting under the sheriff's direction, control, or employment shall be liable for any
claims arising out of the willful or wanton negligence in storing the tenant's property.
*(d) Notice. -- The notice required by subsection (a) shall inform the tenant that failure to request
possession of any property on the premises within 10 days of execution may result in the property
being thrown away, disposed of, or sold. Notice shall be made by one of the following methods:
*(1)By delivering a copy of the notice to the tenant or his authorized agent at least two days
before the time stated in the notice for serving the writ;
*(2)By leaving a copy of the notice at the tenant's dwelling or usual place of abode with a
person of suitable age and discretion who resides there at least two days before the time stated in
the notice for serving the writ; or
*(3)By mailing a copy of the notice by first-class mail to the tenant at his last known address at
least five days before the time stated in the notice for serving the writ. (1983, c. 672, s. 1; 1995, c.
460, s. 6.)
* 42-37: Repealed by Session Laws 1971, c. 533, s. 11.
* 42-37.1. Defense of retaliatory eviction.
*(a) It is the public policy of the State of North Carolina to protect tenants and other persons
whose residence in the household is explicitly or implicitly known to the landlord, who seek to
exercise their rights to decent, safe, and sanitary housing. Therefore, the following activities of
such persons are protected by law:
*(1)A good faith complaint or request for repairs to the landlord, his employee, or his agent
about conditions or defects in the premises that the landlord is obligated to repair under G.S.
*(2)A good faith complaint to a government agency about a landlord's alleged violation of any
health or safety law, or any regulation, code, ordinance, or State or federal law that regulates
premises used for dwelling purposes;
*(3)A government authority's issuance of a formal complaint to a landlord concerning
premises rented by a tenant;
*(4)A good faith attempt to exercise, secure or enforce any rights existing under a valid lease
or rental agreement or under State or federal law; or
*(5)A good faith attempt to organize, join, or become otherwise involved with, any
organization promoting or enforcing tenants' rights.
*(b) In an action for summary ejectment pursuant to G.S. 42-26, a tenant may raise the
affirmative defense of retaliatory eviction and may present evidence that the landlord's action is
substantially in response to the occurrence within 12 months of the filing of such action of one or
more of the protected acts described in subsection (a) of this section.
*(c) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b) of this section, a landlord may prevail in an action
for summary ejectment if:
*(1)The tenant breached the covenant to pay rent or any other substantial covenant of the
lease for which the tenant may be evicted, and such breach is the reason for the eviction; or
*(2)In a case of a tenancy for a definite period of time where the tenant has no option to
renew the lease, the tenant holds over after expiration of the term; or
*(3)The violation of G.S. 42-42 complained of was caused primarily by the willful or negligent
conduct of the tenant, member of the tenant's household, or their guests or invitees; or
*(4)Compliance with the applicable building or housing code requires demolition or major
alteration or remodeling that cannot be accomplished without completely displacing the tenant's
*(5)The landlord seeks to recover possession on the basis of a good faith notice to quit the
premises, which notice was delivered prior to the occurrence of any of the activities protected by
subsections (a) and (b) of this section; or
*(6)The landlord seeks in good faith to recover possession at the end of the tenant's term for
use as the landlord's own abode, to demolish or make major alterations or remodeling of the
dwelling unit in a manner that requires the complete displacement of the tenant's household, or to
terminate for at least six months the use of the property as a rental dwelling unit. (1979, c. 807.)
* 42-37.2. Remedies.
*(a) If the court finds that an ejectment action is retaliatory, as defined by this Article, it shall deny
the request for ejectment; provided, that a dismissal of the request for ejectment shall not prevent
the landlord from receiving payments for rent due or any other appropriate judgment.
*(b) The rights and remedies created by this Article are supplementary to all existing common law
and statutory rights and remedies. (1979, c. 807.)
* 42-37.3. Waiver.
*Any waiver by a tenant or a member of his household of the rights and remedies created by this
Article is void as contrary to public policy. (1979, c. 807.)
Residential Rental Agreements.
* 42-38. Application.
*This Article determines the rights, obligations, and remedies under a rental agreement for a
dwelling unit within this State. (1977, c. 770, s. 1.)
* 42-39. Exclusions.
*(a) The provisions of this Article shall not apply to transient occupancy in a hotel, motel, or
similar lodging subject to regulation by the Commission for Health Services.
*(b) Nothing in this Article shall apply to any dwelling furnished without charge or rent. (1973, c.
476, s. 128; 1977, c. 770, ss. 1, 2.)
* 42-40. Definitions.
*For the purpose of this Article, the following definitions shall apply:
*(1)"Action" includes recoupment, counterclaim, defense, setoff, and any other proceeding
including an action for possession.
*(2)"Premises" means a dwelling unit, including mobile homes or mobile home spaces, and the
structure of which it is a part and facilities and appurtenances therein and grounds, areas, and
facilities normally held out for the use of residential tenants who are using the dwelling unit as
their primary residence.
*(3)"Landlord" means any owner and any rental management company, rental agency, or any
other person having the actual or apparent authority of an agent to perform the duties imposed by
this Article. (1977, c. 770, s. 1; 1979, c. 880, ss. 1, 2.)
* 42-41. Mutuality of obligations.
*The tenant's obligation to pay rent under the rental agreement or assignment and to comply with
G.S. 42-43 and the landlord's obligation to comply with G.S. 42-42(a) shall be mutually
dependent. (1977, c. 770, s. 1.)
* 42-42. Landlord to provide fit premises.
*(a) The landlord shall:
*(1)Comply with the current applicable building and housing codes, whether enacted before or
after October 1, 1977, to the extent required by the operation of such codes; no new requirement
is imposed by this subdivision (a)(1) if a structure is exempt from a current building code;
*(2)Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and
*(3)Keep all common areas of the premises in safe condition;
*(4)Maintain in good and safe working order and promptly repair all electrical, plumbing,
sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and other facilities and appliances supplied or
required to be supplied by him provided that notification of needed repairs is made to the landlord
in writing by the tenant except in emergency situations; and
*(5)Provide operable smoke detectors, either battery-operated or electrical, having an
Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., listing or other equivalent national testing laboratory approval,
that are installed in accordance with either the standards of the National Fire Protection
Association or the minimum protection designated in the manufacturer's instructions, which the
landlord shall retain or provide as proof of compliance. The landlord must replace or repair the
smoke detectors provided the landlord is notified of needed replacement or repairs in writing by
the tenant. Unless the landlord and the tenant have a written agreement to the contrary, the
landlord must place new batteries in a battery-operated smoke detector at the beginning of a
tenancy and the tenant must replace the batteries as needed during the tenancy. Failure of the
tenant to replace the batteries as needed shall not be considered as negligence on the part of the
tenant or the landlord.
*(b) The landlord is not released of his obligations under any part of this section by the tenant's
explicit or implicit acceptance of the landlord's failure to provide premises complying with this
section, whether done before the lease was made, when it was made, or after it was made, unless
a governmental subdivision imposes an impediment to repair for a specific period of time not to
exceed six months. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, the landlord and tenant are
not prohibited from making a subsequent written contract wherein the tenant agrees to perform
specified work on the premises, provided that said contract is supported by adequate
consideration other than the letting of the premises and is not made with the purpose or effect of
evading the landlord's obligations under this Article. (1977, c. 770, s. 1; 1995, c. 111, s. 2.)
* 42-43. Tenant to maintain dwelling unit.
*(a) The tenant shall:
*(1)Keep that part of the premises which he occupies and uses as clean and safe as the
conditions of the premises permit and cause no unsafe or unsanitary conditions in the common
areas and remainder of the premises which he uses;
*(2)Dispose of all ashes, rubbish, garbage, and other waste in a clean and safe manner;
*(3)Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant as clean as their
*(4)Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, or remove any part of the
premises, nor render inoperable the smoke detector provided by the landlord, or knowingly permit
any person to do so;
*(5)Comply with any and all obligations imposed upon the tenant by current applicable
building and housing codes;
*(6)Be responsible for all damage, defacement, or removal of any property inside a dwelling
unit in his exclusive control unless said damage, defacement or removal was due to ordinary wear
and tear, acts of the landlord or his agent, defective products supplied or repairs authorized by the
landlord, acts of third parties not invitees of the tenant, or natural forces; and
*(7)Notify the landlord of the need for replacement of or repairs to a smoke detector. Nothing
in this bill shall prohibit an individual landlord in a written agreement with the tenant from
requiring the tenant to provide notice in writing of the need for replacement of or repairs to a
smoke detector. Unless the landlord and the tenant have a written agreement to the contrary, the
landlord must place new batteries in a battery-operated smoke detector at the beginning of a
tenancy and the tenant must replace the batteries as needed during the tenancy. Failure of the
tenant to replace the batteries as needed shall not be considered as negligence on the part of the
tenant or the landlord.
*(b) The landlord shall notify the tenant in writing of any breaches of the tenant's obligations
under this section except in emergency situations. (1977, c. 770, s. 1; 1995, c. 111, s. 3.)
* 42-44. General remedies and limitations.
*(a) Any right or obligation declared by this Chapter is enforceable by civil action, in addition to
other remedies of law and in equity.
*(b) Repealed by Session Laws 1979, c. 820, s. 8.
*(c) The tenant may not unilaterally withhold rent prior to a judicial determination of a right to do
*(d) A violation of this Article shall not constitute negligence per se. (1977, c. 770, s. 1; 1979, c.
820, s. 8.)
* 42-45. Early termination of rental agreement by military personnel.
*(a) Any member of the United States Armed Forces who (i) is required to move pursuant to
permanent change of station orders to depart 50 miles or more from the location of the dwelling
unit, or (ii) is prematurely or involuntarily discharged or released from active duty with the United
States Armed Forces, may terminate his rental agreement for a dwelling unit by providing the
landlord with a written notice of termination to be effective on a date stated in the notice that is at
least 30 days after the landlord's receipt of the notice. The notice to the landlord must be
accompanied by either a copy of the official military orders or a written verification signed by the
member's commanding officer.
Upon termination of a rental agreement under this section, the tenant is liable for the rent due
under the rental agreement prorated to the effective date of the termination payable at such time
as would have otherwise been required by the terms of the rental agreement. The tenant is not
liable for any other rent or damages due to the early termination of the tenancy except the
liquidated damages provided in subsection (b) of this section. If a member terminates the rental
agreement pursuant to this section 14 or more days prior to occupancy, no damages or penalties
of any kind shall be due.
*(b) In consideration of early termination of the rental agreement, the tenant is liable to the
landlord for liquidated damages provided the tenant has completed less than nine months of the
tenancy and the landlord has suffered actual damages due to loss of the tenancy. The liquidated
damages shall be in an amount no greater than one month's rent if the tenant has completed less
than six months of the tenancy as of the effective date of termination, or one-half of one month's
rent if the tenant has completed at least six but less than nine months of the tenancy as of the
effective date of termination.
*(c) The provisions of this section may not be waived or modified by the agreement of the parties
under any circumstances. Nothing in this section shall affect the rights established by G.S. 42-3.
(1987, c. 478.)
* 42-46. Late fees.
*(a) In all residential rental agreements in which a definite time for the payment of the rent is
fixed, the parties may agree to a late fee not to exceed fifteen dollars ($15.00) or five percent
(5%) of the rental payment, whichever is greater, to be charged by the lessor if any rental payment
is five days or more late.
*(b) A late fee under this section may be imposed only one time for each late rental payment. A
late fee for a specific late rental payment may not be deducted from a subsequent rental payment
so as to cause the subsequent rental payment to be in default.
*(c) Any provision of a residential rental agreement contrary to the provisions of this section is
against the public policy of this State and therefore void and unenforceable. (1987, c. 530.)
Tenant Security Deposit Act.
* 42-50. Deposits from the tenant.
*Security deposits from the tenant in residential dwelling units shall be deposited in a trust
account with a licensed and insured bank or savings institution located in the State of North
Carolina or the landlord may, at his option, furnish a bond from an insurance company licensed to
do business in North Carolina. The security deposits from the tenant may be held in a trust
account outside of the State of North Carolina only if the landlord provides the tenant with an
adequate bond in the amount of said deposits. The landlord or his agent shall notify the tenant
within 30 days after the beginning of the lease term of the name and address of the bank or
institution where his deposit is currently located or the name of the insurance company providing
the bond. (1977, c. 914, s. 1.)
* 42-51. Permitted uses of the deposit.
*Security deposits for residential dwelling units shall be permitted only for the tenant's possible
nonpayment of rent, damage to the premises, nonfulfillment of rental period, any unpaid bills
which become a lien against the demised property due to the tenant's occupancy, costs of
re-renting the premises after breach by the tenant, costs of removal and storage of tenant's
property after a summary ejectment proceeding or court costs in connection with terminating a
tenancy. Such security deposit shall not exceed an amount equal to two weeks' rent if a tenancy is
week to week, one and one-half months' rent if a tenancy is month to month, and two months'
rent for terms greater than month to month. These deposits must be fully accounted for by the
landlord as set forth in G.S. 42-52. (1977, c. 914, s. 1; 1983, c. 672, s. 3.)
* 42-52. Landlord's obligations.
*Upon termination of the tenancy, money held by the landlord as security may be applied as
permitted in G.S. 42-51 or, if not so applied, shall be refunded to the tenant. In either case the
landlord in writing shall itemize any damage and mail or deliver same to the tenant, together with
the balance of the security deposit, no later than 30 days after termination of the tenancy and
delivery of possession by the tenant. If the tenant's address is unknown the landlord shall apply the
deposit as permitted in G.S. 42-51 after a period of 30 days and the landlord shall hold the
balance of the deposit for collection by the tenant for at least six months. The landlord may not
withhold as damages part of the security deposit for conditions that are due to normal wear and
tear nor may the landlord retain an amount from the security deposit which exceeds his actual
damages. (1977, c. 914, s. 1.)
* 42-53. Pet deposits.
*Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the landlord may charge a reasonable,
nonrefundable fee for pets kept by the tenant on the premises. (1977, c. 914, s. 1.)
* 42-54. Transfer of dwelling units.
*Upon termination of the landlord's interest in the dwelling unit in question, whether by sale,
assignment, death, appointment of receiver or otherwise, the landlord or his agent shall, within 30
days, do one of the following acts, either of which shall relieve him of further liability with respect
to such payment or deposit:
*(1)Transfer the portion of such payment or deposit remaining after any lawful deductions
made under this section to the landlord's successor in interest and thereafter notify the tenant by
mail of such transfer and of the transferee's name and address; or
*(2)Return the portion of such payment or deposit remaining after any lawful deductions
made under this section to the tenant. (1977, c. 914, s. 1.)
* 42-55. Remedies.
*If the landlord or the landlord's successor in interest fails to account for and refund the balance
of the tenant's security deposit as required by this Article, the tenant may institute a civil action to
require the accounting of and the recovery of the balance of the deposit. In addition to other
remedies at law and equity, the tenant may recover damages resulting from noncompliance by the
landlord; and upon a finding by the court that the party against whom judgment is rendered was in
willful noncompliance with this Article, the court may, in its discretion, allow a reasonable
attorney's fee to the duly licensed attorney representing the prevailing party, such attorney's fee to
be taxed as part of the cost of court. (1977, c. 914, s. 1.)
* 42-56. Application of Article.
*The provisions of this Article shall apply to all persons, firms, or corporations engaged in the
business of renting or managing residential dwelling units, excluding single rooms, on a weekly,
monthly or annual basis. (1977, c. 914, s. 2.)
Expedited Eviction of Drug Traffickers and Other Criminals.
* 42-59. Definitions.
*As used in this Article:
*(1)"Complete eviction" means the eviction and removal of a tenant and all members of the
*(2)"Criminal activity" means
(i) activity that would constitute a violation of G.S. 90-95 other than a violation of G.S.
90-95(a)(3), or a conspiracy to violate any provision of G.S. 90-95 other than G.S. 90-95(a)(3);
(ii) other criminal activity that threatens the health, safety, or right of peaceful enjoyment
of the entire premises by other residents or employees of the landlord.
*(3)"Entire premises" or "leased residential premises" means a house, building, mobile home,
or apartment, whether publicly or privately owned, which is leased for residential purposes. These
terms include the entire building or complex of buildings or mobile home park and all real
property of any nature appurtenant thereto and used in connection therewith, including all
individual rental units, streets, sidewalks, and common areas. These terms do not include a hotel,
motel, or other guest house or part thereof rented to a transient guest.
*(4)"Felony" means a criminal offense that constitutes a felony under North Carolina law.
*(5)"Guest" means any natural person who has been given express or implied permission by a
tenant, a member of the tenant's household, or another guest of the tenant to enter an individual
rental unit or any portion of the entire premises.
*(6)"Individual rental unit" means an apartment or individual dwelling or accommodation
which is leased to a particular tenant, whether or not it is used or occupied or intended to be used
or occupied by a single family or household.
*(7)"Landlord" means a person, entity, corporation, or governmental authority or agency who
or which owns, operates, or manages any leased residential premises.
*(8)"Partial eviction" means the eviction and removal of specified persons from a leased
*(9)"Resident" means any natural person who lawfully resides in a leased residential premises
who is not a signatory to a lease or otherwise has no contractual relationship to a landlord. The
term includes members of the household of a tenant.
*(10)"Tenant" means any natural person or entity who is a named party or signatory to a lease
or rental agreement, and who occupies, resides in, or has a legal right to possess and use an
individual rental unit. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-59.1. Statement of Public Policy.
*The General Assembly recognizes that the residents of this State have the right to the peaceful,
safe, and quiet enjoyment of their homes. The General Assembly further recognizes that these
rights, as well as the health, safety, and welfare of residents, are often jeopardized by the criminal
activity of other residents of rented residential property, but that landlords are often unable to
remove those residents engaged in criminal activity. In order to ensure that residents of this State
can have the peaceful, safe, and quiet enjoyment of their homes, the provisions of this Article are
deemed to apply to all residential rental agreements in this State. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-60. Nature of actions and jurisdiction.
*The causes of action established in this Article are civil actions to remove tenants or other
persons from leased residential premises. These actions shall be brought in the district court of the
county where the individual rental unit is located. If the plaintiff files the complaint as a small
claim, the parties shall not be entitled to discovery from the magistrate. However, if such a case is
filed originally in the district court or is appealed from the judgment of a magistrate for a new trial
in the district court, all of the procedures and remedies in this Article shall be applicable. (1995, c.
419, s. 1.)
* 42-61. Standard of proof.
*The civil causes of action established in this Article shall be proved by a preponderance of the
evidence, except as otherwise expressly provided in G.S. 42-64. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-62. Parties.
*(a) Who May Bring Action. -- A civil action pursuant to this Article may be brought by the
landlord of a leased residential premises, or the landlord's agent, as provided for in G.S. 1-57 of
the General Statutes and in Article 3 of this Chapter.
*(b) Defendants to the Action. -- A civil action pursuant to this Article may be brought against
any person within the jurisdiction of the court, including a tenant, adult or minor member of the
tenant's household, guest, or resident of the leased residential premises. If any defendant's true
name is unknown to the plaintiff, process may issue against the defendant under a fictitious name,
stating it to be fictitious and adding an appropriate description sufficient to identify him or her.
*(c) Notice to Defendants. -- A complaint initiating an action pursuant to this Article shall be
served in the same manner as serving complaints in civil actions pursuant to G.S. 1A-1, Rule 4
and G.S. 42-29. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-63. Remedies and judicial orders.
*(a) Grounds for Complete Eviction. -- Subject to the provisions of G.S. 42-64 and pursuant to
G.S 42-68, the court shall order the immediate eviction of a tenant and all other residents of the
tenant's individual unit where it finds that:
*(1)Criminal activity has occurred on or within the individual rental unit leased to the tenant;
*(2)The individual rental unit leased to the tenant was used in any way in furtherance of or to
promote criminal activity; or
*(3)The tenant, any member of the tenant's household, or any guest has engaged in criminal
activity on or in the immediate vicinity of any portion of the entire premises; or
*(4)The tenant has given permission to or invited a person to return or reenter any portion of
the entire premises, knowing that the person has been removed and barred from the entire
premises pursuant to this Article or the reasonable rules and regulations of a publicly assisted
*(5)The tenant has failed to notify law enforcement or the landlord immediately upon learning
that a person who has been removed and barred from the tenant's individual rental unit pursuant
to this Article has returned to or reentered the tenant's individual rental unit.
*(b) Grounds for Partial Eviction and Issuance of Removal Orders. -- The court shall, subject to
the provisions of G.S. 42-64, order the immediate removal from the entire premises of any person
other than the tenant, including an adult or minor member of the tenant's household, where the
court finds that such person has engaged in criminal activity on or in the immediate vicinity of any
portion of the leased residential premises. Persons removed pursuant to this section shall be
barred from returning to or reentering any portion of the entire premises.
*(c) Conditional Eviction Orders Directed Against the Tenant. -- Where the court finds that a
member of the tenant's household or a guest of the tenant has engaged in criminal activity on or in
the immediate vicinity of any portion of the leased residential premises, but such person has not
been named as a party defendant, has not appeared in the action or otherwise has not been
subjected to the jurisdiction of the court, a conditional eviction order issued pursuant to
subsection (b) of this section shall be directed against the tenant, and shall provide that as an
express condition of the tenancy, the tenant shall not give permission to or invite the barred
person or persons to return to or reenter any portion of the entire premises. The tenant shall
acknowledge in writing that the tenant understands the terms of the court's order, and that the
tenant further understands that the failure to comply with the court's order will result in the
mandatory termination of the tenancy pursuant to G.S. 42-68. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-64. Affirmative defense or exemption to a complete eviction.
*(a) Affirmative Defense. -- The court shall refrain from ordering the complete eviction of a
tenant pursuant to G.S. 42-63(a) where the tenant has established that the tenant was not involved
in the criminal activity and that:
*(1)The tenant did not know or have reason to know that criminal activity was occurring or
would likely occur on or within the individual rental unit, that the individual rental unit was used
in any way in furtherance of or to promote criminal activity, or that any member of the tenant's
household or any guest has engaged in criminal activity on or in the immediate vicinity of any
portion of the entire premises; or
*(2)The tenant had done everything that could reasonably be expected under the circumstances
to prevent the commission of the criminal activity, such as requesting the landlord to remove the
offending household member's name from the lease, reporting prior criminal activity to
appropriate law enforcement authorities, seeking assistance from social service or counseling
agencies, denying permission, if feasible, for the offending household member to reside in the unit,
or seeking assistance from church or religious organizations.
Notwithstanding the court's denial of eviction of the tenant, if the plaintiff has proven that an
evictable offense under G.S. 42-63 was committed by someone other than the tenant, the court
shall order such other relief as the court deems appropriate to protect the interests of the landlord
and neighbors of the tenant, including the partial eviction of the culpable household members
pursuant to G.S. 42-63(b) and conditional eviction orders under G.S. 42-63(c).
*(b) Subsequent Affirmative Defense to a Complete Eviction. --The affirmative defense set forth
in subsection (a) of this section shall not be available to a tenant in a subsequent action brought
pursuant to this Article unless the tenant can establish by clear and convincing evidence that no
reasonable person could have foreseen the occurrence of the subsequent criminal activity or that
the tenant had done everything reasonably expected under the circumstances to prevent the
commission of the second criminal activity.
*(c) Exemption. -- Where the grounds for a complete eviction have been established, the court
shall order the eviction of the tenant unless, taking into account the circumstances of the criminal
activity and the condition of the tenant, the court is clearly convinced that immediate eviction or
removal would be a serious injustice, the prevention of which overrides the need to protect the
rights, safety, and health of the other tenants and residents of the leased residential premises. The
burden of proof for the exemption set forth shall be by clear and convincing evidence. (1995, c.
419, s. 1.)
* 42-65. Obstructing the execution or enforcement of a removal or eviction order.
*Any person who knowingly violates any order issued pursuant to this Article or who knowingly
interferes with, obstructs, impairs, or prevents any law enforcement officer from enforcing or
executing any order issued pursuant to this Article, shall be subject to criminal contempt under
Article 1 of Chapter 5A of the General Statutes. Nothing in this section shall be construed in any
way to preclude or preempt prosecution for any other criminal offense. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-66. Motion to enforce eviction and removal orders.
*(a) A motion to enforce an eviction or removal order issued pursuant to G.S. 42-63(b) or (c)
shall be heard on an expedited basis and within 15 days of the service of the motion.
*(b) Mandatory Eviction. -- The court shall order the immediate eviction of the tenant where it
*(1)The tenant has given permission to or invited any person removed or barred from the
leased residential premises pursuant to this Article to return to or reenter any portion of the
*(2)The tenant has failed to notify appropriate law enforcement authorities or the landlord
immediately upon learning that any person who had been removed and barred pursuant to this
Article has returned to or reentered the tenant's individual rental unit; or
*(3)The tenant has otherwise knowingly violated an express term or condition of any order
issued by court pursuant to this Article. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-67. Impermissible defense.
*It shall not be a defense to an action brought pursuant to this Article that the criminal activity
was an isolated incident or otherwise has not recurred. Nor is it a defense that the person who
actually engaged in the criminal activity no longer resides in the tenant's individual rental unit.
However, evidence of such facts may be admissible if offered to support affirmative defenses or
grounds for an exemption pursuant to G.S. 42-64. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-68. Expedited proceedings.
*Where the complaint is filed as a small claim, the expedited process for summary ejectment, as
provided in Article 3 of this Chapter and Chapter 7A of the General Statutes, applies. Where the
complaint is filed initially in the district court or a judgment by the magistrate is appealed to the
district court, the procedure in G.S. 42-34(b) through (g), if applicable, and the following
*(1)Expedited Hearing. -- When a complaint is filed initiating an action pursuant to this Article,
the court shall set the matter for a hearing which shall be held on an expedited basis and within the
first term of court falling after 30 days from the service of the complaint on all defendants or from
service of notice of appeal from a magistrate's judgment, unless either party obtains a continuance.
However, where a defendant files a counterclaim, the court shall reset the trial for the first term of
court falling after 30 days from the defendant's service of the counterclaim.
*(2)Standards for Continuances. -- The court shall not grant a continuance, nor shall it stay the
civil proceedings pending the disposition of any related criminal proceedings, except as required
to complete permitted discovery, to have the plaintiff reply to a counterclaim, or for compelling
and extraordinary reasons or on application of the district attorney for good cause shown.
*(3)When Presented. -- The defendant in an action brought in district court pursuant to this
Article shall serve an answer within 20 days after service of the summons and complaint, or within
20 days after service of the appeal to district court when the action was initially brought in small
claims court. The plaintiff shall serve a reply to a counterclaim in the answer within 20 days after
service of the answer.
*(4)Extensions of Time for Filing. -- The parties to an action brought pursuant to this Article
shall not be entitled to an extension of time for completing an act required by subdivision (3) of
this section, except for compelling and extraordinary reasons.
*(5)Default. -- A party to an action brought pursuant to this Article who fails to plead in
accordance with the time periods in subdivision (3) of this section shall be subject to the
provisions of G.S. 1A-1, Rule 55.
*(6)Rules of Civil Procedure. -- Unless otherwise provided for in this Article, G.S. 1A-1, the
Rules of Civil Procedure, shall apply in the district court to all actions brought pursuant to this
Article. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-69. Relation to criminal proceedings.
*(a) Criminal Proceedings, Conviction, or Adjudication Not Required. -- The fact that a criminal
prosecution involving the criminal activity is not commenced or, if commenced, has not yet been
concluded or has terminated without a conviction or adjudication of delinquency shall not
preclude a civil action or the issuance of any order pursuant to this Article.
*(b) Effect of Conviction or Adjudication. -- Where a criminal prosecution involving the criminal
activity results in a final criminal conviction or adjudication of delinquency, such adjudication or
conviction shall be considered in the civil action as conclusive proof that the criminal activity
*(c) Admissibility of Criminal Trial Recordings or Transcripts. -- Any evidence or testimony
admitted in the criminal proceeding, including recordings or transcripts of the adult or juvenile
criminal proceedings, whether or not they have been transcribed, may be admitted in the civil
action initiated pursuant to this Article.
*(d) Use of Sealed Criminal Proceeding Records. -- In the event that the evidence or records of a
criminal proceeding which did not result in a conviction or adjudication of delinquency have been
sealed by court order, the court in a civil action brought pursuant to this Article may order such
evidence or records, whether or not they have been transcribed, to be unsealed if the court finds
that such evidence or records would be relevant to the fair disposition of the civil action. (1995, c.
419, s. 1.)
* 42-70. Discovery.
*(a) The parties to an action brought pursuant to this Article shall be entitled to conduct
discovery, if the action is filed originally in or appealed to the district court, only in accordance
with this section.
*(b) Any defendant must initiate all discovery within the time allowed by this Article for the filing
of an answer or counterclaim.
*(c) The plaintiff must initiate all discovery within 20 days of service of an answer or
counterclaim by a defendant.
*(d) All parties served with interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and requests
for admissions under G.S. 1A-1, Rules 33, 34, and 36 shall serve their responses within 20 days.
*(e) Upon application by the plaintiff, or agreement of the parties, the court shall issue a
preliminary injunction against all alleged illegal activity by the defendant or other identified parties
who are residents of the individual rental unit or guests of defendants, pending the completion of
discovery and any other wait before the trial has occurred. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-71. Protection of threatened witnesses or affiants.
*If proof necessary to establish the grounds for eviction depends, in whole or in part, upon the
affidavits or testimony of witnesses who are not peace officers, the court may, upon a showing of
prior threats of violence or acts of violence by any defendant or any other person, issue orders to
protect those witnesses, including the nondisclosure of the name, address, or any other
information which may identify those witnesses. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-72. Availability of law enforcement resources to plaintiffs or potential plaintiffs.
*A law enforcement agency may make available to any person or entity authorized to bring an
action pursuant to this Article any police report or edited portion thereof, or forensic laboratory
report or edited portion thereof, concerning criminal activity committed on or in the immediate
vicinity of the leased residential premises. A law enforcement agency may also make any officer or
officers available to testify as a fact witness or expert witness in a civil action brought pursuant to
this Article. The agency shall not disclose such information where, in the agency's opinion, such
disclosure would jeopardize an investigation, prosecution, or other proceeding, or where such
disclosure would violate any federal or State statute. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-73. Collection of rent.
*A landlord shall be entitled to collect rent due and owing with knowledge of any illegal acts that
violate the provisions of this act without such collection constituting a waiver of the alleged
defaults. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-74. Preliminary or emergency relief.
*The district court shall have the authority at any time to issue a temporary restraining order,
grant a preliminary injunction, or take such other actions as the court deems necessary to enjoin
or prevent the commission of criminal activity on or in the immediate vicinity of leased residential
premises, or otherwise to protect the rights and interests of all tenants and residents. A violation
of any such duly issued order or preliminary relief shall subject the violator to civil or criminal
contempt. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-75. Cumulative remedies.
*The causes of action and remedies authorized by this Article shall be cumulative with each other
and shall be in addition to, not in lieu of, any other causes of action or remedies which may be
available at law or equity, including causes of action and remedies based on express provisions of
the lease not contrary to this Article. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)
* 42-76. Civil immunity.
*Any person or organization who, in good faith, institutes, participates in, or encourages a person
or entity to institute or participate in a civil action brought pursuant to this Article, or who in
good faith provides any information relied upon by any person or entity in instituting or
participating in a civil action pursuant to this Article shall have immunity from any civil liability
that might otherwise be incurred or imposed. Any such person or organization shall have the same
immunity from civil liability with respect to testimony given in any judicial proceeding conducted
pursuant to this Article. (1995, c. 419, s. 1.)