Landlord Tenant – Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act – North Carolina
Landlord and Tenant.
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. §42-1.
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. §42-2.
Term forfeited for nonpayment of rent:
In all verbal or written leases of real property of any kind 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. §42-3.
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. §42-4.
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. §42-5.
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. §42-6.
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. §42-7.
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. §42-8.
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. §42-8.
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. §42-10.
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. § 42-11.
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. §42-12.
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. § 42-13.
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. § 42-14.
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. § 42-14.1.
Death, illness, or conviction of certain crimes not a material fact:
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 or that a person convicted of any crime for which registration is required by Article 27A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes occupies, occupied, or resides near the property; provided, however, that no landlord or lessor may knowingly make a false statement regarding any such fact. § 42-14.2.
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. § 42-15.
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 reme dies at law for the enforcement of the lien. §42-15.1.
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 beginnin g of the action. §42-16.
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. §42-17.
Tenant’s undertaking on continuance or appeal:
In case there is a continuance or an appeal from the agistrate’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. §42-18.
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. §42-19.
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. §42-20.
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. §42-21.
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. § 42-22.
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. § 42-22.1.
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. §42-23.
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. §42-24.
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. §42-25.
Ejectment of Residential Tenants.
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. § 42-25.6.
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.
Contrary lease provisions:
Any lease or contract provision contrary to this Article shall be void as against public policy. §42-25.8.
(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. 44A-2(e2), 42-25.9(d), 42-25.9(g), 42-25.9(h), or G.S. 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, except that in the case of the lease of a space for a manufactured home as defined in G.S. 143-143.9(6), G.S. 44A-2(e2) shall apply to the disposition of a manufactured home with a current value in excess of five hundred dollars ($500.00) and its contents by a landlord after being placed in lawful possession by execution of a writ of possession. 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. § 42-25.9.
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. § 42-26.
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. §42-27.
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. § 42-28.
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. § 42-29.
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. § 42-30.
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. §42-31.
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. §42-32. (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.)
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. §42-33.
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. If the case has not been previously continued in district court, the court shall continue the case for an appropriate period of time if any party initiates discovery or files a motion to allow further pleadings pursuant to G.S. 7A-220 or G.S. 7A-229, or for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.
(b) During an appeal to district court, it shall be sufficient to stay execution of a judgment for ejectment if the defendant appellant pays to the clerk of superior court any rent in arrears as determined by the magistrate and signs an undertaking that he or she 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. Provided however, when the magistrate makes a finding in the record, based on evidence presented in court, that there is an actual dispute as to the amount of rent in arrears that is due and the magistrate specifies the specific amount of rent in arrears in dispute, in order to stay execution of a judgment for ejectment, the defendant appellant shall not be required to pay to the clerk of superior court the amount of rent in arrears found by the magistrate to be in dispute, even if the magistrate’s judgment includes this amount in the amount of rent found to be in arrears. If a defendant appellant appeared at the hearing before the magistrate and the magistrate found an amount of rent in arrears that was not in dispute, and if an attorney representing the defendant appellant on appeal to the district court signs a pleading stating that there is evidence of an actual dispute as to the amount of rent in arrears, then the defendant appellant shall not be required to pay the rent in arrears alleged to be in dispute to stay execution of a judgment for ejectment pending appeal. Any magistrate, clerk, or district court judge shall order stay of execution upon the defendant appellant’s paying the undisputed rent in arrears to the clerk and signing the undertaking. If either party disputes the amount of the payment or the due date in the 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.
(c1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, an indigent defendant appellant, as set forth in G.S. 1-110, who prosecutes his or her appeal as an indigent and who meets the requirement of G.S. 1-288 shall pay the amount of the contract rent as it becomes periodically due as set forth in subsection (b) of this section, but shall not be required to pay rent in arrears as set forth in subsection (b) of this section in order to stay execution pending appeal.
(d) The undertaking by the appellant and the order staying execution may be substantially in the following form:
“State of North Carolina,
“County of __________
vs. Bond to
“____________, Defendant Stay Execution
On Appeal to District Court
“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 ________, ________, by the Magistrate. Defendant has appealed the judgment to the District Court.
“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 the payment of rent in arrears or an additional undertaking is required by G.S. 42-34, 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 ______, ___.
“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 the ___ day of ______, ___.
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. § 42-34.
Rent pending execution of judgment; post bond pending appeal:
(a) If the judgment in district court is against the defendant appellant and the defendant appellant does not appeal the judgment, the defendant appellant shall pay rent to the plaintiff for the time the defendant appellant remains in possession of the premises after the judgment is given. Rent shall be prorated if the judgment is executed before the day rent would become due under the terms of the lease. The clerk of court shall disperse any rent in arrears paid by the defendant appellant in accordance with a stipulation executed by all parties or, if there is no stipulation, in accordance with the judge’s order.
(b) If the judgment in district court is against the defendant appellant and the defendant appellant appeals the judgment, it shall be sufficient to stay execution of the judgment if the defendant appellant posts a bond as provided in G.S. 42-34(b). If the defendant appellant fails to perfect the appeal or the appellate court upholds the judgment of the district court, the execution of the judgment shall proceed. The clerk of court shall not disperse any rent in arrears paid by the defendant appellant until all appeals have been resolved. § 42-34.1.
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. §42-35.
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. §42-36.
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.
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. § 42-36.1A.
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. Thesheriff 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. Except for the disposition of manufactured homes and their contents as provided in G.S. 42-25.9(g) and G.S. 44A-2(e2), 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, except in actions involving the lease of a space for a manufactured home as defined in G.S. 143-143.9(6), 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. § 42-36.2.
ARTICLE 4A. Retaliatory Eviction.
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. 42-42;
(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 household; or
(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. § 42-37.1.
(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. §42-37.2.
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. §42-37.3.
Residential Rental Agreements.
This Article determines the rights, obligations, and
remedies under a rental agreement for a dwelling unit within this State. §42-38.
(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.
(a1) The provisions of this Article shall not apply to vacation rentals entered into under Chapter 42A of the General Statutes.
(b) Nothing in this Article shall apply to any dwelling furnished without charge or rent. § 42-39.
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.
(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. § 42-40.
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. §42-41.
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 habitable condition.
(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 the landlord provided that notification of needed repairs is made to the landlord in writing by the tenant, except in emergency situations.
(5) Provide operable smoke detectors, either battery-operated or electrical, having an Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc., listing or other equivalent national testing laboratory approval, and install the smoke detectors 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 shall replace or repair the smoke detectors within 15 days of receipt of notification if the landlord is notified of needed replacement or repairs in writing by the tenant. The landlord shall ensure that a smoke detector is operable and in good repair at the beginning of each tenancy. Unless the landlord and the tenant have a written agreement to the contrary, the landlord shall place new batteries in a battery-operated smoke detector at the beginning of a tenancy and the tenant shall 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. § 42-42.
Tenant to maintain dwelling unit:
(a) The tenant shall:
(1) Keep that part of the premises that the tenant 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 that the tenant 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 condition permits.
(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 the tenant’s exclusive control unless the damage, defacement or removal was due to ordinary wear and tear, acts of the landlord or the landlord’s agent, defective products supplied or repairs authorized by the landlord, acts of third parties not invitees of the tenant, or natural forces.
(7) Notify the landlord, in writing, of the need for replacement of or repairs to a smoke detector. The landlord shall ensure that a smoke detector is operable and in good repair at the beginning of each tenancy. Unless the landlord and the tenant have a written agreement to the contrary, the landlord shall place new batteries in a battery-operated smoke detector at the beginning of a tenancy and the tenant shall 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. § 42-43.
General remedies, penalties, 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.
(a1) If a landlord fails to provide, install, replace, or repair a smoke detector under the provisions of G.S. 42-42(a)(5) within 30 days of having received written notice from the tenant or any agent of State or local government of the landlord’s failure to do so, the landlord shall be responsible for an infraction and shall be subject to a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) for each violation. The landlord may temporarily disconnect a smoke detector in a dwelling unit or common area for construction or rehabilitation activities when such activities are likely to activate the smoke detector or make it inactive.
(a2) If a smoke detector is disabled or damaged, other than through actions of the landlord, the landlord’s agents, or acts of God, the tenant shall reimburse the landlord the reasonable and actual cost for repairing or replacing the smoke detector within 30 days of having received written notice from the landlord or any agent of State or local government of the need for the tenant to make such reimbursement. If the tenant fails to make reimbursement within 30 days, the tenant shall be responsible for an infraction and subject to a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100.00) for each violation. The tenant may temporarily disconnect a smoke detector in a dwelling unit to replace the batteries or when it has been inadvertently activated.
(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 so.
(d) A violation of this Article shall not constitute negligence per se. § 42-44.
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 agreem