The North Carolina residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) outlines the conditions agreed upon by a landlord and tenant for the residential use of real estate. The contract will include the length of the agreement (”term”), the payment amount (”rent”), as well as the obligations of the tenant while leasing the property.
North Carolina Lease Agreement Disclosures
The following disclosures are required for all residential lease agreements in North Carolina.
Late Fee Disclosure
Applicable to any unit charging late fees.
Late fees in North Carolina must be outlined in the lease agreement to be enforceable, including the amount of the fee and the date it is assessed. For monthly payments, the maximum late fee is the greater of $15 or 5% of the rent and shall not be imposed until the tenant is five days late. For weekly payments, fees may not exceed the greater of $4 or 5% of the weekly rent.
The following is an example of a late fee section:
LATE FEE. If rent is not paid by the due date outlined in this lease, a late fee of ___% or $___ will be assessed to the balance.
Water Contamination Disclosure
Applicable to any unit where the tenant pays sewer or water charges to the landlord.
In North Carolina, landlords who charge their tenants for water or sewage utilities must provide notice of contaminant levels exceeding the guidelines provided by the state if they are known.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
Applicable to any rental units built prior to 1978.
It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints. This law requires landlords in North Carolina to:
- Fill out and attach this lead-based paint disclosure form to the lease agreement.
- Provide the tenant with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint.
- Provide additional records or reports about the presence or hazards of any known lead-based paint in the unit. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.
Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)
The following lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by North Carolina law in residential lease agreements, but either help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.
- Landlord Name & Address – to create a line of communication for important notices and demands between tenant and landlord, it is recommended that North Carolina landlords provide contact information within or alongside the lease for themselves or anyone authorized to act on behalf of the property.
- Move-in Checklist – it is recommended to provide an itemized list of damages to the property before move-in to make sure tenants are responsible for any serious damages that occur during the lease term. This can be attached to the lease agreement or signed as a separate document.
- Returned Check Fees – it is recommended that landlords disclose returned check fees in the case that a rent check is returned unpaid by the bank. In North Carolina, this fee is limited to $25.
- Shared Utilities Arrangements – for rental units with shared utilities, it is recommended to disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated, so that tenants have a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.
- Bed Bug Disclosure – for rental units with a history of infestation, it is recommended to provide information on the protocol for handling a bed bug infestation. This addendum will notify the tenant of their obligation to cooperate with bed bug prevention by promptly reporting any sign of infestation to the landlord.
- Asbestos Disclosure – for rental units built prior to 1981, asbestos was a common building material. This disclosure will notify the tenant to take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers (i.e. no sanding, pounding, modifications or repairs, without the landlord’s consent). The disclosure will also notify the tenant of their obligation to immediately notify the landlord if any ceilings begin to deteriorate.
- Mold Disclosure – it is recommended to disclose the current mold status of a property in the lease to protect against future liability of mold damages due to the tenant’s negligence during the lease term.