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Generally, the relationship between landlord and tenant is governed by the terms of the lease agreement. But state and federal law impose certain conditions that the landlord and tenant cannot change, even if the lease states otherwise to. The most important of these laws is North Carolina's Residential Rental Agreement Act.  [en Espanola]

 
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North Carolina  Landlord Tenant Relations

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  North Carolina Department of Justice
Consumer Protection Section
P.O. Box 629
Raleigh, NC 27602-0629
Telephone: (919) 716-6000
Fax: (919) 716-6050

What Happens If a Dispute Arises?

Withhold Rent: A tenant cannot unilaterally withhold rent from a landlord who fails to make required repairs. However, the landlord and tenant can agree to a reduction in rent. For example, the landlord may allow the tenant to pay for repairs to a broken refrigerator, and then subtract the amount of the bill from the next month's rent. (The tenant should retain copies of all receipts.) Another example: The landlord may reduce the rent for a month during which the tenant could not use one room because the roof leaked. This type of solution occurs frequently and should not be overlooked.

Abandonment of Lease: The lease is a contract between the landlord and the tenant. The tenant can get out of the lease only if the lease itself allows the tenant to do so and the tenant follows the procedures laid out in the lease. For example, the lease may permit the tenant to move out simply by giving notice thirty days in advance. 
But there is no law that allows tenants to abandon any lease just by giving a notice thirty days in advance
.
If the tenant abandons the premises prior to the expiration of the lease, the tenant will still have to pay rent every month until the landlord rents the premises to another tenant or the lease expires. This is called mitigating damages - the landlord is damaged when you break the lease until they rerent the unit - for the same price, more or less.

See also: North Carolina Small Claims Court

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