If you are renting a home or apartment, you have likely had problems and issues with your landlord before. If you’ve wondered or worried that your landlord was unfairly withholding your security deposit, this legal guide will help explain it. If you need help with landlord-tenant issues or just have a question, do not hesitate us to schedule an initial consultation (don’t worry - it’s free).

What Are Your Rights as a Renter (Tenant) Regarding Your Security Deposit

North Carolina has specific rules regarding how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit and when the deposit must be returned. The law also states what the landlord what the landlord can deduct from a security deposit.

How Much Can a Landlord Charge for a Security Deposit

There is a maximum a landlord can charge for your security deposit. The amount depends on how long you are renting (how long the lease agreement is). The longer the lease the higher the security deposit can be collected. The maximum security deposits are:

  • For Weekly Renters: Amount equal to two weeks’ rent

  • For Monthly Renters: Amount equal to 1.5 months’ rent

What Can a Landlord Deduct From Your Security Deposit

A landlord in North Carolina can only deduct certain things from your security deposit. Importantly, a landlord cannot deduct for normal wear and tear. But the following can be deducted:

  • Damage in excess of normal wear and tear

  • Unpaid utility bills

  • Removing a tenant’s possessions after an eviction

  • Unpaid Rent

  • Breach of lease

  • Costs of re-renting the unit

  • Court costs

  • Any additional unpaid bills the tenant has accumulated during their tenancy that could cause a lien to be placed against the property.

Returning the Security Deposit

As as renter (tenant) your security deposit should be returned within thirty (30) days after your lease ends or is terminated. If the landlord makes any deductions from your security deposit, your landlord is required to provide you with an itemized list of all of those deductions.

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