This page has local legal information on residential (not commercial) renters’ issues. It is not legal advice, and you should check with your local legal aid and courts for current information.
This page was last updated on Aug 25th, 2023. It was reviewed by our volunteer attorney experts.
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Tell your landlord in writing about any repairs needed, particularly if they affect your health and safety.
You should call your landlord to make the repairs as soon as possible.
Emergency repairs could be for problems with:
Running water or hot water
Heat or air-conditioning
Stove, refrigerator, or oven
Missing doors, locks, or windows
If your landlord doesn't make the repairs promptly, send them a written letter or email about the need for emergency repairs (and keep a copy of this communication).
Local governments set the rules about who is eligible for rent relief. Most programs focus on people who have suffered COVID-19 hardships.
You can talk to your local Rental Assistance program to learn their eligibility rules.
You may have to show your household income, or if you are on other benefits programs like SNAP.
You may also have to show that you are at risk of homelessness or eviction if you don't get rental assistance.
If you are behind on rent, you can get help from your local Rental Assistance program. This is a government service to help people who owe rent or utility bills.
Especially if you are behind on rent because of COVID-19 hardships, your local Rental Assistance (or Rent Relief) program can help you.
Find your local Rental Assistance program at your Get Help page here.
Most Rental Assistance programs let landlords apply.
Either a renter or a landlord can start the application.
The landlord will have to fill in as much information they have about the amount of money needed, and the eligibility for the program. The tenant may have to fill in the rest of the information.
Many local Rental Assistance programs are open to everyone, regardless of immigration status. Many programs do not even ask about immigration status.
Check with your local Rental Assistance program to make sure about eligibility rules and immigration.
Since emergency protections have expired, then for renters in North Carolina:
You may be able to break your lease if you can come to an agreement with your landlord. Your lease is still valid despite the emergency period. However, you can talk to your landlord to see if they will agree to let you leave early. If they agree, be sure to get the agreement in writing. Also, you can review your lease. It may have a part that lets you end the lease early in times of financial difficulty. If your lease has this kind of part, you might be able to break the lease (in some cases penalty-free). Find legal help to get advice for your situation.
Contact a legal help organization to help defend yourself.
It is illegal for your landlord to evict you without first going to court and getting an eviction order. To remove you from your home, a landlord must take you to court by filing an eviction lawsuit, win the case, and getting an eviction order from the court.
Legal aid groups might be able to provide you with full representation, or other legal organizations can give you information or brief advice.
North Carolina's statewide emergency protections for renters have expired.
Landlords may now try to sue tenants to evict them.
If you are worried about an eviction, reach out as soon as possible to your local legal aid group. The lawyers may be able to help you find protections and services to deal with your eviction.
Governor Cooper’s evictions moratorium ended on June 30, 2021 for North Carolina. Also after June 30, 2021, landlords are no longer required to provide a copy of the CDC declaration to a tenant and file notice of the receipt of a declaration from a tenant.
The utility shutoff moratorium lasted between May 30, 2020 and July 29, 2020.
The national CDC eviction ban ended on August 26, 2021. That had also protected renters from eviction.
Evictions have resumed as of June 21, 2020.
Check with your local court for updates.
North Carolina renters can be evicted by their landlords.
If you receive a notice to quit from your landlord, or an eviction lawsuit, reach out for legal help.
Lawyers can help you find protections and services that may stop the eviction.
North Carolina utility companies can shut off utilities now that the emergency protections have ended.
Earlier, North Carolina utility companies were prohibited from disconnecting services to customers through at least August 1, 2020. Until then, utility companies couldn't charge late fees, penalties, or other charges for unpaid utility bills during this period.
Renters still must pay their utility bills. If you need financial assistance for utility costs, you may be able to get help.
Landlords are never allowed to shut off a renter's utilities in an attempt to force the renter out. This is illegal. Reach out to a lawyer for help if this happens to you.
Yes, North Carolina renters still need to pay rent during the emergency.
Check with your local city or county government to see if they give renters any additional protections if they are struggling to pay rent during the emergency.
If you cannot pay rent, take steps to protect yourself:
Apply for rental assistance: If you need financial assistance for housing costs like rent or utility bills, you may be able to get help. Apply as soon as possible.
Communicate with your landlord: Send a written letter or email to your landlord as soon as possible. Explain why you cannot pay the rent because of COVID-19 impact. You can also try to negotiate with your landlord to make a payment plan or get a temporary rent reduction.
Get written records of all communication: Keep copies of any letter or email you send, and any responses from the landlord. Keep receipts for any payments you make. If you make a payment plan or rent agreement, make sure to get it in writing.
Keep proof of COVID-19's impact on you: Collect documents about your COVID-19-related employment problems, health care issues, or other issues that affect your ability to pay rent. This includes letters from your employer, doctor, insurance provider, child care provider, schools, etc.
If you are struggling to pay rent in North Carolina, reach out to legal and financial help groups.
Find legal groups that can help you with housing problems, landlords, roommates, Section 8, domestic violence, discrimination, and more.Find Legal Services
Find groups that can help you pay the rent, cover utility costs, and get other housing-related assistance.Find Financial Help
Find help with other problems, like domestic violence, health coverage, food benefits, mental health, and other issues.Find Other Services
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