When a landlord and a tenant sign a lease agreement for a residential property in North Carolina, the landlord is agreeing to more than simply collecting payments. The Office of the Attorney General states that the tenant can expect certain duties to be fulfilled even if they are not outlined in the contract.
The primary right of a tenant is to live in a safe environment. The landlord must make sure the building and any common areas comply with the most current building codes. This duty does not end after the tenant's move-in date. Throughout the lease, whenever the landlord learns of a problem with the property, they must make repairs when necessary to ensure on-going safety. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that are properly working must also be placed in the home when a new renter takes possession. Replacement of batteries, however, may be part of the tenant's duties, depending on what is agreed upon in the lease.
Any appliances that are provided as part of the rental agreement must be maintained and kept in working order by the landlord. Regular maintenance is expected for plumbing, electrical, ventilation, sanitation and other similar issues. If a written request for a repair is made by the tenant, the landlord is obligated to provide a response in a reasonable amount of time. In some cases when an emergency occurs, however, written notification by the tenant may not be necessary.
Even if the tenant has, at any time, allowed for an exception to these responsibilities or has chosen not to complain, that does not mean the landlord is off the hook. According to North Carolina law, the landlord has a legal obligation to comply with all of the duties as outlined in the North Carolina Residential Rental Agreements Act.