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What are my duties as a tenant?

You found the perfect two-bedroom, two-bath house in a great North Carolina suburban neighborhood, and it even has a plot in the backyard for a garden. You hit it off with the landlord and feel confident signing the initial one-year lease agreement. Whether this is the first time you have ever rented a place of your own or it is the tenth house you have leased, here are some important tips to keep in mind when you move in.

You, of course, expect that the landlord has some responsibilities for maintaining the premises, but you have some duties, too. The Attorney General of North Carolina explains what the law requires of you "in order to enforce the landlord's duties." 

You are, first and foremost, responsible to take care of the property. "Taking care of" implies keeping it clean to the best of your ability and not intentionally causing any damage or allowing anyone else to. The obligation to get rid of trash and recyclables in a timely and appropriate manner also falls on your shoulders. 

Along with keeping the property clean is maintaining a safe environment. Be careful not to leave tools out in the open when you have been working on the car, for example, so neighbors cannot trip over them. Sweep up broken glass and other similar hazards so the kids next door do not get cut when they grab a runaway basketball from your shared driveway. 

It should go without saying that you must also "comply with any and all obligations imposed upon [you] by current applicable building and housing codes." 

This information is not intended to provide legal advice and is only to educate about the duties of tenants.

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