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Language commonly included in residential leases

Those who rent houses or apartments in North Carolina will likely need to sign a lease. While an agreement may be customized to some degree, certain clauses must generally be included in any lease. For example, the names of everyone who is a party to the agreement must be listed on the document itself. It should also say how long the agreement lasts and how much a tenant will pay the landlord each month.

A standard lease will inform a tenant about any fees that may be incurred if a rent payment is late. The document must typically state when the rent is due each month. If a tenant is required to pay a security deposit, a rental agreement needs to disclose the amount of that deposit and what deductions the landlord may take from the deposit. Landlords may have the right to enter a rental home or apartment, and the rental agreement should state the protocol for doing so.

There are stipulations in a lease that may be deemed unenforceable by a judge. For instance, landlords must follow established eviction procedures in the event that a tenant fails to make a rent payment. Landlords typically cannot seize a tenant's property to make up for a late or missed rent payment or to cover the cost of repairing property damage caused by a tenant.

Tenants who believe that their landlords are acting in bad faith may benefit from speaking with an attorney. An attorney could help a tenant obtain relief from some or all clauses included in a lease. Legal counsel may also help a tenant compel a landlord to make repairs or take other steps to ensure that a dwelling is habitable.

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