Being a landlord is largely about responsibilities. It’s not for everyone. However, those who succeed at it can have a steady income stream for as long as they own that house.
I’ll say being a landlord isn’t for me, but I have many clients who seem to enjoy it.
Can You Be A Landlord?
Firstly, you need to make sure you can legally rent out your house. Most often, you’re limited by an HOA, not the government. However, there can be zoning laws that can limit the number of tenants or types of leases you can have.
Residential Lease Agreement
Secondly, you’re going to need a lease. And, you should get a good one! The lease is the primary vehicle for defining the rights and responsibilities of each party.
Unfortunately, landlords tend to relinquish their rights if they don’t specifically cover them in the lease.
We’ve covered Residential Lease Agreements previously.
North Carolina General Statutes § 42-42 is one of the most widely breached statutes by landlords in our state. Broadly, it outlines the duties of a landlord.
It is too long to cover here, but basically it says you have to provide fit premises. For example, you have to fix any appliances you supply, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, etc. You need to make sure the house is safe and livable.
Unfortunately, reading just that statute doesn’t cover everything you need to know. The courts continue to try cases determining what it is to be in a habitable or safe condition.
Under NCGS § 42-25.6 through 42-25.9, a landlord must only evict a tenant through the proper means outlined in those sections. Failure to follow proper procedure can result in costs and expenses owed by the landlord.
Follow All Laws
Unfortunately, Chapter 42 doesn’t cover every law you’re responsible for. You’re also responsible for consumer protection laws like unfair and deceptive trade practices and fraud.
Additionally, you must make sure your rental property doesn’t violate any health department codes.
Finally, you’re on the hook for any zoning or building codes.
Richard Bobholz is a full time lawyer and part time amateur carpenter. As a homeowner, he likes to take care of as many home repair, maintenance, and improvement aspects as he can while ensuring things are done the right way the first time. With no real carpentry credentials, his articles focus a lot more on the broad aspects of home care and less on the proper way to do things.