Housing: Landlord Must Make Repairs

Quick Facts


North Carolina law requires landlords to provide tenants with fit and safe housing by making repairs and maintaining rental property in compliance with codes. Your landlord is also required to maintain and repair appliances that the landlord has provided. This includes plumbing, heating and air conditioning units, refrigerators, and stoves, etc.

When the landlord fails to make necessary repairs, North Carolina law allows a tenant to seek money damages. This remedy is called "rent abatement". To obtain a rent rebate you must file an action in Small Claims Court for the reduced value of the rental property. In some instances, the notice of defects or needed repairs can be oral. If possible, you should try to give your notice to the landlord in writing.

If your notice of repairs is in writing you can keep a record of the date you made the request. If the landlord refuses to make repairs and you have to go to court, then you can show that the landlord knew of the defects in your house. You can also show that the landlord knew of the needed repairs in the following ways:

  1. you gave written notice to landlord; 
  2. the landlord came to the premises and saw the defects;
  3. the defects existed when you moved in and the landlord promised to repair them; or
  4. the premises were inspected by the local building inspector and who sent a notice of needed repairs to landlord.

If you need to give notice to your landlord of needed repairs, then you can use the attached sample letter. Always keep a copy of any notice you give your landlord.



Dear ____________:

This letter is to notify you that the property I rent from you is in need of the following repairs:






Under North Carolina law, you are required to provide fit premises by repairing defects that make the premises unsafe or unhealthy.

I would like to continue renting from you. The defects mentioned above are adversely affecting me and my family. Please inform me as soon as possible when you will be able to take care of these defects.

I look forward to talking to you.






To find other Legal Aid of North Carolina materials, including any materials mentioned in this document, go to LawhelpNC.org/. If you need legal help please go to legalaidnc.org/.


Last Review and Update: Jun 25, 2012
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