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Legal Statutes: North Carolina

UPDATED August 17, 2016

North Carolina Statutes

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Article 5. Residential Rental Agreements

back to top42-42.3. Victim protection - change locks

(a) If the perpetrator of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking is not a tenant in the same dwelling unit as the protected tenant, a tenant of a dwelling may give oral or written notice to the landlord that a protected tenant is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and may request that the locks to the dwelling unit be changed. A protected tenant is not required to provide documentation of the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking to initiate the changing of the locks, pursuant to this subsection. A landlord who receives a request under this subsection shall change the locks to the protected tenant's dwelling unit or give the protected tenant permission to change the locks within 48 hours.

(b) If the perpetrator of the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking is a tenant in the same dwelling unit as the victim, any tenant or protected tenant of a dwelling unit may give oral or written notice to the landlord that a protected tenant is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and may request that the locks to the dwelling unit be changed. In these circumstances, the following shall apply:

(1) Before the landlord or tenant changes the locks under this subsection, the tenant must provide the landlord with a copy of an order issued by a court that orders the perpetrator to stay away from the dwelling unit.

(2) Unless a court order allows the perpetrator to return to the dwelling to retrieve personal belongings, the landlord has no duty under the rental agreement or by law to allow the perpetrator access to the dwelling unit, to provide keys to the perpetrator, or to provide the perpetrator access to the perpetrator's personal property within the dwelling unit once the landlord has been provided with a court order requiring the perpetrator to stay away from the dwelling. If a landlord complies with this section, the landlord is not liable for civil damages, to a perpetrator excluded from the dwelling unit, for loss of use of the dwelling unit or loss of use or damage to the perpetrator's personal property.

(3) The perpetrator who has been excluded from the dwelling unit under this subsection remains liable under the lease with any other tenant of the dwelling unit for rent or damages to the dwelling unit.

A landlord who receives a request under this subsection shall change the locks to the protected tenant's dwelling unit or give the protected tenant permission to change the locks within 72 hours.

(c) The protected tenant shall bear the expense of changing the locks. If a landlord fails to act within the required time, the protected tenant may change the locks without the landlord's permission. If the protected tenant changes the locks, the protected tenant shall give a key to the new locks to the landlord within 48 hours of the locks being changed.
2005-423, § 6, eff. Oct. 1, 2005.