AN ACT TO PROVIDE REFORMS TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT ZONING AUTHORITY TO INCREASE HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES AND TO MAKE VARIOUS CHANGES AND
CLARIFICATIONS TO THE ZONING STATUTES.
Amends GS 42-46 concerning fees, costs, and expenses in summary ejectment proceedings. Clarifies that the fees a landlord is authorized to charge pursuant to a written lease for filing a complaint, a court appearance, or trial following an appeal from a magistrate's judgment are administrative fees, defined to exclude out-of-pocket expenses, litigation costs, or other fees. Makes conforming changes. Adds a new provision stating it is against public policy for a landlord to claim or for a lease to provide for the payment of any out-of-pocket expenses or litigation costs for filing a complaint for summary ejectment and/or money owed rather than those expressly authorized in subsection (i). Modifies subsection (i) to provide for recovery of reasonable attorneys' fees actually paid or owed, rather than incurred, subject to existing caps. Specifies that the out-of-pocket expenses and litigation costs listed in subsection (i) can be included by the landlord in the amount required to cure a default. Makes further clarifying changes.
States intent for the above provisions to apply retroactively to all pending controversies as of the date the act becomes law, as the changes are intended to clarify legislative intent under previous amendments to the statute.
Enacts GS 42-14.5 to establish that the criminal record of any prospective or current residential lessee, occupant, or guest does not make any future injury or damage arising from the lessee, occupant, or guest foreseable by the lessor or the lessor's agent. Establishes that the residential lessor or the lessor's agent is not obligated to screen for or refuse to rent because of the criminal record of a prospective or current lessee, occupant, or guest. Specifies that the statute does not prohibit a residential lessor or the lessor's agent from using a criminal background check as grounds for refusing to rent to any prospective or current lessee in a manner that is consistent with fair housing law.
Amends GS 42-25.7 to provide that residential landlords have rights concerning the personal property of their residential tenants in accordance with GS 28A-25-2 (Effect of affidavit), as amended, in addition to other specified state law.
Amends GS 28A-25-1, Collection of property by affidavit when decedent dies intestate. Explicitly entitles the public administrator or an heir that has presented an affidavit pursuant to subsection (a) of the statute to remove or dispose of the decedent's personal property located in demised premises.
Amends GS 28A-25-1.1, Collection of property by affidavit when decedent dies testate. Explicitly entitles the public administrator, a person named or designated by the executor in the will, or an heir that has presented an affidavit pursuant to subsection (a) of the statute to remove or dispose of the decedent's personal property located in the demised premises.
Amends GS 28A-25-2, Effect of affidavit, to discharge or release a lessor or lessor's agent of the demised premises that removes or disposes of the personal property located in the demised premises, at the direction of an affiant authorized under GS 28A-25-1(d) and GS 28A-25-1.1(d), as enacted, to the same extent as if the lessor dealt with a duly qualified personal representative of the decedent. Adds that the lessor is not required to see to the application of the personal property or evidence of the personal property, or to inquire into the truth of any statement in the affidavit.
Enacts new GS 42-47 prohibiting a landlord from doing the following based upon the status of a tenant, applicant, or household member with a disability or their use of a service or support animal: (1) terminate or fail to renew a tenancy; (2) refuse to enter into a rental agreement; (3) impose different terms, conditions, or privileges in the rental of a dwelling; or (4) make a dwelling unit unavailable or otherwise retaliate in the rental of a dwelling. Allows a landlord to require a person with a disability that is not observable or already known who is seeking accommodation under this statute to provide a written verification of the specified information from a health service provider. Makes a person who intentionally or knowingly does any of the following liable to the landlord: (1) misrepresents to a landlord that the person is a person with a disability or that the person has a disability-related need for the use of a service or support animal; (2) makes a materially false statement to a health service professional to obtain documentation or verification that the person has a disability-related need for the use of a service or support animal; (3) provides a document or verification to a landlord that misrepresents that an animal is a service animal or a support animal; (4) fits an animal that is not a service animal or a support animal with an item that would cause a reasonable person to believe that the animal is a service or support animal; (5) as a health service professional, verifies a person's disability status and need for a service or support animal without personal knowledge of the person's condition adequate to provide a reliable verification, or charges a fee for providing a written verification for a person's disability status and need for a service animal or a support animal and provides no additional service to the person unless specified conditions are met. Sets out damages and penalties that may be awarded to the landlord. Specifies three actions a landlord can take that are not prohibited by this statute. Provides that a landlord who allows a person with a disability to use a service or support animal in a dwelling unit is not liable for any injury to another person caused by the animal.
Amends GS 42-53 to exclude service or support animals from the statute, which allows a landlord to charge a nonrefundable pet fee.
Effective January 1, 2022, and applies to rental agreements or leases entered into on or after that date.
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