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  • Summary date: Apr 4 2023 - View Summary

    Identical to H 551, filed 4/3/23.

    Amends GS 42-14.1 (bar on local rent control regulations) to also bar local governments from enacting, maintaining, or enforcing any ordinance or resolution which prohibits an owner, lessee, sublessee, assignee, managing agent, or other person having the right to lease, sublease, or rent a housing accommodation from refusing to lease or rent the housing accommodation to a person because the person's lawful source of income to pay rent includes funding from a federal housing assistance program. Makes conforming changes to section title and organizational changes.

    Enacts new GS 42-47, pertaining to service and support animals. Defines health service professional, person with a disability, service animal, support animal, and therapeutic relationship. Bars a landlord from doing any of the following based, in part, upon a tenant, applicant, or household member’s status as a person with a disability or 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 renal of a dwelling; or (4) otherwise make unavailable a dwelling unit or otherwise retaliate in the rental of a dwelling. Permits the landlord to require written verification from a healthcare provider if the disability is not observable or already known. Permits such written verification to be provided by an out-of-state provider if a person is moving from another state.

    Provides for a private right of action for a landlord against any person who intentionally or knowingly does any of the following: (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 animal or a support animal; (2) makes a materially false statement to a health service professional for the  purpose of obtaining documentation or verification that the person has a disability-related need for the use of a service animal or a 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 animal or a support animal; (5) does any of the following as a health service professional: (i) verifies a person's disability status and need for a service animal or a support animal without personal knowledge of the person's condition adequate to provide a reliable verification or (ii) 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 the health service professional has an ongoing relationship with a person with a disability or conducts a good-faith consultation with a person with a disability for the purpose of providing a diagnosis and treatment recommendation.

    Specifies that a landlord prevailing in a private action can recoup actual damages and permits the court to award civil penalties between $500 and $1000 for each violation.

    Clarifies that landlords are still permitted to require persons with a service/support animal to comply with the terms of the lease, pay for the cost of repairs to the dwelling unit resulting from the service/support animal, and subject to applicable law, sign an addendum or other agreement that sets forth the responsibilities of an owner of a service/support animal in a dwelling unit.

    Provides that, subject to any other State, federal, or local law, a landlord who permits a service/support animal in a dwelling unit is not liable to another person for injury caused by the person’s support/service animal.

    Amends GS 42-53 to exempt service/support animals from pet fees charged by landlords. Effective January 1, 2024, and applies to rental agreements or leases entered into on or after that date.

    Amends GS 42-46 (pertaining to fees, costs, and expenses authorized to be imposed in any residential rental agreement) to allow for late fees to be imposed when rent is five calendar days late. (Currently statute just specifies five days late.) Amends the litigation costs provision to add an attorneys’ fees provision for small claims and summary ejectment, which is not to exceed for small claims hearings more than 15% of the amount owed by the tenant or 15% of the tenant’s monthly rent stated in the lease if eviction is based on default other than nonpayment of rent, and all actual reasonable attorneys’ fees paid or owed for any appeals of summary ejectment matters. Effective when the act becomes law and is intended to apply retroactively to all pending controversies as of that date. States that these amendments are intended to be clarifying of the General Assembly's intent under previous amendments to this statute.

    Amends the NC Condominium Act by enacting GS 47C-2-117.1A, pertaining to amendments of a declaration of condominium, and GS 47F-2-117.1, pertaining to amendments of a declaration of planned communities, as follows. Specifies that amendments made to the declaration pursuant to GS 47C-2-117 will only affect unit owners whose units are conveyed or transferred after the amendment takes effect. Provides that for amendments made while a unit owner owns a unit, the amendment has no effect until the unit is conveyed or transferred to another unit owner and that a unit owner takes the unit subject to existing rules in the declaration at the time of conveyance or transfer of the unit.