North Dakota Landlord Tenant Laws
In general, North Dakota has a balance of laws that protect the interest of both landlords and tenants. One unique wrinkle to the state is the existence of “man camps,” or temporary housing for oil workers that exists during boom times and is not necessarily in compliance with state and local codes. The legality of these rental arrangements is largely up to local jurisdictions, who usually only grant them permits on a temporary basis. Those residing in these camps (or those looking to establish one) will need to check with the locality in question to find out what the current laws and regulations are.
It is important to note that while the information presented here comes directly from state statutes and is accurate as of publication, nothing here should be considered to be legal advice or a substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer. Individual counties, cities, towns and villages can also establish their own ordinances that may take precedence over state law.
What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in North Dakota?
Rental laws are covered by N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-01 to 47-16-41. Eviction proceedings are covered under N.D. Cent. Code 47-32-01 to 47-32-04. Limitations of actions are described in N.D. Cent. Code 28-01-01 to 28-01-47. Tenants can get a quick summary of their rights and responsibilities from a free pamphlet published by the Attorney General’s office.
Security Deposit Rules
The handling of security deposits is regulated by N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-01.1. Landlords may charge up to the equivalent of one month’s rent as a security deposit. The deposit must be held in a separate bank account, and interest must be paid on it if the tenant stays in the dwelling for nine months or more. Landlords are required to return the deposit within 30 days of termination of the lease. They can withhold money from the deposit for unpaid rent, cleaning that the tenant was responsible for and did not accomplish, or any damage to the unit caused by the tenant or their pets or guests. An itemized statement of damages and charges must be sent to the tenant at their last known address. There are no statutes on deposit withholding records or providing written receipts for a security deposit.
Pet deposits are allowed under this same statute, but limitations are placed on them. The pet deposit cannot exceed $2500 or the equivalent of two months’ rent, whichever amount is greater. A deposit cannot be charged for the service or companion animals of disabled tenants, however. There is no statute on non-refundable fees.
Landlords who withhold a security deposit in bad faith are liable for three times the amount, including any interest that may be due.
Lease, Rent and Fee Rules
According to N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-20, if a specific date for rent payments is not included in the lease, then the rent will be due at the beginning of each weekly or monthly term. There are no statutes on a grace period for unpaid rent or on the handling of prepaid rent.
If a landlord wishes to increase the rent, they must provide written notice at least 30 days in advance according to N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-07. Late fees are not allowed unless the specific terms and amount were included in the lease and agreed to by the tenant. Landlords may only charge a flat fee of $40 for returned checks.
There are no statutes addressing a tenant’s ability to withhold rent for failure to provide essential utilities. However, N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-13 allows tenants to make needed repairs and deduct from the rent if the tenant gives the landlord notice of the needed repair and the landlord does not address it in a reasonable amount of time.
Landlords are permitted to recover court and attorney fees in the case of an eviction or lease abandonment, but they must also make an attempt to mitigate damages including a good faith attempt to rent the dwelling out to someone else. There are no statutes regarding fees for abandonment or early lease termination.
Notice and Entry Rules
Termination of the lease by the tenant is covered under N.D. Cent. Codes 47-16-14 and 47-16-15. Open-ended yearly leases and monthly agreements require one month’s notice. Tenants can agree in writing to a longer period if they should choose to, however. A week’s notice is required in the case of weekly rentals. There is no statute requiring advance notice for a move-out inspection by the landlord.
Early termination of a lease by the landlord is covered by N.D. Cent. Codes 47-32-01 and 47-32-02. Termination for non-payment or a lease violation requires three days notice. Lockouts and utility shutoffs are illegal, and landlords can be held liable for three times the tenant’s actual damages if they occur.
N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-07 states that landlords can only enter the premises during reasonable hours and in a reasonable manner. No specific time frame is set for advance notice, but landlords are required to give some amount of advance notice to the tenant that specifies the date and time they plan to enter, and the tenant must first give their consent. Tenants cannot legally withhold consent for reasonable requests, however, such as needed repairs and showing the unit. If the tenant does not respond to the request, consent is presumed.
There are no statutes regarding the use of pesticides on the premises or required notice before entering to do so.
Required Disclosures and Notes
There are no statutes requiring the landlord to provide the tenant with a copy of the lease, their name and address or any contact information for their appointed agents. They do, however, have to provide a statement detailing the condition of the premises and all items within, according to N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-07. The tenant has a right to inspect the premises and verify the accuracy of this list before signing off on it.
The duties of both landlords and tenants are spelled out in N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-13. Landlords are required to comply with building and housing codes, make repairs to keep the premises habitable, keep common areas clean and safe, provide receptacles for trash removal and ensure that hot water is available between the first of October and the first of May. Hot water must also be under exclusive control of the tenant and provided by a public utility. Tenants must also comply with building and housing codes, keep their area clean, dispose of garbage properly, not engage in illegal activity and respect the quiet enjoyment of other tenants on the property.
Domestic violence victims are protected under North Dakota law. The tenant must provide a copy of a court order or restraining order and state that they feel threatened by the person named in it. This grants the tenant protection from lease termination and the right to immediately terminate the lease without penalty. Landlords are also required to not disclose any information about the tenant they receive during this process.
North Dakota does not have a statute on landlord retaliation.
Small Claims Court
The small claims court limit in North Dakota is $15,000. Eviction cases are heard in district court rather than in small claims court. Oral and written contracts have a statute of limitation of six years under N.D. Cent. Code 28-01-16.