The Full Guide on North Dakota Landlord Tenant Law 
Like in all U.S. states, North Dakota landlords and tenants must navigate a complex web of local and state rental laws that influence their rights, responsibilities, and the dynamics of the landlord-tenant relationship. This can be a challenging task, even for seasoned rental property owners and tenants.
To help overcome this challenge, we crafted this full guide that covers a range of key rental topics, including tenant screening, eviction procedures, lease agreements, and much more. Whether you're a landlord or a tenant, you'll develop a solid understanding of North Dakota's laws as outlined in the ND Century Code Chapter 47-16.
Landlords will learn how to protect their rental properties and cultivate positive relationships with tenants, while tenants will gain valuable insights into asserting their rights when needed.
Ready to get started? Let's dive in!
North Dakota landlord tenant law fast facts
North Dakota landlord responsibilities and rights
North Dakota law grants landlords certain rights that allow them to run their rental properties protected from legal issues. Landlords have the right to:
- Charge and collect on-time rent payments
- Collect security deposits to cover unforeseen costs like unpaid rent and rental damage beyond normal wear and tear
- Pursue formal evictions if tenants breach the lease agreement
North Dakota landlords have rights, but they also have a set of responsibilities to uphold to ensure a smooth and safe tenancy for renters. Their top priorities as landlords include:
- Providing renters with a safe, habitable rental property free of housing discrimination
- Making repairs within a “reasonable amount of time” after receiving written notice from a tenant
- Returning the tenant's security deposit within 30 days of the end of the lease
North Dakota tenant responsibilities and rights
Like landlords, tenants in North Dakota also have a set of fundamental rights that serve to protect their safety and well-being while residing in a rental property. Their main rights are as follows:
- Living in a habitable rental unit that meets local and state health and safety codes
- Having repairs made in a reasonable time after providing the landlord with written notice
- Taking legal action such as suing or filing a court order if the landlord commits a lease violation
North Dakota tenants also have a set of responsibilities to uphold while renting. Generally, these responsibilities ensure the property is maintained and the landlord goes financially unharmed. Tenants must:
- Pay rent on time
- Keep the unit in safe and habitable condition
- Make small repairs and do maintenance as necessary
- Not disturb other renters or neighbors
North Dakota landlord tenant laws through the rental cycle
North Dakota tenant screening and rental application laws
North Dakota has few statutes governing the rental application and tenant screening process. For example, the state does not limit how much a landlord can charge for a rental application fee. However, they are advised to make the fees reasonable, but they do not have to be made refundable. Landlords can inquire about anything on the rental application, as long as these questions don't result in housing discrimination.
Additionally, landlords in North Dakota are allowed to run background checks on prospective tenants, but they must obtain the tenant's written consent before doing so. The types of background checks landlords can run include a criminal history search, rental history, and credit report.
North Dakota rental agreement and lease termination laws
Written lease agreements are required in North Dakota. Additionally, it should be signed by both parties to ensure that it is not legally contestable.
Beyond the required disclosures, North Dakota law does not require any specific clauses to be included in a lease or rental agreement. However, certain information should always be included in a lease, such as the landlord’s and tenant’s names and contact information, rent amount and due date, security deposit terms, and more. Learn what other information you should include in your rental agreement today.
To terminate a lease or change it, a landlord must provide a 30-day notice for month-to-month and yearly leases. Only a 7-day notice is required for weekly leases.
North Dakota renters can also terminate a rental agreement early for the following legal reasons:
- Active military duty
- Early termination clause
- Landlord harassment
- Domestic violence
- Uninhabitable unit
North Dakota security deposit laws
Like in other states, North Dakota landlords can collect a security deposit at the start of the lease period to cover unforeseen costs like rental damage beyond normal wear and tear. Landlords are limited to charging the equivalent of one month’s rent, but can collect up to two months’ rent for tenants with a felony or another court judgement.
In regards to the security deposit, North Dakota landlords must:
- Provide tenants with a full list of the rental unit’s existing damage
- Hold the security deposit in a federally insured, interest-bearing savings or checking account
- Provide interest earned on a held security deposit unless the lease term is less than 9 months
- Return the tenant’s security deposit within 30 days of the end of the lease
Landlords are allowed to make deductions from the security deposit for reasons including damage beyond normal wear and tear, clearing or repair costs, and unpaid rent.
If the landlord fails to comply with the notice period or wrongfully withholds funds, tenants can sue for three times the amount wrongfully withheld plus court fees.
North Dakota rent laws
North Dakota does not have rent control laws and prohibits its cities and states from creating their own laws. This allows landlords to charge any amount of rent and increase rent as long as it’s not during the lease term (unless the lease specifically allows for it).
Before raising rent, landlords must give at least 30 days’ notice. However, mobile homes with month-to-month tenancies must give a 90-day notice.
If North Dakota tenants fail to pay rent on time, landlords are required to provide a grace period before charing a late fee. There is no limit on late fee, but the fee must be reasonable.
It’s important to note that tenants in North Dakota are not allowed to withhold rent for any reason.
North Dakota repair and maintenance laws
In North Dakota, a landlord must make repairs within a “reasonable amount” of time after receiving written notice from tenants.
If the landlord fails to make repairs within a timely manner, tenants can take certain legal actions: sue for costs, file a court order to force the landlord to make repairs, and cancel the renal agreement altogether. They may also use the “repair and deduct remedy”, however, they cannot withhold rent.
North Dakota notice of entry laws
Landlords in North Dakota have the right to enter their rental property for reasons such as maintenance, inspections, and showings. Before entering, landlords must provide the tenant with “reasonable” notice, usually 24 hours. No notice is required for emergencies.
North Dakota eviction laws
North Dakota allows landlords to evict tenants for specific legal reasons. Each reason for eviction requires a certain notice period as shown below:
- Nonpayment of rent: If the tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord may issue a 3-day notice to pay. If the tenant still doesn’t pay, the landlord can move forward with the eviction process.
- Lease violation: If the tenant breaches the lease, the landlord may issue a 3-day notice to quit. If the landlord wishes, they can provide instructions on how to remedy the situation, but they are not required to.
- Sale of the rental unit: If the landlord intends to sell the rental property, they are required to issue a 3-day notice to quit.
- No lease/end of lease: If the tenant holds over or stays past the end of the tenancy, the landlord can issue a notice to quit. The notice period depends on the length of the lease. Month-to-month leases require a 30-day notice to quit, while all other tenancies require a notice equal to the rent payment period or 30 days, whichever is less.
Additional North Dakota landlord tenant laws
On top of covering rental topics like repairs and evictions, North Dakota state law also address issues like landlord retaliation and housing discrimination. Explore some of these regulations in detail below.
Both federal and state laws protect North Dakota tenants from housing discrimination. The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating against potential renters based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. State law further protects renters from discrimination based on characteristics including marital status, domestic violence status, and receipt of public assistance.
If a landlord violates housing discrimination laws, tenants can seek legal help and file a complaint with the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights.
While it’s illegal in most states to retaliate against tenants for taking protected actions like reporting landlords for health and safety violations, the laws in North Dakota are unclear. The state does not have any specific statutes governing landlord retaliation, but case law implies that tenants may be able to sue for retaliation under certain circumstances.
North Dakota residential landlords must provide tenants with certain disclosures at the start of a lease period. Those disclosures include:
- Lead-based paint: Landlords who own rental units built before 1978 must provide information about lead paint concentrations in the building.
- Move-in checklist: Landlords must provide tenants with a move-in checklist documenting the condition and inventory of the property at the start of the lease.
Small Claims Court
Small Claims Courts, in most states, are designed to handle landlord-tenant disputes involving small amounts of money in a simplified and expedited manner. In North Dakota, landlords and tenants can settle minor disputes involving up to $15,000 without needing to hire an attorney. The process usually takes one to two months depending on the case.
Summing up: Understanding North Dakota landlord tenant laws
North Dakota’s rental laws were designed to establish a clear framework around the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant. While the laws primarily ensure a fair rental process, they also promote a healthy landlord-tenant relationship that benefits everyone involved.
It’s crucial for rental owners and tenants to understand and follow the state’s laws. For landlords, this not only protects their real estate investments but also fosters positive interactions with tenants. Simultaneously, tenants will be able to assert their legal rights while residing in a rental unit. Landlords and tenants should do their due diligence in educating themselves on North Dakota’s rental laws, in the present and well in the future.
Landlords, do you need help with rent collection or lease agreements? Tenants, are you looking for a credit boost or renter insurance? Whatever you need, Azibo’s got you covered. Learn more about our free rental software today!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. This content may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. No reader, user, or browser of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information herein without first seeking the advice of a legal professional.