This article summarizes some key North Dakota landlord-tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.
The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.
With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.
If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the state bar association. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.
Official Rules and Regulations
- N.D. Cent. Code § 47-16-01 to 47-16-41 – Leasing of Real Property
- N.D. Cent. Code § 47-32-01 to 47-32-04 – Eviction
- N.D. Cent. Code § 28-01-01 to 28-01-47 – Limitation of Actions
- Attorney General’s Guide to Tenant Rights & Responsibilities (pdf)
- Security Deposit Maximum: One month’s rent (§ 47-16-07.1(1))
- Security Deposit Interest: Required for tenancies longer than nine months. (§ 47-16-07.1(1) and (3))
- Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Required (§ 47-16-07.1(1))
- Pet Deposits: Allowed, with a maximum of $2500 or two month’s rent, whichever is greater, with an exception for service or companion animals for tenants “with a disability as a reasonable accommodation under fair housing laws.” (§ 47-16-07.1(2))
- Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
- Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days (§ 47-16-07.1(3))
- Permitted Uses of the Deposit: (§ 47-16-07.1(3))
- Damage to the premises caused by the tenant or their pet, or due to the negligence of the tenant or their guest;
- Unpaid rent;
- Cost of cleaning or other repairs the tenant is responsible for to return the unit to its original state, except for reasonable wear and tear.
- Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Statement itemizing amounts withheld must be sent to the tenant at the last address they provided, and must include the amount of the refund or any amount due to the landlord. (§ 47-16-07.1(3))
- Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute
- Receipt of Deposit: No statute
- Failure to Comply: A landlord who, without justification, withholds any portion of a security deposit is liable for triple the amount withheld. (§ 47-16-07.1(4))
Lease, Rent & Fees:
- Rent Is Due: As agreed in the lease, or at the end of the regular term. (§ 47-16-20)
- Rent Increase Notice: 30-day written notice (§ 47-16-07)
- Rent Grace Period: No statute
- Late Fees: A landlord may impose a late fee only if it is a provision in the lease. The lease must state the amount of the late fee and when it is charged. (Attorney General’s Guide to Tenant Rights & Responsibilities)
- Prepaid Rent: No statute
- Returned Check Fees: $40 (§ 6-08-16(2)(a))
- Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): No statute
- Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes. Tenant must give notice requesting the repair and if within a reasonable amount of time the landlord doesn’t make the repair, the tenant can do so and deduct the cost of the repair from the rent. (§ 47-16-13)
- Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Yes (§ 47-16-13.6)
- Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: Yes (§ 47-16-13.5 and 47-16-13.7)
- Abandonment/Early Termination Fee: No statute
Notices and Entry:
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: Notice not required, as lease ends on the date agreed to in the lease. (§ 47-16-14)
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Yearly Lease with No End Date: One month written notice (§ 47-16-15(1))
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: One-month written notice, unless the parties agree in writing to a longer notice period. (§ 47-16-15(2))
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: One-week written notice (§ 47-16-15(1))
- Termination of Tenancy with 24 Hours Notice: No statute for 24-hour notice, but landlord may give three-day written notice for lease violations or other offenses. (§ 47-32-01)
- Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
- Notice of Termination of Week-to-Week Leases for Nonpayment: Three-day notice (§ 47-32-01)
- Notice of Termination of All Other Leases for Nonpayment: Three-day notice (§ 47-32-01)
- Termination for Lease Violation: Three-day notice required to terminate a lease if the tenant uses the property in a manner contrary to the lease, or fails to make repairs for which the tenant is responsible for within a reasonable time after a request is made. (§ 47-32-01 and § 47-32-02 and § 47-16-16)
- Required Notice before Entry: No specific required amount of notice required by statute. Landlord must give notice of intent to enter at a certain time, and receive the tenant’s consent to enter. Then tenant can’t unreasonably withhold consent, and the tenant’s failure to object to the notice would constitute presumed consent. Entry is allowed only at reasonable hours and in a reasonable manner. (§ 47-16-07.3(2))
- Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes (§ 47-16-07.3(2))
- Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes (§ 47-16-07.3(2))
- Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Landlord may enter at any time in case of an emergency, or if the landlord reasonably believes the tenant has substantially violated the lease. (47-16-07.3(1))
- Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No statute
- Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
- Lockouts Allowed: No, and if the landlord locks the tenant out of the premises in an unlawful attempt to evict, the tenant may sue the landlord for tripe damages. (§ 32-03-29)
- Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No, and if the landlord diminishes services in an unlawful attempt to evict, the tenant may sue the landlord for tripe damages. (§ 32-03-29)
Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:
- Name and Addresses: No statute
- Copy of the Lease: No statute
- Move-in Statement Required: At the start of the tenancy, the landlord must provide to the tenant a statement detailing the condition of the premises, which both parties must agree to and sign, as proof of the condition of the premises at the beginning of the lease. (§ 47-16-07.2.)
- Domestic Violence Situations: (§ 47-16-17.1)
- Proof of Status: The notice required of the tenant must state that the tenant fears imminent domestic violence from a person named in a court order or qualified restraining order or other record filed with a court.
- Protection from Termination: Landlord cannot terminate a tenancy, fail to renew a tenancy, or refuse to enter into a rental agreement with a victim of domestic violence.
- Early Termination Rights: If a tenant gives the landlord written notice, the landlord shall release the tenant and any immediate family member of the tenant from the rental agreement without penalty. The tenancy terminates on the date stated in the written notice.
- Tenant Information Privacy: Landlord may not disclose information provided to the landlord by a tenant documenting domestic violence. The information may not be entered into any shared database or provided to any person.
- Landlord’s Duties: (§ 47-16-13.1)
- Compliance: Comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
- Repairs: Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
- Common Areas: Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition;
- Maintenance: Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied; and
- Trash Removal: Provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal;
- Heat: Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat between October 1 and May 1 except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose, or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection.
- Tenant’s Duties: (§ 47-16-13.2)
- Compliance: Comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
- Cleanliness: Keep the premises that tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit;
- Trash: Dispose of all garbage and other waste in a clean and safe manner;
- Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits;
- Appliances: Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises;
- Lawful Activity: Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any person to do so; and
- Quiet Enjoyment: Conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with tenant consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
- Retaliation: No statute
- Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.
- North Dakota Small Claims Court
- Limits: $15,000 (§ 27-08.1-01(1))
- Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims: No, eviction cases are heard in district court (§ 47-32-01)
- North Dakota Judiciary Legal Self Help Center – Small Claims
- North Dakota District Courts
- Statute of Limitations
- North Dakota Judiciary
- North Dakota Attorney General
- State Bar Association of North Dakota
- Legal Aid:
- Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
- North Dakota Insurance Department
- North Dakota Business Services
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – North Dakota
- North Dakota Real Estate Commission
- REALTORS® Associations
- Landlord Associations