42-42.  Landlord to provide fit premises.

(a)        The landlord shall:

(1)        Comply with the current applicable building and housing codes, whether enacted before or after October 1, 1977, to the extent required by the operation of such codes; no new requirement is imposed by this subdivision (a)(1) if a structure is exempt from a current building code.

(2)        Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition.

(3)        Keep all common areas of the premises in safe condition.

(4)        Maintain in good and safe working order and promptly repair all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and other facilities and appliances supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord provided that notification of needed repairs is made to the landlord in writing by the tenant, except in emergency situations.

(5)        Provide operable smoke alarms, either battery-operated or electrical, having an Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., listing or other equivalent national testing laboratory approval, and install the smoke alarms in accordance with either the standards of the National Fire Protection Association or the minimum protection designated in the manufacturer's instructions, which the landlord shall retain or provide as proof of compliance. The landlord shall replace or repair the smoke alarms within 15 days of receipt of notification if the landlord is notified of needed replacement or repairs in writing by the tenant. The landlord shall ensure that a smoke alarm is operable and in good repair at the beginning of each tenancy. Unless the landlord and the tenant have a written agreement to the contrary, the landlord shall place new batteries in a battery-operated smoke alarm at the beginning of a tenancy and the tenant shall replace the batteries as needed during the tenancy, except where the smoke alarm is a tamper-resistant, 10-year lithium battery smoke alarm as required by subdivision (5a) of this subsection. Failure of the tenant to replace the batteries as needed shall not be considered as negligence on the part of the tenant or the landlord.

(5a)      After December 31, 2012, when installing a new smoke alarm or replacing an existing smoke alarm, install a tamper-resistant, 10-year lithium battery smoke alarm. However, the landlord shall not be required to install a tamper-resistant, 10-year lithium battery smoke alarm as required by this subdivision in either of the following circumstances:

a.         The dwelling unit is equipped with a hardwired smoke alarm with a battery backup.

b.         The dwelling unit is equipped with a smoke alarm combined with a carbon monoxide alarm that meets the requirements provided in subdivision (7) of this section.

(6)        If the landlord is charging for the cost of providing water or sewer service pursuant to G.S. 42-42.1 and has actual knowledge from either the supplying water system or other reliable source that water being supplied to tenants within the landlord's property exceeds a maximum contaminant level established pursuant to Article 10 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes, provide notice that water being supplied exceeds a maximum contaminant level.

(7)        Provide a minimum of one operable carbon monoxide alarm per rental unit per level, either battery-operated or electrical, that is listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory that is OSHA-approved to test and certify to American National Standards Institute/Underwriters Laboratories Standards ANSI/UL2034 or ANSI/UL2075, and install the carbon monoxide alarms in accordance with either the standards of the National Fire Protection Association or the minimum protection designated in the manufacturer's instructions, which the landlord shall retain or provide as proof of compliance. A landlord that installs one carbon monoxide alarm per rental unit per level shall be deemed to be in compliance with standards under this subdivision covering the location and number of alarms. The landlord shall replace or repair the carbon monoxide alarms within 15 days of receipt of notification if the landlord is notified of needed replacement or repairs in writing by the tenant. The landlord shall ensure that a carbon monoxide alarm is operable and in good repair at the beginning of each tenancy. Unless the landlord and the tenant have a written agreement to the contrary, the landlord shall place new batteries in a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm at the beginning of a tenancy, and the tenant shall replace the batteries as needed during the tenancy. Failure of the tenant to replace the batteries as needed shall not be considered as negligence on the part of the tenant or the landlord. A carbon monoxide alarm may be combined with smoke alarms if the combined alarm does both of the following: (i) complies with ANSI/UL2034 or ANSI/UL2075 for carbon monoxide alarms and ANSI/UL217 for smoke alarms; and (ii) emits an alarm in a manner that clearly differentiates between detecting the presence of carbon monoxide and the presence of smoke. This subdivision applies only to dwelling units having a fossil-fuel burning heater, appliance, or fireplace, and in any dwelling unit having an attached garage. Any operable carbon monoxide detector installed before January 1, 2010, shall be deemed to be in compliance with this subdivision.

(8)        Within a reasonable period of time based upon the severity of the condition, repair or remedy any imminently dangerous condition on the premises after acquiring actual knowledge or receiving notice of the condition. Notwithstanding the landlord's repair or remedy of any imminently dangerous condition, the landlord may recover from the tenant the actual and reasonable costs of repairs that are the fault of the tenant. For purposes of this subdivision, the term "imminently dangerous condition" means any of the following:

a.         Unsafe wiring.

b.         Unsafe flooring or steps.

c.         Unsafe ceilings or roofs.

d.         Unsafe chimneys or flues.

e.         Lack of potable water.

f.          Lack of operable locks on all doors leading to the outside.

g.         Broken windows or lack of operable locks on all windows on the ground level.

h.         Lack of operable heating facilities capable of heating living areas to 65 degrees Fahrenheit when it is 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside from November 1 through March 31.

i.          Lack of an operable toilet.

j.          Lack of an operable bathtub or shower.

k.         Rat infestation as a result of defects in the structure that make the premises not impervious to rodents.

l.          Excessive standing water, sewage, or flooding problems caused by plumbing leaks or inadequate drainage that contribute to mosquito infestation or mold.

(b)        The landlord is not released of his obligations under any part of this section by the tenant's explicit or implicit acceptance of the landlord's failure to provide premises complying with this section, whether done before the lease was made, when it was made, or after it was made, unless a governmental subdivision imposes an impediment to repair for a specific period of time not to exceed six months. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, the landlord and tenant are not prohibited from making a subsequent written contract wherein the tenant agrees to perform specified work on the premises, provided that said contract is supported by adequate consideration other than the letting of the premises and is not made with the purpose or effect of evading the landlord's obligations under this Article.  (1977, c. 770, s. 1; 1995, c. 111, s. 2; 1998-212, s. 17.16(i); 2004-143, s. 3; 2008-219, ss. 2, 6; 2009-279, s. 3; 2010-97, s. 6(a); 2012-92, s. 1.)