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In a sentence, rental agents have legal duties to ensure that landlords comply with the North Carolina Vacation Rental Act. An agent who fails to meet that basic duty can potentially be held liable for personal injuries and wrongful deaths that occur at properties covered by the act.

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The Vacation Rental Act applies to extended-stay residences that people can lease for up to 90 days. It covers most of the vacation homes on the Outer Banks, for instance. Under the law, with is Chapter 42A of the General Statutes of North Carolina, landlords and renters must sign a written agreement that spells out both parties’ duties and clearly states the price and fees. The agreement must also affirm that the landlord is renting a residence that meets all applicable building codes, such as those relating to the location and fencing of a swimming pool.Creative Commons via Flickr / James Willamor -- https://www.flickr.com/photos/bz3rk/8587288705

As the real estate broker who connects the renter with the landlord, the rental agent must ensure that the signed agreement complies with the provisions of the Vacation Rental Act. As stated in the act, “Any real estate broker who executes a vacation rental agreement that does not conform to the provisions of this Chapter or fails to execute a vacation rental agreement shall be guilty of an unfair trade practice.”

The act then goes on to list the other duties for rental agents as

  • Managing the property in accordance with the terms of the written agency agreement;
  • Complying with state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination against potential renters on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or familial status;
  • Notifying the landlord of the need to make repairs and secure the property so it remains “in a fit and habitable or safe condition”;
  • Verifying the installation of operable smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms; and
  • Verifying annual replacement of batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.

Items that must be kept in proper repair include “all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and other facilities and major appliances supplied by the landlord.” Rental agents must respond quickly to repair requests from renters and to orders from landlords to have repairs made.

EJL

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