North Dakota Property Management Laws

Property management can be a complex challenge regardless of location, requiring a strict knowledge of the applicable state, local and federal laws. This is also true in North Dakota. Due to the unique laws at the state level, even those with property management experience in other states will have significant research to do upon moving to North Dakota.

If you are planning to act as a landlord or property manager in North Dakota, understanding the basic policies governing landlords is important. This guide serves as a comprehensive overview of North Dakota property management, providing a basic outline to help landlords remain compliant. For those who want to alleviate the burdens that come with legal research, partnering with an established property management company can be essential.

Key Point Module

  • 1 Property management laws in North Dakota cover many facets of landlord-tenant law, providing significant direction.
  • 2 Laws favor both the tenant and landlord quite fairly, making this a desirable state in which to get involved in property management.
  • 3 Landlords are obligated to maintain properties to meet comprehensive healthy, building and utility standards.
  • 4 Partnering with a property management company can be a great way to ensure quality and compliance with all state and local laws.

Note: This guide is intended to be used as an educational resource. The contents within do not constitute legal advice. To obtain information regarding property management laws in your state, consult a local attorney. This guide is based only on property management laws at the state level. Local county and city laws may exist that are not discussed in this guide. Consult a local attorney to obtain information that pertains to your specific location and situation.

Property Management Laws Overview in North Dakota

Code Description
47-16-07.1 Security Deposit Laws
47-16-01 to 47-16-07 Lease and Termination Laws
47-16-19 to 47-16-23 Rent and Late Fee Laws
47-16-07.2 Disclosure Laws
47-16-12 to 47-16-13.4 Landlord Responsibility Laws
47-16-09 to 47-16-10 Property Maintenance and Repair Laws

Property Management Licensing Laws

In North Dakota, property management activities, such as leasing property, are considered real estate activity and require an active broker license. This includes anyone who lists, negotiates, signs agreements or otherwise partakes in leasing activities. However, property managers who do not directly interact with the leasing process do not require a license. Property owners and salaried employees working under them also do not require broker licenses. 

To acquire a broker license, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  1. The candidate must be at least 18 years old.
  2. The candidate must have been in engagement as a licensed real estate salesperson for at least two years or have commiserate experience as deemed by the Commission.
  3. The applicant must have completed 60 hours of Commission-approved education.
  4. The applicant must have received a passing score on the examination.
  5. The candidate must be in possession of errors and omissions insurance.
  6. The candidate must pay a $120 fee.

As noted above, work as a licensed salesperson is required prior to licensure. The steps to becoming a licensed salesperson include 45 hours of Commission-approved study with an extra 15 after receiving a license, a passing score on the exam, proof of errors and omissions insurance and a $100 fee. 

Rental Application Laws

What application fees are permitted? 

There are no laws in North Dakota regarding application fees, which indicates that these fees are permitted based on a landlord’s discretion and are permitted to be nonrefundable. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

Can property managers screen applicants?

Yes, property managers are permitted to screen tenants. This can include using credit checks and background checks as appropriate. 

The information discovered during screening can be used to make tenant decisions, but it is important that this data is not used to discriminate against applicants, based on protected characteristics, such as race and gender. These kinds of characteristics are protected under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, as well as state-level policies. More expansive rules may apply at the social level.  

Security Deposit Laws

Are additional move-in fees allowed?  

There are no specific laws in North Dakota regarding move-in fees that may apply. Landlords can charge these at their discretion. Landlords who choose to charge fees for pets are restricted to a maximum of $2,500 or two month’s rent (§ 47-16-07.1(2)). This does not apply to service animals. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply regarding additional move-in fees. 

Is there a limit on the security deposit amount that can be charged?

In North Dakota, security deposits are limited to a maximum of one month’s rent (§ 47-16-07.1(1)). 

Does the landlord have to hold the security deposit in a specific way during occupancy? 

Yes, security deposits need to be held in a separate interest-bearing account (§ 47-16-07.1(1)).

How long does the landlord have to return the security deposit after move out? 

Security deposits must be returned to the tenant within 30 days of moving out (§ 47-16-07.1(3)).

What are the reasons why a landlord can withhold part or all of the security deposit?

Landlords can withhold all or part of a security deposit to remedy property damage caused by the tenant outside of normal wear and tear (§ 47-16-07.1(3)), in addition to several other circumstances. This includes:

  • Damage caused by a tenant, tenant’s guest or pet due to negligence
  • Failure to pay rent
  • Cost of cleaning or other repairs required to return a unit its original state, outside of wear and tear

In order to retain any part of a security deposit, landlords must provide a list of itemized services and exact amounts to a tenant at the most recent address provided. 

What is the penalty if the landlord doesn’t return the security deposit?

A landlord that does not return the security deposit or withholds any part of a security deposit for inappropriate reasons violating the North Dakota Century Code are liable for triple the amount withheld (§ 47-16-07.1(4)).

Does any accrued interest on security deposits need to be paid to the tenant? 

Yes. Accrued interest on a security deposit that applies to a tenancy lasting over nine months must be repaid to the tenant upon the return of a security deposit (§ 47-16-07.1(1) and (3)).

Laws about Leases and Lease Termination

What types of lease terms are allowed? 

Landlords are permitted to outline their own lease terms in a lease agreement. A lease agreement that does not specify terms is assumed to be one year in duration (§ 47-16-05). If a tenant does not move out of a property at the end of a lease term and the landlord continues to collect rent, the lease is assumed to be renewed (§ 47-16-06).

What happens if the tenant violates the lease? 

If a tenant violates lease terms, landlords may provide a three-day notice to terminate the lease if the tenant does not remedy the stated violation or make any required repairs within a reasonable time period (§ 47-32-01 and § 47-32-02 and § 47-16-16). 

How much notice is required for a month-to-month lease termination? 

For a month-to-month lease, a 30-day notification period is required (§ 47-16-15(2)), unless an agreement is made within the lease terms that allows for a different notice period. 

When can a tenant terminate a term lease without penalty? 

Tenants can terminate a lease without penalty by notifying the landlord within the stated notice period. For a yearly lease with no end date, 30 days is required (§ 47-16-15(1)). 

How much notice do service members have to supply before terminating the lease?

The Federal War and National Defense Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 App. U.S.C.A. § § 501 governs rental policies for service members. A lease is considered terminated after 30 days following giving notice. There are no penalties for terminating a lease due to military service.  

Are there special lease termination rules for victims of domestic violence? 

Yes, there are special lease termination rules for victims of domestic violence (§ 47-16-17.1). As evidence of abuse, victims must provide notice to a landlord and proclaim a threat of imminent danger from an individual outlined in a court or restraining order. Once this step has been completed, landlords cannot terminate a tenancy, fail to renew a lease or refuse to enter into a rental agreement with a victim of domestic violence.

How and when can a landlord evict a tenant? 

A landlord can evict a tenant when the terms of a lease are violated if the violation is not corrected or for a failure to pay rent. A three-day notification is required (§ 47-32-01) to begin the eviction process. 

How much notice does a landlord have to give before making changes to the property that result in the termination of tenancy? 

Landlords must provide notice, as is stated in the lease, at the termination of the lease period. For leases with no stated end date, 30 days’ notice is required (§ 47-16-15(2)).

Laws about Rent and Late Fees

When can a landlord increase rent? 

A landlord can increase rent at the end of a lease term with a 30-day written notice (§ 47-16-07). 

Is there a maximum amount of rent that a landlord can charge tenants? 

No, there is no maximum amount of rent that a landlord can charge to a tenant. As rent control is not a part of the renting culture of North Dakota, there are no state laws on this issue. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

Is there a state-mandated grace period that landlords must give tenants before charging a late fee? 

Landlords can only charge a late fee if it is noted in the lease terms. The lease must state the timeline for a late fee, as well as the amount, if this policy is to apply, per the Attorney General’s Guide to Tenant Rights & Responsibilities. Landlords who choose to charge late fees can begin to do so as soon as rent is one day past due.

Is there a limit on how much of a late fee the landlord can charge tenants?

No. As late fees are at the discretion of the landlord and included in lease terms, the amount to be charged is up to landlord discretion. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

Legally Required Disclosures

What types of disclosures are landlords required to supply regarding ownership of the property?

In North Dakota, the only requirement of landlords is to properly and fairly communicate the state of the property (§ 47-16-07.2) with an agreement that both the landlord and tenant must sign. There may be additional county, city or regional rules that apply regarding disclosures. 

What disclosures related to mold are landlords required to supply?

There are no specific policies on mold in North Dakota. Landlords are not required to disclose the presence of mold. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

What disclosures related to lead paint are landlords required to supply?

There are no specific policies on mold in North Dakota. However, based on federal laws, any building built before 1978 is required to disclose the potential presence of lead paint and provide all tenants with a copy of the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” pamphlet.

Laws about Landlord Responsibilities

How much notice does the landlord have to supply before entry? 

There is no specified notice period required for entry in North Dakota. In spite of this, landlords must provide notice of entry and receive the approval of the tenant. The tenant cannot withhold consent without an appropriate reason. Entry must be made during reasonable hours and in a reasonable manner (47-16-07.3(2)). 

Landlords can enter without notice in the case of an emergency or when a tenant substantially violates the lease (47-16-07.3(1)). 

When can the tenant refuse to allow the landlord entry? 

There are no specific rules regarding when a tenant can deny entry, but based on the rules of landlord entry in the Century Code (47-16-07.3(2)), entry can be denied when the manner or time of entry is unreasonable. 

What steps must the landlord take to keep the property habitable? 

Landlords in North Dakota have numerous responsibilities to their tenants (§ 47-16-13.1). These include:

  • Compliance with all health and building codes that apply
  • Make all repairs to keep a property in a clean and working manner
  • Keep all common areas clean and hazard-free
  • Handle all basic maintenance of utilities, such as electrical, plumbing, sanitary, and heating systems
  • Trash removal
  • Providing working heat to all units

The tenant, on the other hand, is required to maintain compliance with building codes, maintain unit cleanliness, dispose of all garbage in the proper receptacles, use appliances reasonably, avoid illegal use and maintain a pleasant atmosphere. 

What amenities must the landlord supply and maintain? 

The landlord is required to maintain all common spaces and amenities related to health and building codes, such as elevators (§ 47-16-13.1).

What utilities must the landlord supply and maintain? 

The landlord must provide access to all basic utilities, including electricity, plumbing, heating, sanitation and gas (§ 47-16-13.1). Who pays for these utilities depends on the terms of the lease agreement. 

Does the landlord have to supply a certificate of inspection? 

No, landlords in North Dakota don’t have to supply certificates of inspection. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

Is the landlord required to supply locks and keys?

The landlord is only required to provide locks and keys when local building codes indicate this, as is noted in the Century Code (§ 47-16-13.1).

Are retaliatory actions prohibited?  

There is no statute related to retaliatory actions. However, there is a policy barring landlords from prohibiting utility shutoffs to attempt to force eviction (§ 32-03-29). 

Property Maintenance and Repair Laws

What type of maintenance is the landlord responsible for?

Landlords are required to provide maintenance that keeps the building up to date with local health and building codes, as well as repairs that maintain necessary utilities (§ 47-16-13.1).

How long does the landlord have to make repairs? 

A landlord must make repairs in a reasonable time, but the time frame considered reasonable is not specified. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

What type of maintenance is the tenant responsible for? 

The tenant is responsible for maintenance that is not a responsibility of the landlord, such as cosmetic repairs (§ 47-16-13.2). 

Is the landlord responsible to fix damage caused by tenants? 

The landlord is only responsible for tenant damage when it applies to critical utilities, such as heating and plumbing, or when a failure to do so would violate health or building codes or other landlord responsibilities (§ 47-16-13.1).

When does a landlord have to return and/or lower rent due to diminished rental value? 

There are no circumstances in which landlords must return or lower rent due to a diminished rental value in North Dakota. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

When can a tenant request an official inspection to determine substandard or dangerous living conditions? 

There are no particular rules in North Dakota related to when a tenant can request an official inspection. As such, if a tenant is not comfortable with the state of a property or there are clear violations of the health or building code, they are permitted to contact local authorities as desired. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply. 

Under what circumstances can a tenant make a repair and deduct the cost from the rent paid to the landlord? 

If a landlord does not make repairs in a reasonable amount of time – reasonable amount of time is not defined – a tenant is able to make repairs and deduct the cost from rent (§ 47-16-13). 

When is a landlord required to pay for relocation assistance? 

In North Dakota, there are no instances in which landlords must pay for relocation. This is not to say that relocation is always the responsibility of the tenant. Relocation can be required under specific policies by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, but this is paid for by the government. There may be county, city or regional rules that apply.

Who Is Exempt? 

Despite the comprehensive nature of the Century Code, there are some exceptions to standard property management laws in North Dakota. Subsidized housing is the most notable exception to standard rules. For example, rent cannot be raised as desired, as Section 8 housing is limited by federal regulations. 

Additional Rental Law Resources for the State of North Dakota

While the above information provides a complete overview of the basics of property management, these additional resources can help tenants, landlords and property managers learn more about the Landlord-Tenant act in North Dakota. 

Name Phone Number Description
Landlord and Tenant Rights in North Dakota – North Dakota Apartment Association 1-800-990-6322 An overview of landlord-tenant rights in North Dakota
Tenant Rights – North Dakota Attorney General 1-800-472-2600 Tenant rights information provided by the Attorney General
Eviction for Tenants (701) 328-1852 A guide to eviction for tenants offered by the North Dakota Legal Self Help Center, a division of the State of North Dakota Courts

Note: This guide is intended to be used as an educational resource. The contents within do not constitute legal advice. To obtain information regarding property management laws in your state, consult a local attorney. This guide is based only on property management laws at the state level. Local county and city laws may exist that are not discussed in this guide. Consult a local attorney to obtain information that pertains to your specific location and situation.