The 2013-14 Budget Act makes a change to the North Carolina statute on failure to return rental property. Before this change, it was a Class 2 misdemeanor to fail to return rental property to the rightful owner if the property was rented pursuant to a rental agreement with an option to purchase the property. After this change, it is now a Class 3 misdemeanor to commit such a crime.

The pertinent bill section is:

SECTION 18B.14.(e) G.S. 14‑168.4(a) reads as rewritten:

“(a) It shall be a Class 2 misdemeanorClass 3 misdemeanor for any person to fail to return rented property with intent to defeat the rights of the owner, which is rented pursuant to a written rental agreement in which there is an option to purchase the property, after the date of termination provided in the agreement has occurred or, if the termination date is the occurrence of a specified event, then that such event has in fact occurred.”

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