(a) Except as may otherwise be provided in this Chapter, all funds collected from a tenant and not identified in the vacation rental agreement as occupancy or sales taxes, fees, or rent payments shall be considered a tenant security deposit and shall be subject to the provisions of the Residential Tenant Security Deposit Act, as codified in Article 6 of Chapter 42 of the General Statutes. Funds collected as a tenant security deposit in connection with a vacation rental shall be deposited into a trust account as required by G.S. 42-50. The landlord or real estate broker shall not have the option of obtaining a bond in lieu of maintaining security deposit funds in a trust account. In addition to the permitted uses of tenant security deposit monies as provided in G.S. 42-51, a landlord or real estate broker may, after the termination of a tenancy under this Chapter, deduct from any tenant security deposit the amount of any long distance or per call telephone charges and cable television charges that are the obligation of the tenant under the vacation rental agreement and are left unpaid by the tenant at the conclusion of the tenancy. The landlord or real estate broker shall apply, account for, or refund tenant security deposit monies as provided in G.S. 42-51 within 45 days following the conclusion of the tenancy.
(b) A vacation rental agreement shall not contain language compelling or permitting the automatic forfeiture of all or part of a tenant security deposit in case of breach of contract by the tenant, and no such forfeiture shall be allowed. The vacation rental agreement shall provide that a tenant security deposit may be applied to actual damages caused by the tenant as permitted under Article 6 of Chapter 42 of the General Statutes. (1999-420, s. 1.)