Evicting a Tenant in North Carolina

The eviction process in North Carolina is a relatively straight-forward process. This will be a high-level guide to the process, please let me know if you have specific questions.

Why evict? The most likely reason is because the tenant has failed to pay their rent, but there are many other reasons: you believe the tenant to be involved in illegal activity; the tenants are causing trouble with the neighbors; or any other number of issues that have led you to want them to move. Regardless of the reason, you need to make certain that you have the right to evict the tenant. There is a clause in North Carolina’s landlord/tenant law that does allow the landlord to evict with no cause. Therefore, the landlord doesn’t need a reason to evict the tenant; the landlord has the right to evict for no cause.

How to evict a tenant? The first thing to do is to give notice to the tenants that you are evicting them. Unless noted otherwise in your lease agreement, you need to give a ten day notice for monthly renters and a two day notice for weekly rentals. Once the notice period is up, then you file paperwork: a magistrate summons and a complaint in summary ejectment. You can get these files online or you can pick them up from your local Clerk of Court office. The paperwork is relatively straight-forward. If you are uncertain, they can help you at the Clerk of Court office. Once you take the appropriate number of forms to the court to file and pay the appropriate fee, then the Clerk of Court’s office will assign you a day and time to come to Small Claim’s court.

When you come to court, bring a copy of your lease agreement and your records book showing the payment history. If you are evicting someone for failing to pay their rent, you will need this supportive documentation. If they have breached the lease in some other manner, then you will need to bring the documentation which supports your claim. If, however, you are evicting someone for no cause, then you may want to bring only the lease and your record book, but you shouldn’t be required to prove any wrong doing on the part of the tenant because you are not evicting them for any breach of contract.

Once the magistrate rules in your favor, you have to wait ten days to execute the writ of execution. If the magistrate does not rule in your favor, then you can appeal. The tenant has ten days to appeal the magistrate’s ruling. If the appeal has grounds, then you must wait for the new court date. During the time that you are waiting for the new court date, the tenant must make payments to the clerk of court’s office. If the tenant does not appeal, then at the end of the ten day period, you go back to the clerk of court’s office and execute the writ of execution. The sheriff’s office or local police department will then get into contact with you to meet you at the property to put the person outside of the home. You need to meet them there and change the locks while at the property with the officer. If they have not removed all of their property from the home, you need to check with the local clerk of court about how to handle their property. Typically, there is a time that they have to get the property within. If they don’t, then you need to follow the guidelines provided by the clerk of court.

I realize that this has been something of a whirlwind tour of the process, and you may have many questions. Please feel free to ask them in a comment, and I will get back with you ASAP.

Joseph Griffin

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5 Responses to Evicting a Tenant in North Carolina

  1. [...] here: Evicting a Tenant in North Carolina clerk, estate, evict-renter, investment, joseph-griffin, landlord, magistrate, north, [...]

  2. Buildium says:

    Joseph,
    Great post! I recently posted a blog on tenant eviction. I added an update with a link back to your post. Thanks!

    Michael Pickett

    http://blog.buildium.com

  3. Shari H. says:

    We have an eviction judgement against tenants in our home. My husband is scheduled to meet the Burke Co. sheriff’s deputy there in two days (Oct 22) to change the locks. We got a phone call from one of the tenants today asking if they could have another week or so, as they don’t have any money to put down on another place until Nov 1st. We said no, and the eviction would proceed as scheduled. The tenant called back and left a message that she would be going to the courthouse the next day to file papers against us, as they have children and they shouldn’t be forced out onto the street. We have done everything according to the law, we have had to wait out all of the waiting periods enforced upon us, and these people did not try to appeal when they had the chance. Is there anything they can do to try and stop the eviction? We also have a monetary judgement against them for back rent and unpaid utilities that they haven’t paid. I’ve researched everything I can find, but can’t find anything specific to Burke County. Thanks for any input.

  4. Mike T. says:

    Great Summary! If you get eviction judgement is there anyway to collect on the remainder of the lease term’s rent beyond keeping their security deposit? My understanding is yes but only until the vacancy is filled and I am not sure what level of effort is required to fill the vacancy.

    Thanks.

  5. Joseph Griffin says:

    Yes, there is a provision that if a person has signed a lease and they break the lease, then they are still responsible for paying until you have located a new tenant. I’m not sure if there are any specific guidelines saying you have to do this, this, and this to meet a standard level of effort. If I recall, I think it states that you must make a reasonable effort to locate a new tenant. If that is the case, then I would call reasonable what you did to attract the first tenant. Meaning that if you ran an ad in the local paper to get the tenant who broke the lease, then you should be running an ad now to replace the tenant. I’m not an expert on the legal definition of reasonable, but it does seem reasonable to meet that you should be doing whatever you did then to get the tenant. The way that you collect this is through small claims court, which means if you actually sue for the owed rent, you need to have some detailed accounting of the means you used to attract a new tenant. I hope this helps.

    Joseph

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