Eviction Process in NC
The eviction process in NC is not as difficult to navigate as some would have you believe.
In fact, the eviction process is designed for a landlord to help themselves when it comes to evicting a tenant in North Carolina.
There are, however, a several steps you must take to ensure you are going about the eviction process correctly.
We have put together a comprehensive guide on How to Evict a Tenant in North Carolina, and we think it would be a good idea for you to look at the longer version, in the event you are not familiar with the eviction process in NC.
Our guide was prepared by our CEO, a licensed North Carolina attorney, which will walk you step by step through the process, as well as provide you with all of the forms you will need, as well as a checklist, for you to get the ball rolling on your eviction process in NC.
You can click the link below to get the guide, or you can continue reading this blog for a brief overview of the eviction process in NC.
The Basics of the Eviction Process in NC
The eviction process in NC can be broken down into about 7 parts. Each of these parts will have their own separate rules, and you must follow the North Carolina eviction laws if you want the eviction process to end smoothly.
The 7 Steps of the Eviction Process in NC:
- Determine the basis for eviction in NC
- Send eviction notice to the tenant
- Allow the required notice period to pass
- File for the eviction (called a summary ejectment)
- Attend the court hearing
- Obtain a judgment and writ of possession
- Repossess your property
Although these steps may seem simple, when you are evicting someone in North Carolina, you must make sure your ducks are all in order.
Even property management companies get the eviction process wrong many times, and end up with a tenant that is still in place, with no recourse available to the landlord.
Now let’s breakdown the steps a little, so you can have a better understanding of the process.
Step 1: Determine the Basis for the Eviction
The first step in the eviction process in NC is to determine exactly why you are evicting your tenant.
In order to evict a tenant legally, you have to have a basis for desiring to terminate the lease. You can’t just simply say I want you gone.
In North Carolina, the most common reasons to evict a tenant include:
- Nonpayment of rent
- Lease violations
- illegal activity
- Holdover tenancy.
There are many other reasons to evict a tenant contained in the North Carolina eviction laws, so it is incumbent upon you to check them out so you can become better informed.
A better course of action, and one that will save you time, is to take a look at our Guide on How to Evict a Tenant in North Carolina. It will have all the information you need to get started.
Step 2: Send the Eviction Notice to Your Tenant
Providing your tenant with notice is the first formal step in the eviction process in NC. If you do not provide the proper notice to the tenant, you will not be able to proceed with the eviction process.
At a basic level, the notice requirement should include
- Why you are evicting the tenant;
- How long the tenant has to correct the problem before you file the eviction; and
- Identifying information for the tenant and the property.
When you are drafting the notice for the eviction process to begin, it is a good idea to make sure you are as detailed as possible. You can never say too much, but don’t get emotional, it’s business.
What that means is that you need to simply state the facts.
Keeping emotions out of it means you may also be able to maintain the relationship with the tenant if the tenant is able to fix the issue.
The type of notice you will use will depend on why you are starting the eviction process on your tenant.
In the eviction process in NC, these notices include:
- 10 Day Notice to Pay: this is for nonpayment of rent; and
- A Notice to Quit: for lease violations, illegal activity, and holdover tenants.
One good point of practice: make sure you post the notice on the door, and send it certified mail. This way you will have documentation that you actually delivered it to your tenant.
We’ll discuss the waiting period in the next section, but a more detailed discussion of it, along with copies of the notices you can send are contained in our guide on How to Evict a Tenant in North Carolina. See how many times we mention it? So it must be important!
Step 3: Allow the Notice Period to Pass
So you sent the letter to your tenant, and now you are playing the waiting game. The timeline for the eviction is now underway.
But, the question you may ask, how long do you have to wait?
Well it depends on why you started the eviction process in the first place.
The eviction process in NC mandates the following waiting times depending on why you are filing the eviciton:
- Lease Violations: No waiting time
- Illegal Activity: No waiting time
- Nonpayment of Rent: 10 days
- Holdover Tenant: depends on the length of the lease (weekly: 2 days; monthly: 7 days; greater than monthly: 30 days)
Step 4: File for Summary Ejectment (Eviction)
The next step in the eviction process in NC is to file for an eviction, formally called a summary ejectment.
Remember, if you didn’t wait the required time, the court will not accept your paperwork.
You will file the complaint for summary ejectment at the courthouse where your property is located.
It is a good idea to have all of the paperwork filled out before you go, but the clerk at the courthouse will help you fill in some things if you have trouble.
Once you deliver the complaint to the Clerk of Court, along with the other documents you need to file, the clerk will give you a copy of the paperwork, as well as a time to appear in court.
The next step is important in the eviction process in NC.
YOU MUST SERVE THE TENANT WITH THE COMPLAINT.
Don’t expect the clerk to do it for you. You must make sure it is done.
There are many ways to have the complaint served in the North Carolina eviction process, but we recommend that you use the Sheriff to serve the complaint.
Having the Sheriff do it protects you from allegations that you threatened the tenant, and also puts the tenant on notice that you mean business.
Now on to the next step of appearing in court.
Related Article: How to Evict a Tenant in North Carolina
Step 5: Attend the Eviction Hearing
The eviction hearing in North Carolina is not as scary as you may think. In fact, the eviction process in NC makes it very simple.
The entire process is designed for both you and your tenant to represent yourselves.
What you want to do is make sure you are prepared for the hearing.
This includes making sure you have all of the documents you need.
Some things you want to bring with you include:
- A copy of your lease agreement
- Any notices your sent to the tenant
- Any electronic communications you sent to the tenant (email, text, social media)
- A witness who has firsthand knowledge of the facts and circumstances
- Financial information indicating non-payment
- Police reports
- Photos or video of damaged property or lease violations
All of these documents will set you up for success in winning your case. But you have to make sure you are prepared.
Even if you win the case, the tenant has 10 days to appeal, so you can’t simply repossess your property. In fact, attempting to repossess your property without a formal writ of possession is known as a self-help eviction, and is against the law in NC.
Your best bet to avoid ending up in hot water is to follow the eviction process in NC to the letter.
Step 6: Have the Sheriff Serve the Writ of Possession
Ideally, your tenant would have not appealed and left the property after 10 days. But in some cases this simply doesn’t happen.
If your tenant has not left the property, the next step for you in the eviction process in NC is to have the Sheriff serve the writ of possession to get your tenant out.
The Sheriff will serve it, and then give the tenant a time to be out of the property. If the tenant is still there after, the Sheriff will “forcibly” remove the tenant from the property.
Forcefully removing doesn’t mean dragging them out in handcuffs, but this might be necessary.
During this part of the process, just stay as far away as you can. You don’t want to be involved in an altercation.
Step 7: Repossess Your Property
Now that the Sheriff has removed your tenants, you should have a locksmith change the locks while the Sheriff is there.
Additionally, if the tenant has left any belongings in the property, the eviction process in NC has several steps you must take to dispose of the property. You can’t simply just throw it out.
This step is a little more lengthy than how we are making it, and your best bet is to read out guide on How to Evict a Tenant in North Carolina (there they go talking about that guide again).
Wrapping up the Eviction Process in NC
While we provided you with a brief overview of the process, there is no substitute for a more in depth understanding.
At Linchpin Property Management, we are fortunate to be the only property management company in North Carolina with a CEO that is a retired military attorney, and licensed North Carolina lawyer.
If you need help understanding the eviction process in NC, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a FREE consultation.
And why you are at it, don’t forget to read the guide.
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The Team at Linchpin Property Management
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As always, information on this website is not intended to constitute legal advice, or the retention of our property management services, and is for general information purposes only.
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