Under North Carolina Landlord Tenant Law (NC General Statutes Chapter 42 Article 5), landlords have a right to evict their tenants. You can evict your tenant for various reasons, such as failure to pay rent, violation of the lease agreement, or if the tenant engaged in illegal activities while living on your property.
It’s important to note that you must conduct the eviction process in accordance with North Carolina state law. You cannot, for instance, try to evict your NC tenant by removing their belongings or locking them out.
Retaliatory evictions, as well as those based on a tenant’s race, color, nationality, or other protected classes, are also illegal.
Normally, evicting a tenant in the state of North Carolina usually takes about one to three months. The exact timeframe depends on the specific reason for the eviction and where the case is heard.
The following article will help you If you’re looking to familiarize yourself with North Carolina eviction laws, the following article will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the steps to take.
Serving an Eviction Notice
The first step in any tenant eviction process begins with an eviction notice. An eviction notice notifies the tenant about:
- The reason for their eviction.
- The actions they must take.
- Important deadlines the tenant must meet.
The type of eviction notice you give to your tenants depends on the reason for their eviction. The various eviction notices in North Carolina are as follows.
10-Day Notice to Pay
This notice is for tenants who fail to pay rent on time. In North Carolina, rent becomes late a day after it’s due. If you offer any grace period, you must address it in the lease agreement. It’s important to note that if you intend to charge any late fees, rent must be at least 5 days late.
After rent is past due, you must serve the tenant a 10-Day Notice to Pay in order to begin the eviction process. If the tenant doesn’t pay the overdue rent within 10 days, you can proceed with the eviction.
X-Day Notice to Quit
The X-Day Notice to Quit is provided to tenants who fail to leave after the end of their lease agreement. North Carolina landlords may also evict tenants who refuse to leave after their lease expires. The specific notice amount to give the tenant depends on the frequency of rent payments.
For tenants who pay rent on a weekly basis, you must serve a 2-Day Notice to Quit. This will give the tenant 2 days to leave or else face they will face eviction.
If your tenants pay rent on a month-to-month basis, you must serve them a 7-Day Notice to Quit. This will give the tenant a maximum of 7 days to leave before being evicted.
If your tenants have a year-long lease, you will need to serve them a 30-Day Notice to Quit. If the tenant refuses to leave within the allotted time, you can continue with the eviction process.
No Prior Notice
No notice is required when you begin eviction proceedings against a tenant who violates the terms of the lease agreement. Examples of these violations include:
- Keeping an unauthorized pet.
- Exceeding the agreed-upon number of tenants living on the property.
- Causing excessive property damage.
If the tenant deliberately or negligently causes property damage, they are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
No prior notice is required to begin eviction proceedings against a tenant who engages in illegal activity. North Carolina defines illegal activity in either of two ways.
The first definition of illegal activity is a criminal activity that affects other tenants’ health, safety, or peaceful enjoyment. The other definition is the illegal use, manufacture, or sale of a controlled drug.
Filing and Serving Complaints
The next step in the eviction process is filing a complaint in an appropriate court. This will cost you about $100 in filing fees if you file the complaint in a small claims court.
It’s the duty of a sheriff or the court’s process server to serve the summons and complaint to the tenant. The service must be done in any of the following ways.
- Through personal delivery.
- By leaving a copy with a resident of suitable age if the tenant is absent.
- Post a copy in a conspicuous area on the premises, such as on the front door.
- This must be done within 5 days of your filing the complaint with the court.
Attending a Court Hearing and Awaiting Judgement
If you file a complaint in a small claims court, the hearing can occur within one week of the complaint being filed but may take longer. If the tenant doesn’t attend the hearing, the court will most likely issue a default judgment, which will be in your favor. The court will then issue you with a writ of possession and the eviction will proceed.
However, if the tenant shows up, a hearing will be held. The following are some defenses the tenant may use to stop or delay their eviction:
- The landlord tried to forcefully evict them from their rented premises.
- Their landlord turned off essential services and utilities.
- The landlord attempted to evict them in retaliation for reporting them to a government agency due to a habitability violation.
- The Landlord failed to promptly respond to a maintenance issue.
- Their landlord tried to evict the tenant because of their race, color, gender or sexual orientation, disability, nationality, or any other protected class.
Regain Possession of Your Property
Whether through a successful hearing or a default judgment, the court will issue a writ of possession to you. The writ of possession will be the tenant’s final notice to vacate the rental unit. If they don’t, the sheriff can return to forcefully remove them from the Premises.
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Disclaimer: This content isn’t a substitute for expert legal advice from a qualified and licensed attorney. Also, laws change and this content may not be updated at the time of your reading.