Eviction Laws in North Carolina: What You Need to Know

Eviction Laws in North Carolina: What You Need to Know

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If you live in North Carolina and are curious about the state’s current eviction process, we’ve got you covered. Notably, a lot has changed in recent years and it’s good for both landlords and tenants alike to be aware of the eviction laws in North Carolina. We have outlined the eviction process in NC, as well as answered some frequently asked questions to keep you informed.

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Can you be evicted in North Carolina right now?

Yes. As a matter of fact, tenants can be evicted in North Carolina right now as the state moratorium has ended.

How to evict someone in North Carolina

Significantly, landlords in North Carolina must have a valid legal reason to evict a tenant. Some of these reasons include nonpayment of rent or violation of the lease agreement. Importantly, there are about five steps landlords in North Carolina must take in order to legally comply with the state’s eviction laws. For example, one of the most common reasons for eviction is due to nonpayment of rent, which is what the following steps focus on.

Step one: Notice is Posted

In North Carolina, rent is considered late if it is one day past due. Importantly, fees cannot be assessed by landlords until rent is at least 5 days past due. If a tenant has not paid rent after 5 days, then landlords must allow an additional 10-day grace period prior to beginning the eviction process in North Carolina. Additionally, during this time, landlords must demand rent be paid, either verbally or through writing in order to notify tenants. If a tenant has not paid rent after the additional 10-day grace period and remains on the property, landlords can begin with the eviction process in North Carolina.

Person writing a note with a pen and paper.

FAQ: How long does it take to evict someone in NC?

It depends. Generally, it takes between 1-3 months to evict someone in North Carolina. The process may be longer if the trial is ordered in district court rather than small claims.

Step two: Complaint is Filed and Served

Next, landlords must file a claim in the appropriate court. Often, this is a small claims court. This will set a date/time for a court hearing between the landlord and the tenant. Significantly, the summons and complaint must be served by the sheriff of the county. The sheriff must send a copy to the tenant by the end of the day in which the complaint is filed. Next, the sheriff must telephone the tenant within 5 days and arrange a day for the tenant to pick up the summons, or for the summons to be delivered to them. Importantly, if the sheriff is unable to reach the tenant by phone, they must do one of the following:

  • Deliver the copy in person to the tenant, or to someone 18 years of age or older on the property.
  • Post a copy on the door of the rental unit.

FAQ: Does it cost money to file eviction claims in North Carolina?

Yes. In North Carolina small claims court, it costs $96 in filing fees to start a case.

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Step three: Court Hearing and Judgement

In North Carolina, an eviction hearing taking place in small claims court can occur as soon as 7 days after the summons was issued. Note, a hearing that is held in district court may not occur until 30 days after the summons was served to the tenant. During this hearing, the tenant and landlord will be able to present evidence and state their case. If a tenant fails to appear at the hearing, a judge may grant a default judgment to the landlord. This means a Writ of Possession will be issued. Notably, tenants have 30 days to file an appeal to the ruling.

A black court gavel resting.

Step four: Issue a Writ of Posession

As noted, if a judge sides with the landlord at the hearing, a Writ of Possession will be issued. This occurs about 10 days after the ruling. This serves as the tenant’s final notice to quit the property. In addition, it gives tenants time to file an appeal, or collect their property. The Writ will state a date/time that the sheriff will come to remove the tenant from the property if they have not left.

Step five: Return Possession of Property

Typically, tenants in North Carolina have 5 days after receiving the Writ to collect their belongings. Upon the official eviction date addressed in the Writ, a sheriff will return to the property to physically remove the tenant.

FAQ: What if a tenant leaves property behind?

Notably, according to North Carolina eviction law, a sheriff can take any leftover property to any storage facility in the county. However, a sheriff may ask the landlord to advance the cost of moving and storing the property. If the landlord refuses to advance the costs of moving the possessions, a sheriff may leave all items in the rental unit. Note, hiring movers can be a good option in these situations and save those involved stress, labor, and money.

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Aubrey graduated from UCLA in 2019 with dual degrees in English and Psychology, as well as receiving a concentration in Fiction Creative Writing. Her writing can be found at Locale Magazine, UCLA's MindWell pod, HerCampus, Westwind, and Bloody Donuts. Aubrey currently lives in Los Angeles with her orange tabby cat, Bowie, and spends her free time reading anything she can get her hands on and soaking up the golden California sun. You can find her hiking the Laguna trails, making jewelry, or exploring the local library.