What Is an Eviction?

An eviction is a legal process in which a landlord removes a tenant from a rental property. Many evictions happen because the tenant has not paid rent, or even because the tenant is habitually late on the rent. You can be evicted for other reasons depending on the terms of your lease. There are several situations which call for the use of eviction notices. In North Carolina, common issues that call forth the need for eviction services include:

  • Failing to pay rent within the specified time
  • Overstaying your lease term without renewing the agreement
  • Deliberate or gross negligence causing property damage
  • Bringing in tenants to the property without authorization
  • Taking on a pet when the lease agreement does not authorize it
  • Repeated complaints from neighbors for making noise or causing disturbance
  • Engaging in criminal activities such as drug smuggling/trafficking

Eviction Process

Whatever the case, a legal procedure for eviction must be followed. In the case of failing to pay rent, a tenant is issued a “10- day Demand for Rent.” The tenant must pay their dues or vacate the property. After the ten-day period, if the tenant has still not obliged, an eviction lawsuit can be filed.

If the tenant is overstaying their lease agreement, also referred to as a “holdover” tenant, the period of the notice will depend on the period of the lease agreement. Typically

  • If the lease agreement is annual- serve a notice of one month
  • If the lease agreement is monthly- serve a notice of one week
  • If the lease agreement is weekly- serve a notice of 2 days

In case of tenants engaging in criminal activities on the rented property, you can file a case for expedited eviction under “Article 7 Eviction” of the North Carolina law.

Most tenants will move out of the property within the notice period. If not, the second step is to file a “Summary Ejectment.” Cases of Summary Ejectment can be filed in one of the two courts.

  • If damages sought are less than 10,000 US dollars- go to “Small Claims Court.”
  • If damages sought are over 10,000 US dollars, go to a “District Court.”

The court will issue the tenant a “Summons” by a County Sheriff or court official detailing the date and venue of court hearing usually within two weeks of the notice. The tenant can simply vacate the property or contest his case.

At the court hearing, both parties should present sufficient evidence and documentary proof to justify their claims such as a copy of lease agreement, proof of non-payment, pictures of damaged property or criminal activity and notices served. We will help you gather all this evidence if you require any eviction services from our end.

If the court judgment is in favor of the property owner, they will be awarded a “Judgement for Possession’ meaning the right to the property. The tenant will have ten days to vacate the property or appeal the decision. In case of non-action from the tenant, you can file a “Writ for Possession” that allows the county sheriff to remove the tenant from the property within 7 days of its issuance.

Once the tenant has moved out or has been removed by the Sheriff, you can have the locks changed by a locksmith in the presence of a Sheriff.

Sometimes a tenant will move out but leave behind some possessions. In that case, you should notify the tenant and serve a notice period. If the tenant does not respond within the notice period, you can dispose of off the items in accordance with NCGS § 42-25.9 and NCGS § 42-36.2