North Carolina Eviction Notices
North Carolina eviction notices are legal documents that inform a tenant that their lease will be terminated while giving them a date by which they must move out. The tenant must be served an eviction notice before the landlord can have them evicted. In certain circumstances, the tenant may be permitted to remedy the situation by paying rent or fixing lease violations/damages. If the tenant fails to comply with the notice, the landlord will be able to sue them for repayment and/or possession.
How to Evict a Tenant (Process)
Like most other States, North Carolina requires that a tenant receive an eviction notice before the landlord can file an eviction action in court. The type of notice that the tenant must receive depends on whether it is a monthly, weekly, or yearly tenancy. The notice will also be based on the reasoning behind the eviction (failure to pay rent, breach of the lease agreement, illegal activity, etc.). If the tenant does not comply with the notice within the given period of time, the landlord will need to file an eviction action against them in court to obtain a Judgement for Possession, which will order the tenant to vacate.
Step 1 – Notice to Quit
The landlord must serve the tenant with the proper type of eviction notice. If the tenant is being evicted due to non-payment of rent, they must be served with a Ten (10) Day Notice to Pay or Quit. If the tenant has committed some form of a lease violation, they can either receive a Notice to Cure or an Immediate Notice to Quit. There is no minimum notice period that landlords must give their tenants if they are being evicted for lease violations unless otherwise stated in the lease. If a “notice to cure” or “notice to pay” is given, then the tenant must be given the full period of time stated in the notice to “cure” the issue or pay the full amount owed.
10 Day Notice to Quit — For nonpayment of rent.
Notice to Cure – For “curable” lease violations.
Immediate Notice to Quit — For severe lease violations and/or illegal activity.
2 Day Lease Termination Letter — For week-to-week tenancies.
7 Day Lease Termination Letter — For month-to-month tenancies.
Step 2 – Serve the Notice to Quit
The notice must be served on the tenant personally by the landlord. If the landlord is unable to deliver the notice in-person, it may be left with a household member who is over fourteen (14) years old, sent by certified mail, or posted visibly on the premises. Once the notice has been served, the landlord should fill out the “Certificate of Service” section on a copy of the completed document.
Step 3 – Complaint in Summary Ejectment
After the notice period has expired, if the tenant has still failed to take any action to pay rent, cure the violation, or move out, the landlord can then file a “summary ejectment” against them. To file an eviction action, the landlord must fill out the Complaint in Summary Ejectment and Summons forms. On the Complaint, the landlord must write the reason for the eviction, as well as any payment/damages that they are suing for. The Summons form, which is completed by the court, will state the date and time that the eviction trial will take place. Both of these documents can be obtained from the Clerk of Court’s Civil Division for a nominal fee.
Step 4 – File Forms With Clerk
The eviction action must be filed in the Small Claims Court or District Court of the county in which the rental property is located. However, if the Complaint is suing for more than $10,000, it must be filed in the District Court.
Step 5 – Serve Summons and Complaint
After the complaint has been filed, the Clerk of Court will set the court date fourteen (14) days from the date that the Summons is issued and give the local Sheriff a copy of the Summons and the Complaint. Next, the Sheriff will personally serve these documents on the tenant or by posting a copy on the premises. Every adult tenant being evicted must be served a copy of the Summons and Complaint. The Sheriff’s Office will usually charge a fee for this service which varies depending on the property’s location. Upon reception of the Summons and Complaint, the tenant may either vacate the rental property or file an Answer and fight the eviction by attending the trial. The tenant will have seven (7) days to file an Anwer from the date of service.
Step 6 – Attend Hearing (if applicable)
Both the landlord and tenant must appear in court on the date of the hearing. If the landlord fails to show up, the case may be dismissed outright. Furthermore, if the tenant doesn’t attend, a default judgment may be entered against them. The hearing will take place before a Magistrate Judge. Both parties will have a chance to prove their case. It’s important to bring all relevant documentation, evidence, and witnesses (if applicable) to the hearing date. If the landlord wins the case, the Magistrate will issue a Judgement for Possession and the tenant will be required to move out or file an Appeal within ten (10) days from the judgment date. In the event that the verdict is in favor of the tenant, the case will be dismissed.
Step 7 – Remove Tenant
If the tenant does not vacate the property within ten (10) days, the landlord can request a Writ of Possession from the Clerk of Court. The writ orders the Sheriff to evict the tenant. This typically takes place no more than five (5) days after the Sheriff receives the writ from the court. If the tenant has not moved out within seven (7) days after receiving the writ, the Sheriff will remove them from the property and the landlord can change the locks to block the tenant from entry. When changing the locks, the Sheriff must be present as a witness. Furthermore, the locks have to be changed by a professional locksmith. The tenant will have no more than seven (7) days to remove all of their possessions from the property once the locks have been changed and the landlord must serve them a notice to collect. If the property is not collected within seven (7) days. the landlord can take possession of it.