How to Evict a Tenant (Process)
North Dakota State law requires that tenants receive a minimum of three (3) days notice before a landlord can file an eviction action in court against a tenant. Although evictions are usually caused by the non-payment of rent, tenants can also be evicted if they damage property, commit illegal activity, fail to vacate after the rental period expires, or disturb the peace. The landlord isn’t permitted to serve the notice on the tenant in-person themselves unless they obtain a signed Admission of Service. The only legal way to evict a tenant is for the landlord to obtain Writ of Restitution by filing an Eviction Complaint against the tenant in court.
Step 1 – Notice to Quit
First, the landlord must fill out the appropriate eviction notice form. For unpaid rent and/or lease violations, the tenant should be served the 3 Day Notice to Quit. If the tenant had a month-to-month rental agreement or if there is no written lease, they must be given thirty (30) days notice to vacate and a Lease Termination Letter.
Step 2 – Serve the Notice to Quit
The Notice to Quit/Lease Termination Letter must be served on the tenant one (1) of three (3) different ways: in-person, by mail, or by obtaining the tenant’s signature in acknowledgment of service. For the service to be fulfilled in-person, the landlord must pay the Sheriff or a professional process server to deliver the forms, or they can have a North Dakota resident who is at least eighteen (18) years old and not a party in the action to serve the tenant. Furthermore, the individual who personally serves the tenant must fill out an Affidavit of Service by Personal Delivery in front of a Clerk of Court or a notary. To serve the tenant by mail, the landlord must send the notice by certified mail with return receipt and fill out the Affidavit of Service by Mail in front of a Clerk of Court or notary. If the tenant’s signature can be voluntarily obtained, they may be served the necessary documents by the landlord and be made to fill out an Admission of Service.
Step 3 – Evictions Summons and Complaint
If the tenant does not move out, pay the full amount of past-due rent, or remedy their lease violations by the time the notice has expired, the landlord may file an eviction lawsuit against them in court. The landlord will need to fill out an Eviction Summons and an Eviction Complaint in order to open a case. The Summons gives the reason for the eviction and will have the appointed court date added by the Clerk of Court after it has been filed. The Complaint describes in detail why the tenant is being evicted (ie: lease violations, not paying rent, disturbing the peace, etc.). Although they do not need to be filed at the same time as the Summons and Complaint, the landlord will also need to file the following forms with the Clerk of Court once the case has been opened:
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Order – States the particulars of the case.
Eviction Judgment – To be completed by the Judge once a verdict is reached.
Affidavit to Identification – States the name(s) of the tenant(s) and if they are in the United States armed forces.
Statement of Costs & Disbursements – States the costs of the lawsuit.
Writ of Eviction – Awards possession property to the landlord if they win the case.
The landlord should provide as much information as they are able to and make copies of all of their eviction forms before filing them. The court will complete these documents.
Step 4 – File Forms With Clerk
The landlord will need to file the Summons, Complaint, and other eviction forms with the District Court of the county in which the rental property is located. The landlord must also supply copies of the lease and the Notice to Quit/Letter of Termination, as well as any proof of lease violations or record of non-payment (if applicable). The Clerk of Court’s office will charge the landlord for filing fees, which may vary depending on the court (see District Court filing fees).
Step 5 – Serve Summons and Complaint
After filing the forms and paying the filing fee, a copy of the Summons and Complaint must be served on the tenant. Again, the notice must be served by a third party and the server must complete the appropriate affidavit: Affidavit of Service by Mail, Affidavit of Hand Delivery, Affidavit of Service at Dwelling, or Affidavit of Office Delivery. After service has taken place, the landlord must make sure that the applicable proof of service, as well as copies of the Summons and Complaint, are filed with the Clerk of Court. The court date will usually be set to take place between three (3) and fifteen (15) days after these documents have been served.
Step 6 – Attend Hearing
Both the landlord and tenant must present themselves in court on the date of the hearing. If the tenant does not attend, a verdict will be made against them. The landlord must bring any documentation and evidence that may be relevant to their case. If the Judge rules in favor of the landlord, the tenant will be required to vacate the rental unit and may be ordered to pay any back rent, damages, and/or legal fees to the landlord.
Step 7 – Remove Tenant
If the tenant does not move out within the time frame specified by the Judge, the landlord can request a Writ of Restitution from the court and give it to the local Sheriff to evict the tenant from the premises. Any belongings that the tenant leaves behind must be kept for at least twenty-eight (28) days by the landlord so that the tenant has an opportunity to reclaim them. Furthermore, any storage costs must be paid for by the tenant. If the tenant’s belongings are valued at more than $2,500, the landlord must obtain a court order permitting them to dispose of or sell the tenant’s property.