Evicting a tenant in North Carolina requires the landlord to provide written notice to the tenant that they plan to file for eviction. If the notice period expires before the tenant responds, the landlord can file a Complaint Form with the local court. The court then issues a Summons to serve on the tenant with the Complaint. Both the landlord and tenant will appear in court on the date specified in the notice. If the ruling favors the landlord, but the tenant remains in the rental unit, the landlord can file a Writ of Possession to remove the tenant from the property.
Laws – Article 3 (Summary Ejectment)
How to Evict
- Step 1 – Send an Eviction Notice to Tenant
- Step 2 – Wait to Hear from the Tenant
- Step 3 – File in Court
- Step 4 – Serve the Tenant
- Step 5 – Appear in Court
- Step 6 – File for a Writ of Restitution
- Step 7 – Repossess the Property
Step 1 – Send Eviction Notice to Tenant
When a landlord wants to evict a tenant from a rental unit, they must first provide proper notice to the tenant of their intent to evict. There are three notice-types in North Carolina with varying notice periods, depending on the reason for eviction.
- Non-Compliance (Immediate Notice): A landlord uses this notice when the tenant has damaged the rental unit or property. It seeks the immediate departure of the tenant.1,2
- Month-to-Month (7-Day Notice): A landlord files this notice when they intend to end the lease agreement for a month to month tenancy.3
- Non-Payment of Rent (10-Day Notice): A landlord can use this notice if the tenant does not pay rent by the due date established in the lease agreement.4,5
Step 2 – Wait to Hear from the Tenant
The landlord waits for the notice period’s length to allow the tenant to respond, cure the breach, or pay overdue rent. It is preferable to come to a compromise outside of court if possible.
Step 3 – File in Court
- AVERAGE PROCESSING TIME: One (1) month6
- FILING FEE: Varies by county and depends on the number of tenants on the lease7
- WHERE TO FILE: Local Court where the property is located
If the tenant does not respond within the notice period, the landlord can formally file for eviction, also known as a Summary Ejectment. They must file a Complaint with the court local to the property in question.
- Complaint for Summary Ejectment (CVM-201): This form opens an eviction case against a tenant.
- Summons (CVM-100): Once the Complaint has been filed, the court will produce the Summons. It states the case against the tenant and indicates the hearing date for the landlord and tenant to appear in court.
Step 4 – Serve the Tenant
The Sheriff’s office will serve the Complaint and Summons on the tenant with proof of service. The tenant must appear in court no more than ten days after being served.
Step 5 – Appear in Court
Both the landlord and tenant appear in court on the hearing date. It is important to bring copies of all documents that have been filed with the court to the hearing, including a copy of the original eviction notice.
If the tenant doesn’t appear, the ruling defaults to the landlord, but if the landlord doesn’t appear, the case is dismissed. A favorable ruling for the landlord is called a Judgment for Possession. In this case, the tenant will have ten (10) days to appeal the decision or vacate the property.
Tenants can win in court based on a number of common tenant defenses. In North Carolina, tenants may claim that the landlord is out of compliance with any of the following responsibilities:
- Landlords cannot evict tenants using “self-help” methods such as shutting off utilities or changing the locks without the tenant’s knowledge.8
- The landlord did not follow the appropriate eviction procedures for filing.9
- In some instances, a tenant can avoid eviction due to nonpayment of rent by paying back all due rent and late fees before the final judgment is rendered.10
- Landlords cannot evict tenants in retaliation for requesting repairs or notifying authorities of issues with the rental unit.11
- The landlord does not maintain the rental unit to habitable standards.12
- Landlords cannot evict due to discrimination based on color, disability, familial status, national origin, race, religion, sex.9
Step 6 – Obtain Writ of Restitution
If the tenant does not appeal or move after the ten (10) day waiting period, the landlord can file for a Writ of Possession to request the removal of the tenant by the Sheriff’s office.
Step 7 – Repossess the Property
The landlord can use the Writ of Possession to utilize the Sheriff’s office to evict the tenant and their possessions from the property by force.
Video: Evictions in North Carolina
- § 42-26(a)(2)
- § 42-27
- § 42-14
- § 42-46 (a)
- § 42-3
- § 42-25.9.(a)
- § 42-33
- § 42-37.2.
- § 42-42.(a)