Our topic today is the process of evicting a tenant in North Carolina. Under North Carolina law, you have to give a 10 day written notice to the tenant demanding payment before you can evict. This is required, or the courts won’t recognize your eviction proceeding. If your lease waives this 10 day requirement, you can start the eviction process whenever you want. As soon as a tenant is late with rent, you can get started. That’s why it’s a good idea to include a clause in your lease that waives the 10 day notice period.
Most landlords have a grace period in place. At Alarca Property Management, rent is due on the 1st of every month and we consider it late on the 6th. If we still don’t receive the rent, we file eviction on the 11th. We have found that this provides our tenants with a consistent message. They know what is expected and it’s fair to everyone. The 11th is a good balance between enforcing rent payment and allowing tenants to get caught up if they have a financial problem one month.
You need to go to the courthouse, fill out the necessary paperwork and pay the fees. You can also get an attorney to do this for you. Once filed, the court sets a date for trial. The sheriff will deliver a notice to your tenant and either post it on the property or leave it for them. Usually, your court date is about two weeks later. This means that when we file on the 11th, our court date is usually around the 25th. At court, you have to have the proper documentation, particularly your lease. If it’s a cut and dry issue of the tenant not paying rent, you’ll probably win your case.
Assuming you do win, the tenant then has 10 days to file an appeal. This is North Carolina law and it means you can’t lock them out right away. Wait out the 10 days and then file a write of possession with the Sheriff’s Department. This is where the sheriff will meet you at the house to change the locks and make sure the tenants have left. It usually takes a few days for the sheriff to schedule this, so you’ll be into the following month before you can physically get the tenants out. Walk through house with the sheriff and document anything that is left behind. You can’t remove the belongings a tenant may have left behind. The tenant has seven more days to remove their belongings. Once the seven days pass, you can remove whatever is left behind.
A tenant can file suit against you if you don’t follow this whole process carefully. You don’t want to lose a potentially large amount of money because you threw away a tenant’s personal items before the deadline passed. Wait the required number of days and if you’re not sure how the process works, talk to an attorney or a property manager.
We would be happy to answer any of your questions. Please contact us at Alarca Property Management.