North Carolina Eviction Laws

Landlords should familiarize themselves with the statewide rules and procedures that govern evictions in the state of North Carolina and understand their responsibilities.

Quick Facts for North Carolina

  • Grounds for Eviction: Failure to pay rent, remaining on rental property past lease-end, lease term violations & participating in criminal activity
  • Notice Required for Nonpayment of Rent: 10-Day Notice to Pay or Quit
  • Notice Required for Eviction without Cause: 2-Day, 7-Day & 1-Month Notice to Quit for weekly, monthly & yearly tenants, respectively
  • Notice Required for Lease Violations: Unconditional Notice to Quit (length of notice dependent on conditions stated in lease agreement)
  • Fastest a Landlord Can Evict for Illegal Acts: Immediately, via “Article 7 eviction”
  • Duration for Tenant to Appeal Eviction Ruling: Within 10 days from release of ruling

How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant in North Carolina?

As in all other states, the amount of time it will take for a landlord to evict a tenant is difficult to predict. The process begins with notification of the landlord’s intention to reclaim the rental property. The amount of time the tenant is given to vacate the premises will depend upon the reason the eviction is being sought.

Once the notice has expired, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process if the tenant has failed to vacate the rental property by filing Summary Ejection papers with the court. The hearing will generally occur about 14 days after the landlord files Summary Ejection papers. The tenant then has 10 days to file an appeal with the court. If no appeal is filed the tenant will generally have seven days from the filing of the Writ of Possession before he/she is physically removed from the rental property.

Ultimately, the amount of time an eviction will take depends upon the reason an eviction is sought and the willingness of the tenant to fight the eviction process.

Reasons for Eviction in North Carolina

In the state of North Carolina, a landlord may seek to evict a tenant for a variety of reasons. These reasons include:

  • Failure to pay rent
  • Remaining on the rental property past the end of the lease
  • Violating the terms of the lease or rental agreement
  • Participating in criminal activity

Eviction for Failure to Pay Rent

When a tenant fails to pay rent in a timely fashion, in the state of North Carolina, the landlord is required to provide him/her with a 10-Day Notice to Pay or Quit before proceeding with the eviction process (N.C.G.S. 42-14). If the tenant fails to either pay rent or vacate the property within the 10 days provided, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing Summary Ejection papers with the court.

NOTE

The notice may not be necessary if the lease included a “forfeiture clause” dealing with the tenant’s failure to pay rent differently. A tenant being evicted for failure to pay rent may stop the eviction process up until the judgement has been made by paying all outstanding rent and any applicable fees. However, the landlord is not required to accept the rent. Acceptance of rent will generally discontinue the eviction process.

Eviction if Rent has Been Paid

When a lease contains a “forfeiture clause,” a landlord may continue with the eviction of a tenant for failure to pay rent even if rent has been paid. When a tenant is renting without the benefit of a written lease, the landlord may evict the tenant without cause in the state of North Carolina. In order to do this, the landlord must provide the tenant with a Notice to Quit.

This notice informs the tenant that the landlord is seeking to reclaim the property and needs to provide the tenant with a specific amount of time. The amount of notice a landlord is required to provide his/her tenant will depend upon the way the rent is paid. A 2-Day Unconditional Notice to Quit is required for a tenant who rents on a weekly basis. A month-to-month tenant must be given a 7-Day Unconditional Notice to Quit.

Evicting a Tenant For Violation of Rental Agreement/Lease

In the state of North Carolina, a landlord may evict a tenant for violation of the terms of the lease or rental agreement with an Unconditional Notice to Quit if the lease specifies that the landlord is allowed to end the lease upon violation of the terms (N.C.G.S. 42-14). If the tenant fails to vacate the property by the date indicated in the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Summary Ejection papers with the court.

Evicting a Tenant for Illegal Behavior

In the state of North Carolina, a landlord may evict a tenant for engaging in illegal activity. In the case of criminal activity, a landlord may seek an expedited eviction, referred to as an “Article 7 eviction.” If a tenant participates in criminal activity that threatens the safety, health, or “right of peaceful agreement,” of the landlord or other tenants of the rental property, he/she may be immediately evicted from the property (N.C. Article 7- 42-59 to 42-63).

How Does a Landlord Evict a Tenant  in North Carolina When There is no Lease?

In the state of North Carolina, a landlord may evict an “at-will” tenant, a tenant who is renting without the benefit of a written lease, without cause. To do this the landlord must provide the tenant with a Notice to Quit (N.C.G.S. 42-14). The notice will provide the tenant with a specific number of days to relocate. When a tenant is renting on a weekly basis, the landlord must provide a 2-Day Notice to Quit. When an “at-will” tenant is renting on a month-to-month basis, the landlord is required to provide a 7-Day Notice to Quit. When an “at-will” tenant rents on a year-to-year basis, the landlord is required to provide a 1-Month Notice to Quit. If the tenant remains on the property beyond the amount of time allowed by the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing Summary Ejection papers with the court.

Read more about tenants at will here.

In North Carolina a landlord is not required to offer his/her “at-will” tenant any notice if he/she intends to discontinue the rental agreement at the end of a fixed-term. The landlord only has to wait until the fixed-term has ended. If the tenant fails to vacate the rental property at the end of a fixed-term lease, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing Summary Ejection papers with the court as soon as the day following the end of the fixed-term.

When Can a Tenant Not Be Evicted in North Carolina?

It is illegal, in the state of North Carolina, for a landlord to attempt to evict a tenant based on his/her race, religion, nation of origin, familial status, or disability status. It is also illegal for a landlord to attempt to evict a tenant in retaliation for filing a complaint regarding unsafe or unhealthy conditions with the appropriate government agency.

Once a Notice has Expired

The landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing Summary Ejection papers in court. These papers will specify the reason the landlord is seeking to remove the tenant from the rental property and provide information regarding the hearing date and time. The tenant must be served with these papers. Service is generally done by the sheriff. These documents may be served by personal delivery to the tenant or by tacking a copy of the documents on the tenant’s door. If the tenant is served by having the papers tacked to the door and he/she fails to attend the hearing, the court may rule in favor of the landlord but may not award the landlord outstanding rent.

NOTE

If the tenant wishes to contest an eviction, he/she is required to be present at the court hearing.

Once Eviction Occurs

If the court rules in favor of the landlord, the tenant will have ten days to appeal the decision. However, the landlord may file for a Writ of Possession on the same day that the court rules in the landlord’s favor. This writ allows the sheriff to physically evict the tenant from the rental property. The eviction will generally take place seven days after the writ is issued. Locks to the rental property may not be changed until the tenant has been legally evicted.

If the tenant has left personal property at the property after the eviction, the landlord is required to serve them him/her with a 7-Day Notice to Collect. If the property is not collected, it is considered abandoned and will be moved by the sheriff to a storage facility at the tenant’s expense.

Make sure to read the North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 42, Article 1 §§ 3, 11 & 14; Article 2A §§ 25.6-25.9 & 26; and Article 7 before starting the eviction process. Landlords should make sure to educate themselves on their rights and responsibilities on this topic.

Eviction Process in Other States

Other Resources for North Carolina Landlords & Tenants