North Carolina Eviction Process & Laws | Free NC Eviction Notices

The North Carolina eviction process, known legally as a 'Summary Ejectment', is the procedure of a landlord forcibly moving a tenant off the premises when they have failed to respond to a notice to quit. The landlord, before starting a filing with the court, must either submit to the tenant the immediate, seven (7), or ten (10) day notice to quit. Afterwards the landlord may continue with a filing with the Complaint in the County Court Clerk's Office. The Instructions should be followed by the landlord to complete the undertaking and the lessee, if served, may be able to represent themselves by viewing Their Tenant Rights.

NonPayment Laws - 10 days § 42-3

NonCompliance Laws - Immediate § 42-26

Month to Month Laws - 7 days § 42-14

Summary Ejectment Laws - Chapter 42, Article 3

Types of Notice



North Carolina 10 Day Notice to Pay or Quit | NonPayment

The North Carolina ten (10) day notice to pay or quit, in regards to § 42-3, is used to inform a tenant that they have ten (10) days to either pay the past due amount of rent, or vacate the rental unit. If the tenant does not take any action…

North Carolina 14 Day Lease Termination Letter | Month to Month Tenancy

The North Carolina seven (7) day notice to quit, in accordance with the laws stated in § 42-14, is used by a landlord to inform a month-to-month tenant of their intention to terminate the lease/rental agreement. No specific reason is needed to terminate a month-to-month tenancy, but the termination cannot be in…

North Carolina IMMEDIATE Notice to Comply or Quit | NonCompliance

The North Carolina notice to comply or quit, in regards to § 42A-24, can only be used to evict a tenant that has committed some form of criminal activity on the premises of the rental property. In North Carolina, this type of eviction is referred to as an “expedited eviction.” It…

Process How to Evict a Tenant

The North Carolina eviction process is comprised of four major steps. An overview of these steps can be viewed below. 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 the type of tenancy (i.e. monthly, weekly, yearly), as well as the specific reasoning behind the eviction (such as failure to pay rent, breach of the lease agreement, not moving out after the lease expires, etc.).

Step 1 – 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. If the tenant has committed some form of lease violation, they can either receive a ten (10) day notice to comply, or a an immediate notice to quit/vacate (if it’s an incurable violation or a criminal offense). The tenant must be given the full period of time stated in the notice to “cure” (i.e. fix) the issue.

Note: “Self-help” evictions are illegal in North Carolina.

Step 2 – After the notice period has expired, and the tenant has still failed to take any action to pay rent, cure the violation, or move out, the landlord can then file an eviction action in the small claims court of the county where the rental property is located. There are two types of suits that the landlord can file; one calling only for possession of the rental property (referred to in North Carolina as a “summary ejectment” case), and another that calls for possession as well as damages (financial compensation) from the tenant (otherwise referred to as an eviction lawsuit). Both types of eviction actions can be filed in small claims court (unless the amount the landlord is suing for is over $10,000).

Step 3 – The form that must be filed in court is called a “Complaint in Summary Ejectment.” The landlord must state the reason why the tenant is being evicted, as well as if they only seek possession, or if they are also suing for damages. After the complaint has been filed, the clerk will give the landlord a copy of the summons (which details the date/time of the hearing), and then send a copy of the complaint/summons to the local Sheriff. The Sheriff will serve the complaint/summons to the tenant.

Note: The filing fee ranges from county to county, and is typically anywhere from $75-100.

Step 4 – Both the landlord and tenant must appear in court on the date of the hearing. If either party fails to show up, the case may be dismissed, or a default judgement may be entered (against the tenant). 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.” The tenant will be required to move out within a certain period of time* (typically ten days). If the tenant does not vacate the property within 10 days, the landlord can request a “Writ of Possession.” The writ orders the Sheriff to evict the tenant. This typically takes place no more than five days after the Sheriff receives the writ from the court. Seven days after receiving the writ, the Sheriff will lock the rental property (from the tenant). The tenant will have no more than seven days to remove all of their possessions from the property, otherwise the landlord can take possession of it.

Note: The tenant can also file an appeal during the 10 day period. The appeals process takes place in District Court.