What You Need To Know About Eviction in North Carolina

Knowing the eviction laws for North Carolina is essential for all renters in the Old North State.
Written by Shannon Martin
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
The eviction laws in
North Carolina
lean heavily in the landlord's favor. Since the rules allow for a verbal rent demand, tenants should keep records of all rent payments and any request made by the landlord. Knowing your rights as a tenant is the best way to protect yourself from a wrongful eviction and keep you in your home! 
Life among The Smokey Mountains in North Carolina has always been slower-paced and more affordable than most other parts of the country. But unfortunately, once the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic hit, job loss and the rapid rise of rent had tenants floundering. 
The national eviction moratorium helped struggling tenants stay in their homes until June 29, 2021. Now that the moratorium is over and evictions have started, many tenants face the surprisingly fast-paced North Carolina eviction process
It can be hard to know what to do at times like this. Jerry, the
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North Carolina eviction 101: the four ways you can be evicted

Before we review legal evictions, here are some illegal evictions landlords attempt but are not allowed:
  • Self-help evictions: Landlords can’t perform actions to push tenants out, such as shutting off utilities or changing the locks.
  • Retaliatory evictions: Landlords cannot evict someone as revenge for reporting their misconduct to a government agency.
Evictions in North Carolina are called summary ejectments and the process is a little different from in other states. Here are the four legal ways landlords can evict tenants in North Carolina:
  • Non-payment: Rent is considered late one day after the due date. Landlords must wait 10 days before they can start the eviction process.
  • Lease violation: If a tenant violates an agreement in the lease—having more than the maximum allowed occupants living in the rental, for example—the landlord can ask the tenant to fix (cure) the issue, but they are not legally obligated to do so. They can just start the eviction process.
  • Criminal activity: Eviction proceedings can start for any serious criminal activity, such as drug trafficking.
  • Lease non-renewal: If the landlord wants possession of the unit and the tenant didn't sign a new lease, they can be evicted. The tenant will receive a notice to quit; the time frame will depend on their type of tenancy.
North Carolina landlords do not always need to give a warning notice to tenants to start the process. For missed rent payment evictions, a rent demand notice is required, but it can be written or verbal. Only non-renewals require written notice.
Notice and Time Frame
10-day notice to pay—written or verbal
Lease violation
No notice required
Criminal activity
No notice required
Non-renewal week to week lease
2-day notice to quit (move out)
Non-renewal month to month lease
7-day notice to quit (move out)
Non-renewal year to year lease
30-day notice to quit (move out)
Non-renewal for owned mobile home on a rented lot
30-day notice to quit (move out)
If time is up and the tenant is still there, the landlord can file a complaint in summary ejectment. However, the landlord can’t deliver the summary ejectment order themselves. It needs to be handed to the tenant, mailed, left with someone at the residence, or posted outside of the unit's entrance.
Key Takeaway There are four types of evictions in North Carolina. The tenant only needs to be warned about an eviction if it is for non-payment or lease non-renewal. 

A timeline of eviction in North Carolina

Has your landlord dropped by and told you that you have 10 days to pay rent or get out? Were you surprised with a knock on the door and then were served eviction papers? If so, you’re probably wondering what to do and how long you really have before being forced to leave. Here is an idea of the eviction timeline for North Carolina:
How long it typically takes
What to expect
Written notice from landlord
2-30 days if required
Depending on the reason for eviction, you may have a written or verbal notice, or you might not get one at all.
Summons and complaint
5 days after the complaint is filed
Called a summary ejectment, this notice will tell you when, where, and what time to be at small claims or district court.
Tenant response
Within 20 days for district court
If you are going to small claims court, tenant response is not an option.
7-30 days
It would be best if you went to court. If a tenant doesn't go to the hearing, the judge may automatically side with the landlord. The judge may grant an extension of more than five days, but both sides need to agree, which might not happen. Be ready with any evidence or explanation by the assigned court date.
15 days
It takes 10 days to issue a Writ of Possession, and tenants have five days to leave once the sheriff posts it. After that date, the sheriff will forcibly remove them. Landlords will keep any remaining personal property available for the tenants for five to seven days; after that, it becomes the landlord's property.
15 days
After the hearing, a tenant has 15 days to make an appeal to the district court before the eviction date. They must complete a notice of appeal and continue to pay rent while they go through this process.
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Depending on the type of eviction, the process can last anywhere from one to three months, which isn't that much time. 

How to resist eviction in North Carolina

As you can see, landlords in North Carolina have a lot of discretion regarding evictions. Since they do not have to give second chances for rent payments or violation corrections, getting out of an eviction will be challenging. Here are some tips that might help:
  • Stay on their good side: Since landlords hold most of the power in this situation, try to avoid any issues in the first place. One way is by informing them as early as possible if you know you will be late on rent. They will be more willing to work with you if you aren't a problem tenant.
  • Study your lease: Read your lease and be aware of any grace periods. Are they required per the lease agreement to give you written notice for non-payment? If they missed any steps, bringing this up in court could keep you in your home or at least buy you more time.
  • Call out discrimination: Discrimination in the housing market is illegal in all 50 states. If you feel that your race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion has played a part in your eviction, speak up in court.
If you know you can't win in court or pay the back rent, it is in your best interest to move right away. Leaving before anything is filed officially with the court can stop evictions from showing up on your rental history. For more help, look at
this booklet
Legal Aid of North Carolina

How to save money on North Carolina car and renters insurance

About 36% of North Carolinians are renters and with how quickly rent prices are climbing, they are spending most of their hard-earned money on rent. We know there is no quick fix to this issue, but
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