What You Need To Know About Eviction in North Dakota

Renters from Bismarck to Fargo should know the laws governing eviction in North Dakota.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
The eviction laws in
North Dakota
state that landlords are obliged to provide at least three days of written notice to tenants before filing an eviction lawsuit. In addition, it’s illegal to evict someone without proper reason.  
Eviction is the worst fear of renters everywhere. Even worse, this terrifying possibility has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertain economic times. That’s why it’s so important for tenants in North Dakota to understand their state’s eviction laws. 
That’s why
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North Dakota eviction 101: the eight ways you can be evicted

One central rule applies to every type of eviction in North Dakota: the landlord must provide a written notice to the tenant at least three days before filing an eviction suit
A tenant can be evicted if they do not uphold the obligations of their lease agreement. For instance, you could be evicted for damaging the property or having an illegal pet. Either way, landlords must deliver a three-day notice.
North Dakota evictions break down into eight causes. These include lease violations, overstaying a lease, violently possessing a rental unit, and other causes. Your landlord can threaten to evict you for a violation in one of these three basic categories:
  • Failure to pay rent: You will have three days to correct the problem or else the landlord can evict you. 
  • Violation of lease terms: You will have three days to correct any lease violations if you want to avoid eviction.
  • Unconditional quit (serious violations): In cases of serious violations like illegal subletting or creating a nuisance, you can be evicted by the landlord with three days’ notice—and with no opportunity to fix the problem. 
If this sounds scary, there’s still hope. If you have not violated any agreements, the landlord cannot legally evict you just because they don’t want you there. However, they may choose to let your lease expire and not renew your agreement once your term ends. Then, you’ll have to move out.
The amount of notice you’ll receive if your lease is not renewed depends on the current terms of your rental agreement:
  • If you’re on a month-to-month lease, your landlord is obligated to inform you at least 30 days prior that your lease will not be renewed (unless your lease specifies a different notice period).
  • If you’re on a week-to-week lease, your landlord is obligated to give you at least one week’s notice that your lease will not be renewed. 
  • If you’re on a fixed-end date term (i.e. longer than a month) lease, your landlord has no obligation to inform you that your lease will not be renewed. If you’re worried about the possibility of a surprise non-renewal, you should proactively reach out to your landlord. 
Whatever the reason behind your eviction, your landlord can file an eviction lawsuit after three days if you are unable or unwilling to fix the problem. Your case will be heard in District Court. If you do not appear, you may automatically lose. 
If you lose, you can be evicted the same day as your court hearing, assuming the three days notice period is up. You can claim hardship, in which case the judge may give you five days to move out.
Be aware that a sheriff may arrive to enforce the eviction.
Key Takeaway It’s illegal in North Dakota for a landlord to evict tenants without a three-day written notice or lawful cause.
MORE: What you need to know about North Dakota’s Housing Discrimination Act

A timeline of eviction in North Dakota

Now you know that you are entitled to three days’ notice before an eviction lawsuit can go to the courts. But how long does the whole eviction process take? Can you be evicted in North Dakota right now? 
If you’re facing possible eviction in North Dakota, here’s how long the whole
typically takes:
How long it typically takes
What to expect
Written notice of intention to evict from landlord
3-30 days
You will receive a written notice of intention to evict.
Service of the summons
3-7 days prior to the court date
You will be served a conspicuous notice at the rental unit or in person.
3-15 days after the summons is served
The court will rule on the case, based on the landlord’s information and your response. The eviction notice may be issued within a few hours or a few days.
Possibly within 24 hours after the hearing
Unless you successfully file a stay of execution, which gives you five extra days, the landlord can call a sheriff to evict you within 24 hours.
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Ultimately, an eviction can be fast or slow. The timeline depends on how quickly the landlord files the paperwork and how busy the courts are. You could have more than a month after the initial notice before a sheriff appears to enforce the eviction. However, insistent landlords could make it happen sooner. 

How to resist eviction in North Dakota

This all sounds very scary—but the North Dakota eviction laws take into account that tenants have rights, too. If you are being evicted, you can resist in several key ways:
  • Address the cause of the eviction. If there’s a fixable problem at the root of the eviction, take steps to rectify the problem. Borrow money, fix the damage, or do what you can to rectify the problem. This is the best chance you have to interrupt eviction proceedings. Note that this is not an option if the unit is being sold.
  • Point out a procedural mistake. There are some actions that landlords are not allowed to take with regard to eviction. For instance, they can’t turn off your utilities or change the locks. If they do so, you can report them to the court and your case might be dismissed. 
  • Argue that the landlord failed to maintain the property. It’s possible that the landlord is blaming a problem on you when their negligence caused the problem. For example, water damage could be caused by leaky plumbing that they refused to fix. Reporting this with good documentation could help you avoid eviction.
  • Call out discrimination, if appropriate. If your landlord is evicting you on the basis of discrimination—such as your race, gender, national origin, or disability—it’s illegal. If you can prove that the eviction is based on discrimination, you may be able to get the case dismissed. 
To sum up, the two basic options for responding to an eviction notice are to fix the problem that triggered the eviction notice or sue the landlord for illegal or incorrect behavior. The best-case scenario is that you are awarded financial compensation and get to stay in your residence.
MORE: North Dakota renters insurance

How to save money on North Dakota car and renters insurance

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