Tenant Eviction Rights in North Carolina

The landlord and tenant laws in North Carolina protect a renter from illegal evictions by a property owner. Property owners must follow the eviction procedure to take possession of the property. Tenants have a right to defend themselves from an illegal eviction in court and stop the eviction process.

Reasons for Eviction

North Carolina property owners must have a reason for evicting a tenant from a residential rental unit. A landlord can evict a tenant from the unit for failing to pay rent, violation of the lease agreement, damaging the property or remaining in the unit after the lease agreement expires. The property owner cannot evict a tenant for complaining to the state about the condition of the property. When filing with the courts, the landlord must state the reason for the eviction.

Prohibited Illegal Evictions

Landlords cannot lock out a tenant or turn off utilities to force a tenant out of the property. Property owners must go through the legal eviction process to gain possession of the property back from the tenant.


The first step in the eviction process is notice to the tenant or demand for unpaid rent. The property owner must provide the tenant with notice to correct the violation or pay rent before filing an eviction with the court. For non-payment of rent, the landlord must provide the tenant with a 10-day notice to pay the rent or vacate the property. When property owners evict tenants for failing to leave the property at the end of the lease agreement, the tenant has a right to a notice of 30 days or more with a yearly tenancy, seven days for a month-to-month tenancy and two days for a weekly tenancy.

Summary Ejectment

When tenants fail to vacate the property or pay unpaid rent, the next step in the eviction process is the summary ejectment filing by the landlord. Tenants have a right to state their case before the court will order an eviction. A defense to an eviction order may include proof of paid rent, proof of a retaliatory eviction or proof that a violation has not occurred.


In North Carolina, tenants have 10 days to appeal a decision by the court. An appeal allows the tenant to restate his case in court and overturn the decision. The tenant cannot be removed from the property until the 10-day period has passed to provide the renter with an opportunity to file an appeal.

Writ of Possession

A property owner must file for a writ of possession with the court after the 10-day period ends. The writ of possession allows a sheriff to remove the tenant from the property and returns the property to the landlord.