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Grounds for eviction in North Carolina

The hope of every rental property owner in Raleigh is that his or her relationship with tenants remains amicable. However, if one does happen to sour, the question then becomes when is a landlord within his or her rights to evict? One cannot simply evict a tenant over matters such as personality conflicts; rather, he or she must have legitimate grounds. Those guidelines are established by state law. 

According to the website ManageMyProperty.com, there are three basic grounds for eviction in North Carolina: 

  • A failure by the tenant to pay rent
  • The tenant violating his or her lease agreement
  • The tenant engaging in drug trafficking or other criminal activity

"Hold-over" scenarios (where a tenant stays longer than the term his or her lease agreement allows) constitute lease violations. 

In each case, proof must be provided to substantiate the grounds. Yet even in cases where an eviction may be justified, a landlord cannot simply demand that a tenant leave the same day. In cases where the eviction is due to unpaid rent, the landlord must serve an eviction notice allowing the tenant 10 days to either vacate the premises or pay any rent arrears. The same amount of time must be given for a tenant to comply with his or her lease agreement (should he or she have committed a violation) or leave the property. The only exception to this is in hold-over cases, which require a 7-day notice period if the tenant paid monthly, or 30 days if he or she paid annually. 

Should a landlord attempt to evict a tenant in any way other than through legal proceedings (e.g., changing the locks, stopping the utilities), North Carolina law allows the tenant to remain on the property and allows the tenant to sue the landlord for attempting a "self-help eviction." However, once proper eviction proceedings have been initiated, the tenant must comply with them. 

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