How to stop an Eviction?

Submitted by Shawn Orcutt on Thu, 08/20/2020 - 2:58pm

How to stop an Eviction?

Some other terms Eviction are Summary Ejection or Summary Ejectment.

How and why

How can this happen?  Usually, it is because of nonpayment of rent.  There are other reasons like criminal activity, damaging the property, disturbing neighbors, having a pet that is not allowed, or having other people live there that aren’t allowed.  The Lease is a contract and missing payments count as a breach.  Under Contract Law,  this allows the Lessor (e.g. landlord) to seek relief from a Judge.  The most common request would be getting the Lessee (e.g. you, the tenant) out of the property and also monetary damages, such as whatever is still owed for the monthly payments left in the lease.

Timeline from beginning to end

North Carolina law does not give many ways to fight the lawsuit and keep living there.  For a tenant to withhold rent the property might need to be uninhabitable, such as a giant hole in the roof and snow coming in.  Also, please remember that the timeline between when the monthly payment was due and an eviction action completing is not long enough.  First, there is a, “10 day demand for rent” or a, “10 day notice to quit.”  This doesn’t start 30 days after it is due.  If rent is due on the 1st then the letter and the clock could start on the 2nd.  You have 10 days to remedy (pay in full, not partial payment) or move out.  If this doesn’t happen then the landlord can file the Eviction complaint with the Court.  The Court serves you the Summons and you may have 2 to 7 days before the Hearing.  After the Hearing is a 10 day window to appeal.  (Even with an appeal you still have to pay rent in the meantime.)  If you don’t appeal a loss then you have 10 days to move out after the appeal window.

Timeline summary

In summary, after missing a payment, next  you get a letter for a 10 day demand for rent or notice to quit.  Then once you get served the Hearing can be between 2 to 7 days later.  There is then a 10 day appeal window and lastly a 10 day window to move out.  In total that could be just over a month between missing a payment and having an escort out by the sheriff and the locks changed by the landlord.  Many renters are over a month behind but that is just the landlord hoping you will catch up the rent.  They could start the proceedings anytime and being at their mercy is not a safe feeling.

Possible solutions

If this happens to you and you need more options then that is where Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Federal Bankruptcy Laws can come in.  The filing of a Bankruptcy Petition can pause or reset most collection actions.  Jurisdiction then goes to the Bankruptcy Court, meaning the landlord needs to file a motion with that court and win before they can proceed back to a State Court for the eviction.  Doing these steps in the bankruptcy court is arguably more difficult, expensive, and time consuming.  They need to possibly find another attorney to file the motion for relief from stay, wait the weeks for a response and then the Hearing.  What might this mean for you?  Time.  More time for a planned and graceful relocation to your new home.  Maybe it is also more time to get together another security deposit, arrange movers/help, or catch up the rent and work out a deal with the landlord.

Catching it up

The best is saved for last.  With a Chapter 13 filing you may have a chance to catch-up your missed payment(s) over a period of months.  For example, let’s say someone had rent of $1000 and was 2 months behind.  Upon filing of the case they resume the normal payment directly to the landlord, but the $2000 might get divided up and spread out over 6+ months.  Then at the end of the catch-up you are current.

Reference

North Carolina General Statutes

https://www.ncleg.gov/Laws/GeneralStatuteSections/Chapter42

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