North Dakota Eviction Process for Landlords
In North Dakota, a landlord must obtain a court order to evict an occupant, and there must be a legal justification for the eviction. North Dakota eviction proceedings can take between two and four weeks, depending on the reason for the eviction and the availability of dates for the eviction hearing.
This article is not legal advice and is intended for informational purposes only. A landlord’s ability to evict an occupant can be dependent upon many factors, including the specific language contained in the lease agreement. Contact the Fremstad Law Firm for assistance in understanding your rights as a landlord under your lease agreement and North Dakota law.
North Dakota Eviction Notice
The eviction process generally starts when a landlord serves a notice of intent to evict on an occupant. The reasons for the eviction can include, but are not limited to:
- Nonpayment of rent. Once rent is past due, the landlord must serve notice and give the occupant the option to avoid eviction by paying rent.
- Violating terms of the lease or rental agreement. If a occupant violates a material term of the lease or rental agreement, the landlord can serve the eviction notice without giving the occupant the opportunity to correct the issue before moving forward with the eviction process. However, depending upon the severity of the lease violation, it is a good practice to send a letter notifying the occupant of the lease violation prior to serving an eviction notice.
- End of the lease term. If the term of the lease comes to an end and the occupant has been provided with the notice of termination required under the terms of the lease, or there was no lease agreement in place and the occupant has been provided with 30 days’ notice and has failed to vacate the premises, the landlord can post a notice of eviction without any additional reason to end the tenancy. An eviction under these circumstances is dependent upon the lease provisions that govern termination of the tenancy.
- Sale of the rental unit. If the rental unit is sold, the landlord can give the occupant a notice of eviction after providing the occupant with written notice of termination of the tenancy in accordance with the terms of the lease agreement. It is prudent to communicate with the occupant about the planned sale of the property and to provide reasonable notice of the termination of the tenancy prior to resorting to the eviction process, if possible.
Once the notice of intent to evict has been served, a different process applies depending on the reason for the eviction.
Different Processes Based on the Reason for Eviction
Nonpayment of Rent
If the occupant does not pay rent on time, the landlord can institute eviction proceedings. According to North Dakota law, rent is late if it is not received within three days after the due date. A notice of eviction cannot be served until the occupant’s rent is at least three days past due.
Once the rent is past due, the landlord must provide the occupant with a 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit. This notice gives the occupant three days to pay the past due amount, in full, in order to avoid eviction.
If the occupant does not pay the rent within this three-day period and remains on the property, the landlord can proceed with the eviction process.
Violation of Lease Terms
If the occupant does not uphold their responsibilities under the lease agreement, the occupant can be evicted. In this circumstance, the landlord is not generally required to give the occupant an opportunity to correct a lease violation. But the landlord must provide a 3-Day Notice to Quit, which gives the occupant three days to move out of the rental property.
Lease violations in this category are dependent upon the specific language contained in the lease agreement, but may include causing damage to the rental property, too many people residing in the rental unit, unauthorized residents residing in the unit, having a pet when there is a no-pet policy, disturbing the peace and quiet of neighboring occupants, or engaging in illegal activity. If the occupant remains on the property after the 3-Day Notice to Quit, the landlord can move forward with the eviction.
End of the Lease Term
If the occupant stays in the rental unit after the term of the lease has ended, the landlord is still required to give notice before starting the eviction process.
If the occupant is in a month-to-month lease, the landlord must provide a 30-Day Notice to Quit. For all other tenancies, the landlord must give the occupant at least as much notice as the rent payment period or 30 days’ notice, or the number of days specified in the lease agreement.
It is important to pay special attention to the language appearing in the lease agreement relating to the agreed upon length of notice required for lease termination. Landlords should keep copies of any written termination notices they send to occupants, as they may be necessary for the eviction hearing.
If the occupant remains on the property after the notice period has expired, and after 3 days have elapsed following service of a 3 Day Notice of Intent to Evict, the landlord can proceed with the eviction process.
Sale of Rental Unit
If the landlord sells the rental unit and the tenancy will not continue under the new owner, the landlord must provide three-days’ notice prior to starting an eviction. The occupant does not have the option to correct any issues in order to remain in the property.
However, it is a good practice to remain in contact with the occupant and provide as much notice as possible regarding the sale of the property. If at all possible, a landlord who desires to sell the property should first attempt termination of the tenancy in accordance with the lease provisions ahead of preparing the property for sale.
Serving and Filing the Complaint for North Dakota Eviction
After the notice period has expired the landlord must file a complaint in the District Court and have it served on the occupant, along with a Summons and Notice of Hearing specifying the date, time, and location the eviction case will be heard by the Court. Service can be completed by a sheriff or anyone else over the age of 18 who is not part of the case and must be made by delivering a copy of the complaint to the occupant at least seven days prior to the hearing.
If the occupant cannot be found, the person attempting service must prove that at least one attempt was made to serve the occupant during the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Then the landlord can file an affidavit and send a copy of the summons and complaint to the occupant’s last known address. Finally, the sheriff must post the summons on the door of the residential unit. Service must be completed at least seven days before the eviction hearing.
North Dakota Eviction Court Hearing and Judgment
The court will schedule a hearing between three and fifteen days after the summons was issued. If the occupant fails to appear at the hearing, the court can issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord, which means the occupant must move out.
At the hearing, the landlord will need to present evidence supporting the justification for the eviction. Such evidence may include witness testimony, ledgers supporting the past due balance owed by the occupant, photographs, or other evidence depending upon the reason for the eviction. If awarded the eviction, the landlord will select a date by which the occupant will vacate the property with approval of the Court. A occupant can request a five-day stay of execution if moving out immediately would cause undue hardship for the occupant or members of their family.
Writ of Execution
The writ of execution is the occupant’s final notice to leave the rental unit. However, it will not be enforced until after the move-out date on the order of eviction.
Return of Possession to the Landlord
The court will issue an eviction date and the occupant must move out of the rental unit by that date. If the occupant has not moved out, the landlord can apply to the Court for a special execution. A special execution allows a sheriff to appear at the property to forcibly remove the occupant.
Fremstad Law: Helping Landlords Through the North Dakota Eviction Process
If you need assistance with an eviction, Fremstad Law can help. Our lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in eviction proceedings and would be pleased to help move you forward. Learn more about our team at Fremstad Law, then contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.