What’s the deal with evictions in North Dakota?
There’s always a chance, as a landlord or property manager, that a relationship with a tenant could turn sour. Many times, there may be things you can do to improve the relationship or solve the problem, but sometimes an eviction is unavoidable. Knowing how to proceed when this is the case, as well as your rights and responsibilities when it comes to eviction cases can keep the conflict from unnecessary escalation.
For a group of Williston residents who argue that rent hikes are forcing those on fixed incomes to miss rent payments, evictions have crossed into “unnecessary escalation” territory recently. There are specific rules in North Dakota related to how much notice a landlord has to provide about increased rent and other issues connected to evictions, so read on to understand your role.
What are some reasons I can evict a tenant?
- Nonpayment of rent
- When a tenant has refused to leave after a Notice to Vacate
- Tenant acting in a manner that disturbs other tenants
- Violations of material lease terms
Are there situations in which I cannot evict a tenant?
There are situations in which you may seek an eviction but the case will be dismissed for the following reasons:
- If the tenant has made necessary repairs to the property and deducted the expense from the rent
- If the rent has been increased without prior notice to the tenant
What is the process normally like?
Read through this section to ensure that you are following the right processes for evicting a tenant. There are illegal eviction procedures that you are not allowed to pursue, including having the locks changed or the utilities shut off.
Although it might seem tempting to take a frustrating issue to court, this can consume both time and money on your end. If possible, try to work with the tenant first before resorting to eviction procedures. If you still decide to pursue an eviction case, it will follow these steps:
- Serve the tenant with a Notice of Intention to Evict with order to vacate premises in three days. This document does not require the tenant to leave, but gives them three days to respond to the intent.
- Serve a Summons and Complaint on the tenant when the initial three days is up. This serves as the official notice regarding the date during which the tenant must appear in court.
- Attend the hearing, where both parties will have the chance to present their case. If the judge determines that the tenant has no legal grounds for refusing to leave the premises, they can then order the tenant to vacate.
- If the judge decides in favor of the property owner, the tenant’s property should be placed in storage. The tenant has to pay the moving and storage costs as well as the sheriff’s fee. Only the sheriff and their staff can actually remove tenant belongings.
Where can I learn more?
If you have any questions, or think you may want to start the eviction process with a tenant in North Dakota, please consult a lawyer.
- NOLO Guide to Illegal Eviction Procedures in North Dakota
- NOLO Guide to Termination of Lease for Nonpayment of Rent
- Legal Services of North Dakota
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