Civil & Criminal Litigation

The Eviction Process in North Dakota

By March 12, 2021April 2nd, 2021No Comments

Evictions are one of the most common civil lawsuits in Cass County, North Dakota.  Every week in Cass County, there can be up to a few dozen eviction hearings on the district court docket.  If you are a North Dakota landlord needing to evict a tenant, you may be wondering how the process works.

The first step is figuring out what grounds you may have for the eviction.  The most common reason for an eviction is the tenant’s failure to pay rent.  North Dakota law provides that a landlord can evict a tenant if the tenant “fails to pay rent for three days after the rent is due.”[1]  Other grounds for eviction include the tenant remaining on the property after the lease has been terminated, the tenant disturbing other tenants’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises, and the tenant violating a material term of the lease.[2]

Under North Dakota’s eviction statutes, a three-day notice of intention to evict must be served on the tenant before starting some eviction actions, including evictions for failure to pay rent.[3]  The three-day notice can be served personally on the tenant by the sheriff or process server.[4]  If the tenant cannot be found, the sheriff or process server can post the three-day notice “conspicuously upon the premises.”[5]  Although not specifically stated in the statute, the North Dakota Supreme Court has held that a tenant can avoid being evicted by paying the rent due within the three-day period after being served the notice.[6]

If the tenant does not move out or pay rent within the three-day notice period, you can file an eviction action in district court.  Upon filing the complaint, the court will issue a summons with a date and time for the eviction hearing.  The hearing must take place between three and fifteen days from the date the summons is issued.[7]  The summons can be served personally on the tenant by the sheriff or process server.  If the tenant cannot be found, and service has been attempted between 6:00 p.m and 10:00 p.m., the summons can be served by posting it to the door of the tenant’s unit and mailing it to the tenant’s last-known address.[8]

At the eviction hearing, it is common for the tenant not to appear.  If the tenant fails to appear, the court will generally enter an eviction judgment against the tenant.  If the tenant appears at the hearing and contests the eviction, the court will generally hear testimony from the landlord and tenant and then make a decision.

If the court orders the eviction, a judgment of eviction will be entered against the tenant.  The judgment may also include the past-due rent that the tenant owes and, if the lease specifically provides, the landlord’s attorney fees.  If the tenant demonstrates that being forced to move out immediately would be a substantial hardship on the tenant or the tenant’s family, the court may stay execution of the eviction judgment for up to five days.[9]  If the tenant still fails to move out after the eviction judgment is entered, the court can issue a special execution to the sheriff, which gives the sheriff authority to remove the tenant from the premises.

If you are a landlord who needs to evict a tenant, contact Ohnstad Twichell to learn more about the eviction process.

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Disclaimer: This article’s content is intended for general informational purposes only.  Readers should not rely on this article for legal advice.  Laws, regulations, and information change frequently, and the article’s content may not be current.  This law firm makes no warranties, guarantees, or representations about the content of this article.  By using this website and reading this article, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the author or Ohnstad Twichell, P.C.  Readers should consult with a licensed attorney in their state concerning their own situation with regard to the reader’s specific legal questions.

[1] N.D.C.C. § 47-32-01(4).

[2] N.D.C.C. § 47-32-01(4), (7), (8).

[3] N.D.C.C. § 47-32-02.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Nelson v. Johnson, 2010 ND 23, ¶ 15, 778 N.W.2d 773.

[7] N.D.C.C. § 47-32-02.

[8] Id.

[9] N.D.C.C. § 47-32-04.

 

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