The Eviction Process in North Dakota: Rules for Landlords and Property Managers

An overview of North Dakota eviction rules, forms, and procedures.

North Dakota law sets forth specific rules and procedures that a landlord must follow when evicting a tenant. If the landlord does not carefully follow these rules and procedures, the eviction may not be valid. This article will explain the basic rules and procedures that landlords and property managers must follow when evicting a tenant in North Dakota.

Notice for Termination With Cause

A landlord who wants to evict a tenant,in North Dakota must have legal cause, or, in other words, a legal reason for the eviction. North Dakota law only allows the landlord to evict the tenant for certain reasons, such as failure to pay rent or violation of the lease or rental agreement. If the landlord has legal cause to evict the tenant, then the landlord must terminate the tenant’s lease or rental agreement before proceeding with an eviction. The landlord does this by giving the tenant written notice to quit.

Under North Dakota law, there are two main types of legal cause—failure to pay rent and violation of the lease or rental agreement. If the landlord decides to evict the tenant for one of these reasons, then the landlord must give the tenant a written three-day notice to quit. In the case of failure to pay rent, the landlord must wait for three days after rent is due before giving the tenant the three-day notice. If the tenant has violated the lease or rental agreement, the landlord can give the tenant notice immediately. In either case, the notice must inform the tenant that the landlord is terminating the tenancy and the tenant must move out of the rental unit by the end of three days. If the tenant does not move out in time, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. The landlord can proceed with the eviction even if the tenant pays rent or fixes the lease violation (see N.D. Cent. Code § § 47-32-01 and 47-32-02).

Eviction Notices for Nonpayment of Rent in North Dakota has more information on how to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent.

Notice for Termination Without Cause

A landlord who wants a tenant to move out of the rental unit but does not have legal cause to evict the tenant, must wait until the tenancy comes to an end before expecting the tenant to move. In some cases, the landlord will still need to give the tenant written notice to move.

Month-to-Month Tenancy

A landlord who wants to end a month-to-month tenancy but does not have legal cause, can give the tenant a written one-month notice to move. This notice must inform the tenant that the landlord is terminating the month-to-month tenancy and the tenant has one month to move out of the rental unit (see N.D. Cent. Code § 47-16-15).Eviction Notices for Nonpayment of Rent in North Dakota has more information.

If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit, then the landlord can treat the tenant as a holdover tenant (that is, a tenant who remains living in the rental unit even after the tenancy has ended) and give the tenant a three-day notice to quit. The landlord should not accept any further rent payments from the tenant. If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit by the end of the three-day notice period, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see N.D. Cent. Code § § 47-32-01 and 47-32-02).

Fixed-Term Lease

If the landlord wants a tenant with a fixed-term lease (that is, a lease with a definite end date) to move but does not have legal cause to evict the tenant, then the landlord must wait until the lease ends before expecting the tenant to move. The landlord does not need to give the tenant written notice to move unless the terms of the lease specifically require the landlord to do so.

If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit by the end of the lease term, then the landlord can treat the tenant as a holdover tenant. The landlord should stop accepting rent from the tenant and give the tenant a three-day notice to quit. If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit by the end of the three days, then the landlord can proceed with an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see N.D. Cent. Code § § 47-32-01 and 47-32-02).

Tenant Defenses to Eviction

Even when a landlord has legal cause to evict a tenant, the tenant can still decide to fight the eviction. The tenant could have a valid legal defense against the eviction, such as the landlord discriminating or retaliating against the tenant. The tenant’s decision to fight the eviction could increase the cost of the eviction lawsuit for both the landlord and the tenant or allow the tenant more time to remain living in the rental unit. Tenant Defenses to Evictions in North Dakota has more information on this subject.

Removal of the Tenant

A landlord can only remove a tenant from a rental unit by winning an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. Even then, the landlord will not actually be the one who evicts the tenant; that can only be done by a law enforcement officer with a court order. It is illegal for the landlord to do anything that forces the tenant to move out of the rental unit, and the tenant can sue the landlord for trying. Illegal Eviction Procedures in North Dakota has more information on this topic.

After the tenant has been evicted, the landlord might find personal property left behind at the rental unit. If the property is worth less than $2,500, then the landlord must store the property for at least 28 days after the date of the eviction. If the tenant tries to claim the property during this time, the landlord does not have to release the property to the tenant until the tenant has paid all the moving and storage fees the landlord has incurred because of the personal property. The landlord could also pay for those moving and storage fees by deducting the cost from the tenant’s security deposit. If the tenant does not claim the property during the 28 days, then the landlord can dispose of the property through sale or otherwise. If the personal property left behind is worth more than $2,500, then the landlord will have to get a court order allowing the landlord to dispose of the property (see N.D. Cent. Code § 47-16-30.1).

Rationale for the Rules

Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by North Dakota law when evicting a tenant; otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. Although these rules and procedures may seem burdensome to the landlord, they are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, and the end result is serious: the tenant has lost a place to live. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new home.

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