Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass and the Civil Division of
his Office are pleased to provide this document to you as a public service.
Certainly, the law applicable to Landlord/Tenant relations is complex and
detailed. This document is an attempt to provide the Landlord with the
procedures whereby an eviction process may be instituted and to provide the
Tenant with knowledge of how this process works. Our goal is to insure a
smooth and legal procedure where parties are aware of the duties of this
Office in the enforcement of the law. Neither the Sheriff, nor the Clerk of
Court, nor the Magistrates may give you legal advice on this or any other
legal matter. The law prohibits anyone from practicing law without a license.
If you have legal questions, please contact an attorney.
STEP 1: Demand the tenant move out, either in person or in
writing. If after ten (10) days they fail or refuse to move out, go to Clerk
of Court’s Office at
106 Margaret Lane Hillsborough and ask Clerk for the forms for evictions, which are called
SUMMONS FOR SUMMARY EJECTMENTS. You will need to complete the forms and
all copies there. There is a fee
for the court costs as well as a service fee (per defendant) that can be paid
then or later at the Sheriff’s Office when delivering the copies to be
served. The summons must be
delivered to the Sheriff’s Office either by the Clerk or by you.
STEP 2: Once delivered to the Sheriff’s Office, the summons
will be processed and given to a Deputy to be served.
The Court date must be set not more than (10) days from
the issuance of the summons, (if a
case it will be set on a Monday, or if a Hillsborough case on a Tuesday). The
Deputy must mail a copy of the summons to each defendant with an envelope
addressed, stamped and provided by the Plaintiff (you).
The Deputy will serve the summons one of three ways:
BY PERSONALLY DELIVERING THE SUMMONS TO THE DEFENDANT(S);
(2) BY LEAVING A COPY WITH SOMEONE WHO RESIDES AT THE RESIDENCE WHO IS AT LEAST 15 YEARS OF AGE;
BY POSTING A COPY OF THE SUMMONS ON THE DOOR OF THE RESIDENCE (AFTER MAKING AT LEAST ONE
ATTEMPT TO SERVE BY THE FIRST TWO METHODS).
If method 3 is used the landlord may not be able to
recover money owed to them. The summons must be served
and returned to the Clerk’s Office prior to the court date.
STEP 3: On the date of the court hearing you must be present.
The defendant does not have to
attend. The magistrate will hear both sides (if both are present) and make a
ruling. Should the defendant fail to appear, you may win by default.
NOTE: The case can be dismissed because:
(1) The defendant has paid;
(2) The landlord does not prove their case; or
(3) The landlord does not show up for the hearing.
STEP 4: IF THE
PROPERTY IS AWARDED TO THE LANDLORD, THERE WILL BE A TEN (10) DAY WAITING
PERIOD IN CASE THE DEFENDANT WISHES TO APPEAL. The appeal is made to the Clerk
of Court in the form of a bond which is the amount of the rent owed, which
remains with the Clerk until appeal is resolved. If an appeal is made, then
the process moves to Civil District Court. IF NO APPEAL IS MADE OR IS DENIED
BY THE JUDGE THEN GO TO STEP 5.
5: After the ten (10) days have passed without an appeal, then you
return to the Clerk’s Office to take out the
WRIT OF POSSESSION FOR REAL PROPERTY, a fee will be paid to
the Clerk of Court. There will also be another Sheriff’s service fee. The
WRIT will be sent to the Sheriff’s Office as soon as possible (by you or via
courier mail). Upon receipt of the WRIT, the Deputy will prepare a notice to
the landlord and the defendant(s) that advises them of the date and time of
the EVICTION. The Deputy will mail a copy to both within 24 hours of receipt
of the writ. THE SHERIFF MUST CARRY OUT THE WRIT WITHIN SEVEN (7) DAYS OF
RECEIPT. THE DEFENDANT MUST BE MAILED NOTICE AT LEAST (5) DAYS PRIOR TO THE
The notice must also be posted
or hand delivered to the defendant by the Deputy.
The landlord will also receive a form
that must be filled out and returned
to the Deputy at the time of the eviction. ON THE DATE OF THE EVICTION,
THE LANDLORD, IF STILL PROCEEDING WITH THE EVICTION, MUST COME PREPARED TO
CHANGE THE LOCKS OF THE RESIDENCE. IF INVOLVING MOBILE HOMES WHERE THE
LANDLORD OWNS THE LOT AND NOT THE MOBILE HOME, THE LOT ITSELF WILL BE POSTED
SO AS TO CONSTRUCTIVELY PREVENT THE TENANT FROM ENTERING THE
IN THE EVENT THE LANDLORD OR
THEIR AGENT FAILS TO SHOW UP AT THE TIME OF THE EVICTION THE WRIT WILL BE
RETURNED UNSERVED. IF YOU WISH TO CANCEL THE EVICTION FOR ANY REASON YOU MUST
DELIVER TO THE SHERIFF WRITTEN NOTICE PRIOR TO THE MOVE OUT EITHER IN PERSON OR
BY FAX (DO NOT MAIL THIS NOTICE.)
SHERIFF ’S OFFICE
144 EAST MARGARET LANE
STEP 6: IF THE DEFENDANT HAS NOT ALREADY VACATED THE PREMISES
PRIOR TO THE EVICTION DATE, THE DEPUTY WILL MAKE DEMAND THAT THEY VACATE THE
PREMISES. SHOULD THE DEFENADANT FAIL OR REFUSE TO VACATE AS DIRECTED BY THE
WRIT AND THE LANDLORD WANTS THEM
PROSECUTED FOR TRESPASSING, THE LANDLORD
WILL BE REQUIRED TO GO TO THE MAGISTRATES OFFICE AND OBTAIN A WARRANT FOR
ARREST FOR THE CHARGE OF TRESPASSING. IT IS THE RESPOSIBILITY OF THE
TO APPEAR IN COURT AND TESTIFY AS TO THIS CHARGE. ONCE THE DEFENDANT HAS
BEEN EVICTED ANY PROPERTY THAT REMAINS IN\ON THE PREMISES MAY BE DEALT WITH BY
ONE OF THREE METHODS.
The Landlord may wish to leave any property remaining in the residence for ten (10)
days after the Eviction. The defendant must be granted reasonable access
to the property during this time for the retrieval of personal property.
After the ten (10) days have expired and if property should
remain in the residence unclaimed, the landlord can :