REMOVAL OF SQUATTERS FROM PRIVATE PROPERTY.

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View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
House Bill 984 (Public) Filed Thursday, May 2, 2024
AN ACT TO CREATE AN ALTERNATIVE REMEDY FOR THE EXPEDITED REMOVAL OF UNAUTHORIZED PERSONS FROM PRIVATE PROPERTY BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY.
Intro. by Bradford, Gillespie, Shepard, Iler.

Status: Re-ref Com On Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House (House action) (Jun 6 2024)
H 984

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: May 2 2024 - View Summary

    Enacts new Article 8, concerning the expedited removal of unauthorized persons from residential property in GS Chapter 42. Adds new GS 42-79, allowing a property owner or authorized agent to request from the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over where the residential property is located the removal of a person or persons unlawfully occupying that property if all of the following are met: (1) the requesting party is the property owner or the authorized agent of the property owner, (2) the property that is being occupied is a residential dwelling or property used in connection with a residential dwelling or is real property appurtenant to a residential dwelling, (3) an unauthorized person or persons have unlawfully entered and remain on or continue to reside in the private property, (4) the private property was not offered or intended as an accommodation for the general public at the time the unauthorized person entered, (5) the property owner or the authorized agent of the property owner has directed the unauthorized person or persons to leave the personal property, (6) the unauthorized person or persons are not tenants as defined in GS 42-59, (7) there is no pending litigation between the property owner and the unauthorized person or persons related to the residential property, and (8) no other valid rental agreement has been entered into or formed by the property owner and the unauthorized person or persons allowing them to occupy the private property. Defines unauthorized person as a person occupying private property who has no legal claim to the property and is not entitled to occupy it under a valid rental agreement signed by the property owner or their authorized agent and who is not otherwise authorized to occupy the property. It does not mean a tenant who holds over after the lease term has expired under GS 42-26.

    Provides for an effective removal complaint form under GS 42-80, which must be filed with the municipal police department, or with the county sheriff's office or county police department if the property is not located within a municipality that is subject to the territorial jurisdiction of a county law enforcement agency. Requires the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), in consultation with the NC Sheriffs’ Association and the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, to develop the complaint form. 

    Specifies a process for verification of a complaint and removal of unauthorized persons by the law enforcement agency in new GS 42-81, as follows.  Requires the agency to verify that the complainant is the property owner of record or authorized agent and appears entitled to relief. Gives the law enforcement agency 48 hours to remove the unauthorized person or persons from the private property. Gives the law enforcement agency the power to arrest persons for trespass, outstanding warrants, or other legal cause. Allows the law enforcement agency to charge a fee $25/hour for standing by upon the owner's request while the owner changes locks and removes the authorized person's property. Indemnifies the law enforcement agency and property owner or their authorized agent from liability to any unauthorized person or other party for loss, destruction, or damage of personal property.

    Provides for a remedy for wrongful removal including possession of the property and recovery of actual costs and damages incurred, statutory damages equal to triple the fair market rent of the residence, court costs, and reasonable attorneys' fees under new GS 42-82. Specifies that new Article 8 doesn’t limit the rights of a property owner or limit the authority of a law enforcement officer to arrest an unauthorized person or persons for trespassing, vandalism, theft, or other crimes.

    Effective October 1, 2024.