Bill Summary for H 966 (2023-2024) (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Jun 12 2024

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
House Bill 966 (Public) Filed Wednesday, May 1, 2024
Intro. by Tyson, Howard, K. Hall, Biggs.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes.

Part I

Adds new definitions section (GS 42-79) to new Article 8 of Chapter 42. Defines authorized representative, real estate broker, resident, residential property, tenant, and unauthorized person.

Amends conditions for removal of an unauthorized person illegally occupying a residential property through an expedited proceeding by no longer specifying that the property being occupied must include a residential dwelling. Makes additional technical and clarifying changes.

Deletes the contents of proposed GS 24-80, which pertained to contents of the expedited removal complaint form; proposed GS 42-81, which pertained to verification of the complaint by the sheriff and removal of the unauthorized person; and proposed GS 42-82, which pertained to remedies for wrongful removal. Instead, enacts the following new provisions.

Enacts new GS 42-81 requiring the property owner or their authorized representative, before commencing an expedited removal proceeding, to give the unauthorized person at least four hours notice to leave the premises. Allows written notice to be given by posting the notice on the property’s front door when reasonable efforts to personally give oral or written notice have failed. Provides that an expedited removal proceeding commences with the filing of a complaint and the issuance of summons in the county where the property is located. Allows the complaint to be filed with and the summons issued by a magistrate when the office of the clerk of superior court is closed. Requires that the complainant give the summons and the complaint to the sheriff. Requires the sheriff to serve the summons and complaint for expedited removal on the unauthorized person personally or by posting a copy of the summons and complaint on the front door of the property and requires it to be done within 24 hours of the sheriff receiving the summons and complaint. Requires a hearing on the expedited removal be held before a magistrate in the county where the property is located not sooner than 12 hours after service upon the unauthorized person and no later than 48 hours after service. Specifies that the complainant will not be required to pay a filing fee or other costs. Requires that the complaint allege and for the property owner or their representative to prove the following at the hearing: (1) the complainant is the property owner or their authorized representative; (2) an unauthorized person has unlawfully entered and is remaining or residing unlawfully on the property; (3) the unauthorized person has been directed by the property owner or their authorized representative to leave the property, but they remain on the property; (4) the unauthorized person is not a current tenant under any valid lease authorized by the property owner; (5) the unauthorized person sought to be removed is not an owner or co-owner of the property and has not been listed on the valid record title to the property; and (6) there is no litigation related to the property pending between the property owner and any unauthorized person sought to be removed. Specifies that the rules of evidence do not apply in an expedited removal proceeding. Makes the provisions of GS 7A-218 (answer of defendant), GS 7A-219 (prohibition of certain counterclaims, cross claims, or third‑party claims), and GS 7A-220 (providing that there are no required pleadings in assigned small claim actions other than the complaint) applicable to an expedited removal proceeding held before the magistrate except provisions related to the amount in controversy. Requires when the court finds for the property owner or their authorized representative that the court immediately enter a written order granting the property owner or authorized representative possession and stating the time when the unauthorized person must vacate the property, which must not be less than 2 hours or more than 8 hours after service of the order. Requires that the order be served on the unauthorized person at the hearing. Sets out the procedure that applies when the unauthorized person does not appear at the hearing or leaves before the order is served. Also requires the court to determine the amount of the appeal bond that the unauthorized person must post if they seek to appeal the court order; sets the minimum amount of the bond at $1,000, but allows it be set at a higher amount based on listed factors.

Allows the court order to be appealed to district court for a trial de novo. Also allows an unauthorized person to petition the district court to stay the removal order and requires posting a bond.

Provides that if the unauthorized person violates a court order by failing to remove personal property from the property within the time allowed, the owner or their authorized representative may remove the personal property to or near the property line. Specifies that failure to vacate in accordance with the court order is criminal trespass.

Provides that a property owner or their representative can remove a person pursuant to an expedited removal proceeding only when they have a good faith belief that grounds for removal exist under the provisions of GS Chapter 42; otherwise, the property owner or their representative is guilty of an unfair trade practice and a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Changes the effective date of new Article 8 of GS Chapter 42 from when the act becomes law to October 1, 2024.

Amends GS 7A-292 to give magistrates the power to accept the filing of complaints and to issue summons under new Article 8 in expedited removal proceedings when the office of the clerk of superior court is closed. Effective October 1, 2024.

Requires that the form created by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and NC Sheriffs’ Association (Association) for use in the expedited removal proceeding be available no later than September 30, 2024.

Makes conforming changes to the AOC September 30, 2024, deadline to complete the affidavit form. Removes reference to the Association in the deadline.  Makes conforming changes to the appropriation to AOC so that it is earmarked for the development of the affidavit form (was, complaint form).

Parts II and III

Makes technical change to effective dates of GS 14-127 (willful and wanton injury to real property) and GS 14-117.8 (fraudulent advertisements and transactions involving residential real property).

Part IV

Changes the effective date of changes to GS 22-2 to October 1, 2024 (was, effective when act becomes law).

Makes organizational and conforming changes to act’s parts and titles.