Small Claims – Summary Ejectment – Filing Process

 
IMPORTANT: 


    • You may file this action if the amount of money you are seeking to recover is five thousand (5,000) dollars or less and you have a written or oral lease with the Defendant.

    • Please PRINT (BLACK INK ONLY) or TYPE these forms.

    • The Defendant(s) MUST be a resident of Mecklenburg County.  The defendant is the person or persons from whom you are attempting to recover property. 
    • The Plaintiff (you) MUST provide a full name and address. You may provide a work address; however, a Post Office Address MAY NOT be used.

 

STEP 1 – COMPLETING YOUR FORMS

Please review your forms to make sure that you have the necessary documents to complete this process.

  1. Complaint in Summary Ejectment (carbonless set)
  2. Magistrate Summons (if there is one (1) defendant, you will need 5 copies; if there are two (2) defendants, you will need 6 copies)
  3. Affidavit of Service of Process by Registered or Certified Mail

Please Note:

    • The summons MUST have the name and address of each Defendant after the word “TO”.  Please give the home and work address, if possible. DO NOT SIGN THIS FORM. DO NOT COPY THESE FORMS.
    • You MUST provide a stamped envelope addressed to the Defendant(s). A copy of the Complaint and Summons is mailed to the Defendant(s) in addition to being served by the Deputy.
    • You MUST provide a stamped self-addressed envelope so that Notice of Hearing Date can be mailed to you.  Please note that this Notice will be a copy of the Magistrate Summons you provided. 

    • The Complaint form needs to be completely filled out.  It must be dated and signed by you, the Plaintiff. 
    • The Summons is directed to the Defendant(s) and you MUST complete the top of the form with the name and address of the Defendant(s). A phone number is helpful.  DO NOT SIGN THIS FORM.  DO NOT COPY THE FORMS (they cannot be accepted).

 

STEP 2 – FILING YOUR DOCUMENTS

The filing fee is payable by cash or money order only. Take these documents, a self-addressed and stamped envelope (so that your Notice of Hearing may be sent to you), and the filing fee to the Small Claims counter in the Civil Filing Department (832 E. Fourth St, Room 3725).

If you want the Sheriff to serve the Defendant(s) (see Service of Process information below), bring an additional $15 per defendant. The clerk will file your documents and give you a case number.  Please make note of this case number as it should be placed in the upper right hand corner of all subsequent documents in the case.

 

STEP 3 – OBTAINING DATES, FURTHER INFORMATION ETC…

A Notice of Hearing will be sent to you once it has been verified that the Defendant(s) has been served. The Notice of Hearing will contain your court date and time.  If the Sheriff is unable to serve the Defendant(s) for some reason, you will also be notified of this by mail.

 

STEP 4 – SERVICE OF PROCESS

North Carolina General Statutes require that you give notice to the defendant about the filing of your claim.  This is known as “Service of Process.”  The correct way to serve the defendant is determined by law.  If the documents are not correctly served on the defendant, the court will not hear your case.
 
PLEASE READ THIS SECTION VERY CAREFULLY.
If you have concerns or are confused, consult with an attorney immediately!
 
In order for your case to be binding against the Defendant, he/she must be given notice of the case, or served in a manner that is recognized by the court.  PLEASE NOTE that service of process must be completed successfully for your case to proceed and avoid dismissal. This means that if you have the sheriff serve the documents, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to follow up and make sure service was completed.  If you serve by certified or registered mail, YOU MUST file the Affidavit of Service of Process by Registered or Certified Mail found in your packet along with the green return-receipt card you receive in the mail.  The forms needed for Service of Process and the procedures you must follow are complex and will vary.  In order to learn which steps to take next, review the following and choose the correct forms and procedures for your case:
 

  1. Service of Process by the Sheriff:

    If the Defendant lives in North Carolina and will not accept service of process, you will need to pay a $15.00 service fee per party served to the sheriff in the county where he/she resides to serve the papers.

    If Defendant lives in Mecklenburg County:

    Take the Civil Summons and Complaint to the Clerk’s Office, Room 3725, when you file for custody/visitation/support.  The summons should include the most recent address of the Defendant and any other information that will help the sheriff’s office locate him/her. These will be stamped and filed by the clerk.  The Clerk’s office may deliver the documents to the sheriff for you.  Sometimes, you must take the stamped documents (Summons and Complaint) and the fifteen dollar payment to the sheriff (700 East Fourth St. Charlotte, NC 28202). In either case, be sure to keep a copy of these documents. 
    After delivering these documents to the sheriff, he/she will keep a copy of the summons detailing how the Complaint and Summons were delivered to the Defendant.  The sheriff’s deputy will then file this information with the clerk of court. 

    In order to find out if the sheriff was successful or unsuccessful in attempting to serve the Defendant, you must check in person with the Clerk of Court (Room 3725). You may also call the Mecklenburg Sheriff’s Office at 704-336-2543 to determine if service was successful.
     
    If Defendant DOES NOT live in Mecklenburg County: 

    If the Defendant does not live in Mecklenburg County, you must mail or deliver the Summons and Complaint to the sheriff in the county where he/she is located. The Summons should include the most recent address of the Defendant and any other information that will help the sheriff’s office locate him/her. You should include a certified check or money order for the fee for service made payable to the sheriff of that county.  Contact the sheriff’s office in the county where the Defendant  is located to determine the fees and process associated with service of process.

    If you wish to send your paperwork to the sheriff’s office to be served, you should send it by certified mail return receipt requested to provide evidence that your service request was received.

    In order to find out if the sheriff was successful or unsuccessful in attempting to serve the Defendant, you must check in person with the clerk of court (Room 3725). You may also be able to contact the sheriff’s office over the phone to confirm whether or not service was successful. 
     

  2. Service of Process by Certified or Registered Mail

    Service of Process by certified or registered mail can be completed within the state and outside of the state, but within the US (please consult with an attorney if the Defendant is in the military or lives in another country) by mailing a copy of the Summons and Complaint by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the Defendant and delivered to his/her address (or the address of the location where he/she can be contacted by mail).  A postal worker can help you fill out the necessary forms registered or certified mailing.  If you choose this type of service, you must file an Affidavit of Service of Process by Certified or Registered Mail when you receive the return receipt (the “green card”).You must attach the original return receipt to your affidavit.

    The Affidavit of Service must be taken to and signed in the presence of a Notary Public. There is a Notary Public in the Sheriff’s Office on the first floor of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. 
     

  3. Service of Process by Publication:

    You Do NOT Know Where the Defendant Is: (THIS SHOULD BE YOUR LAST RESORT)

    If you do not know where the Defendant is located, you will need to serve him/her by “publication.”  If you know where the Defendant is or can find out his/her address, this process should not be used.  Publication is a complex process using the newspaper to run notice of the divorce.  You should speak to an attorney regarding this type of service. You can find a list of available attorneys and their fees at the SelfServe office (Room 3350).

 

STEP 5 – ATTENDANCE

Be sure to attend all schedule court events on time and dressed appropriately (as if you were going to a job interview). This is very important.