42-25.9. Remedies.

(a) If any lessor, landlord, or agent removes or attempts to remove a tenant from a dwelling unit in any manner contrary to this Article, the tenant shall be entitled to recover possession or to terminate his lease and the lessor, landlord or agent shall be liable to the tenant for damages caused by the tenant's removal or attempted removal. Damages in any action brought by a tenant under this Article shall be limited to actual damages as in an action for trespass or conversion and shall not include punitive damages, treble damages or damages for emotional distress.

(b) If any lessor, landlord, or agent seizes possession of or interferes with a tenant's access to a tenant's or household member's personal property in any manner not in accordance with G.S. 44A-2(e2), 42-25.9(d), 42-25.9(g), 42-25.9(h), or G.S. 42-36.2 the tenant or household member shall be entitled to recover possession of his personal property or compensation for the value of the personal property, and, in any action brought by a tenant or household member under this Article, the landlord shall be liable to the tenant or household member for actual damages, but not including punitive damages, treble damages or damages for emotional distress.

(c) The remedies created by this section are supplementary to all existing common-law and statutory rights and remedies.

(d) If any tenant abandons personal property of seven hundred fifty dollar ($750.00) value or less in the demised premises, or fails to remove such property at the time of execution of a writ of possession in an action for summary ejectment, the landlord may, as an alternative to the procedures provided in G.S. 42-25.9(g), 42-25.9(h), or 42-36.2, deliver the property into the custody of a nonprofit organization regularly providing free or at a nominal price clothing and household furnishings to people in need, upon that organization agreeing to identify and separately store the property for 30 days and to release the property to the tenant at no charge within the 30-day period. A landlord electing to use this procedure shall immediately post at the demised premises a notice containing the name and address of the property recipient, post the same notice for 30 days or more at the place where rent is received, and send the same notice by first-class mail to the tenant at the tenant's last known address. Provided, however, that the notice shall not include a description of the property.

(e) For purposes of subsection (d), personal property shall be deemed abandoned if the landlord finds evidence that clearly shows the premises has been voluntarily vacated after the paid rental period has expired and the landlord has no notice of a disability that caused the vacancy. A presumption of abandonment shall arise 10 or more days after the landlord has posted conspicuously a notice of suspected abandonment both inside and outside the premises and has received no response from the tenant.

(f) Any nonprofit organization agreeing to receive personal property under subsection (d) shall not be liable to the owner for a disposition of such property provided that the property has been separately identified and stored for release to the owner for a period of 30 days.

(g) Seven days after being placed in lawful possession by execution of a writ of possession, a landlord may dispose of personal property remaining on the premises in accordance with the provisions of this section and G.S. 42-36.2(b), except that in the case of the lease of a space for a manufactured home as defined in G.S. 143-143.9(6), G.S. 44A-2(e2) shall apply to the disposition of a manufactured home with a current value in excess of five hundred dollars ($500.00) and its contents by a landlord after being placed in lawful possession by execution of a writ of possession. During the seven-day period after being placed in lawful possession by execution of a writ of possession, a landlord may move for storage purposes, but shall not throw away, dispose of, or sell any items of personal property remaining on the premises unless otherwise provided for in this Chapter. Upon the tenant's request prior to the expiration of the seven-day period, the landlord shall release possession of the property to the tenant during regular business hours or at a time agreed upon. If the landlord elects to sell the property at public or private sale, the landlord shall give written notice to the tenant by first-class mail to the tenant's last known address at least seven days prior to the day of the sale. The seven-day notice of sale may run concurrently with the seven-day period which allows the tenant to request possession of the property. The written notice shall state the date, time, and place of the sale, and that any surplus of proceeds from the sale, after payment of unpaid rents, damages, storage fees, and sale costs, shall be disbursed to the tenant, upon request, within seven days after the sale, and will thereafter be delivered to the government of the county in which the rental property is located. Upon the tenant's request prior to the day of sale, the landlord shall release possession of the property to the tenant during regular business hours or at a time agreed upon. The landlord may apply the proceeds of the sale to the unpaid rents, damages, storage fees, and sale costs. Any surplus from the sale shall be disbursed to the tenant, upon request, within seven days of the sale and shall thereafter be delivered to the government of the county in which the rental property is located.

(h) If the total value of all property remaining on the premises at the time of execution of a writ of possession in an action for summary ejectment is less than five hundred dollars ($500.00), the property shall be deemed abandoned five days after the time of execution, and the landlord may throw away or dispose of the property. Upon the tenant's request prior to the expiration of the five-day period, the landlord shall release possession of the property to the tenant during regular business hours or at a time agreed upon. (1981, c. 566, s. 1; 1985, c. 612, ss. 1-4; 1995, c. 460, ss. 1-3; 1999-278, ss. 1, 2; 2012-17, s. 2(a), (b); 2013-334, s. 4.)