State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_19 > GS_19-6_1

§ 19‑6.1.  Forfeiture ofreal property.

In all actions where apreliminary injunction, permanent injunction, or an order of abatement isissued pursuant to this Article in which the nuisance consists of or includesat least two prior occurrences within five years of the manufacture, possessionwith intent to sell, or sale of controlled substances as defined by the NorthCarolina Controlled Substances Act, two prior occurrences of the possession ofany controlled substance included within Schedule I or II of that Act, or twoprior convictions within five years of violation of G.S. 14‑72.7, thereal property on which the nuisance exists or is maintained is subject toforfeiture in accordance with this section. In the case of the two priorconvictions of G.S. 14‑72.7, the convictions shall not arise out of thesame transaction or occurrence.

If all of the owners of theproperty are defendants in the action, the plaintiff, other than a plaintiffwho is a private citizen, may request forfeiture of the real property as partof the relief sought. If forfeiture is requested, and if jurisdiction over alldefendant owners is established, upon judgment against the defendant ordefendants, the court shall order forfeiture as follows:

(1)        If the court findsby clear and convincing evidence that all the owners either (i) haveparticipated in maintaining the nuisance on the property, or (ii) prior to theaction had written notice from the plaintiff, or any governmental agent orentity authorized to bring an action pursuant to this Chapter, that thenuisance existed or was maintained on the property and have not made good faithefforts to stop the nuisance from occurring or recurring, the court shall orderthat the property be forfeited;

(2)        If the court findsthat one or more of the owners did not participate in maintaining the nuisanceon the property or did not have written notice from the plaintiff prior to theaction that the nuisance existed or was maintained on the property, the courtshall not order forfeiture of the property immediately upon judgment. However,if after judgment and an order directing the defendants to abate the nuisance,the nuisance either continues, begins again, or otherwise recurs within fiveyears of the order and the defendants have not made good faith efforts to abatethe nuisance, the plaintiff may petition the court for forfeiture. Upon suchpetition, the defendant owner or owners shall be given notice and anopportunity to appear and be heard at a hearing to determine the continuationor recurrence of the nuisance. If, in this hearing (i) the plaintiffestablishes by clear and convincing evidence that the nuisance, with theowner's or owners' knowledge, has either continued, begun again, or otherwiserecurred, and (ii) the defendants fail to establish that they have made and arecontinuing to make good faith efforts to abate the nuisance, the court shallorder that the property be forfeited.

For the purposes of thissection, factors which may evidence good faith by the defendant to abate thenuisance include but are not limited to (i) cooperation with law enforcementauthorities to abate the nuisance; (ii) lease restrictions prohibiting theillegal possession or sale of narcotic drugs and an action to evict a tenantfor any violations of the lease provision; (iii) a criminal record check ofprospective tenants; and (iv) reference checks of prior residency ofprospective tenants.

Upon an order of forfeiture,title to the property shall vest in the school board of the county in which theproperty is located. If at the time of forfeiture the property is subject to alien or security interest of a person not participating in the maintenance ofthe nuisance, the school board shall either (i) pay an amount to that personsatisfying the lien or security interest; or (ii) sell the property and satisfythe lien or security interest from the proceeds of the sale. If the property isnot subject to any lien or security interest at the time of forfeiture, theschool board may hold, maintain, lease, sell, or otherwise dispose of theproperty as it sees fit.

Upon the filing of the action,the plaintiff may file a notice of lis pendens in the official records of thecounty where the property is located. If the plaintiff files a notice of lispendens, any person purchasing or obtaining an interest in the propertythereafter shall be considered to have notice of the alleged nuisance, andshall forfeit his interest in the property upon a judgment of forfeiture infavor of the plaintiff.

If in the same action in whichreal property is forfeited the court finds that a tenant or occupant of theproperty participated in or maintained the nuisance, the lease or other titleunder which the tenant or occupant holds is void, and the right of possessionvests in the new owner. Upon forfeiture, the rights of innocent tenantsoccupying separate units of the property who were not involved in the nuisanceat the time the action was filed shall be in accordance with any relevant leaseprovisions in effect at the time or, in the absence of relevant leaseprovisions, in accordance with the law applying to other tenants or occupantsof property that is sold, foreclosed upon, or otherwise obtained by new owners.(1995, c. 528,s. 2; 1999‑371, s. 10; 2007‑178, s. 4.)