Durham Neighborhood CompassDurham Neighborhood Compass

Why This is Important

Summary ejectments are the first of two court processes for formally evicting a tenant. In 2016 there were an average 906 summary ejectments filed per month in Durham County and that declined to 790 per month in 2017 (NC Administrative of Office of the Courts). Between 2010 and 2017 the percentage of these resulting in judgments against a tenant declined from 59% to 51.8% (data from NC Courts).

The second court process is the writ of possession, served by the Sheriff's Department to remove a tenant and their belongings from a unit. Writs of possession are issued less frequently and only after a judgment has been issued against a tenant. In 2017 2,564 writs of possession were issued by the Sheriff's Department. It is unclear how many "informal" evictions occur, when a tenant is removed by "self help" eviction or without going through a court process.

Evictions happen for a wide variety of direct reasons, from a tenant violating the terms of a lease to a landlord wrongfully displacing a tenant. But economic pressures are increasingly a driver of displacement nationally, with inner city rents escalating, residential property flipping and incomes stagnating.

About the Data

DataWorks acquires civil process records from the Durham County Sheriff's Department for use at the neighborhood level. These are records of the Sheriff's Department notifications to tenants and do not include any personally-identifiable information. The number of these summary ejectment filings per Census blockgroup is divided by the area of the blockgroup in square miles.

NOTE: Summary ejectment counts published here are revised as of May 17, 2019. These counts represent a modest increase across the county per year with the largest change (an additional 203 summary ejectments) in 2013. Among the blockgroups of the county, these new counts vary from previous summaries published here, with 81% of blockgroups seeing less than a 10-count change in any given year. These Compass summaries are now managed within our databases to ensure future stability in counts and reproducibility. To learn more about this change and how we manage evictions data contact tech@dataworks-nc.org.

Source: Durham County Sheriff's Department

Additional Resources

ResourceLearn More and Take Action
The Law of Summary EjectmentThis document from the UNC School of Government summarizes the terms by which evictions can be filed with the court system and also explains the rights and obligations of both tenants and landlords.
Durham Human Relations Commission Report on Evictions (March 2018)"When a person in Durham County loses their home to an eviction, they may lose their possessions, sense of community, and their children may need to change schools as their family is forced to move. The uprooting of so many residents on an annual basis has the tendency to fracture our community and weakens the cohesiveness of our neighborhoods, religious institutions and businesses. This report is a call to action, not just to our city and county leaders, but to all of Durham."
A New Program Is Shedding Light on Why Durham County Has Such a Huge Eviction Problem"On a Thursday morning three days after Christmas, the eviction court on the third floor of the Durham County courthouse was quiet. Of the more than forty tenants on the day's docket, just five had come to make their case in front of magistrate Aminah Thompson..."
Legal Aid of North Carolina - Durham OfficeLegal Aid of North Carolina (LANC) is a statewide, nonprofit law that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers to economic opportunity.
Duke Civil Justice ClinicIn partnership with Legal Aid and Durham County Social Services, the Duke Civil Justice Clinic operates Durham's Eviction Diversion Program, informing roughly 900 tenants per month who are facing eviction that there are steps they can take. In a preliminary analysis of the program's efficacy, the Clinic reported in April 2018 that among tenants they were able to work with 79.3% avoided eviction. The program prevented relocation for 66.5% of all tenants it served.
DataWorks' Eviction ResourcesThis resource has been compiled through more than a year of collaboration with residents and community groups. As we continue growing our list of contributors we'll keep enhancing, revising and growing this resource site.
Durham Human Relations CommissionThe Human Relations Commission holds open public meetings on the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. They meet at the Golden Belt Office Center: 807 E Main Street Building 2, 3rd Floor Conference Room Durham, NC, 27701.
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Data Distribution, 2022

Evictions (Summary Ejectments)

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