I want to start a small claims actions against a former landlord for a dispute about my deposit. The house I rented from him is in Raleigh, but he lives in Roanoke Virginia. Do I have to file the claims action in Roanoke county?
1 Answer from Attorneys
If the landlord lives in Virginia, you cannot sue in small claims court in North Carolina. If you tried to sue in small claims in Wake County, you would only be able to do that if you used the North Carolina rental property address. If the property is vacant, you might not be able to get service of process - if the property is occupied by another tenant, you might still have problems getting the landlord served.
You can sue the landlord in district court in North Carolina. But why would you want to sue in North Carolina? Is the landlord a person or corporation? If a private person, then a North Carolina judgment will not help too much if the person has no real assets (other than the home) in North Carolina. Any judgment would be a lien on the real property but it would not get you paid.
Virginia has wage garnishment so that you will be able to enforce any judgment if you recover it. You might want to consider bringing a lawsuit in Virginia.