NC tenant died, his children destroying my farm

This is a discussion on NC tenant died, his children destroying my farm within the Landlord vs Tenant Issues forum, part of the REAL ESTATE & PROPERTY LAW category; I am in need of legal assistance. We rented our 15 acre farm in Mt Airy, NC to Tim for ...

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Old Feb 17th, 2012, 12:59 AM   #1
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Unhappy NC tenant died, his children destroying my farm

I am in need of legal assistance.
We rented our 15 acre farm in Mt Airy, NC to Tim for the last 10 years for $175 / month. No lease was ever signed, just an oral agreement. He lived in his own mobile home on this property. He died in Dec 2011. The farm was in excellent condition when we visited in Jan 2012 as it was always when he lived there. We have pictures confirming the condition of the farm in Jan 2012. Fences were in tact when we rented the farm to Tim and when he died as he kept horses on the farm. The problem is that his adult children, whom we never met before Jan 2012 are destroying our property. Tim’s mobile home is still there. He owed $225 when he died. No rent has been paid for Jan or Feb 2012. They say they intend to move the mobile home but have not yet done so. Note: His children never lived there, just Tim. They have their own homes but since he died and his mobile home is on my property, they are acting as if everything on my farm is their property.
Brad, his son, has removed a steel building that was on a concrete slab, torn down a gazebo, sold our dad’s old farm equipment for scrap metal, removed about 90 fence posts and taken the electric box. I do not know why he is destroying our property. We have never had any dealings with him nor met him before January. We have been very sympathetic about the death of their father and have tried to be as nice as possible to them.
I live in Boone and am not there to supervise what is going on. Are his children now considered my tenants since Tim died? Are they trespassing on my land? Can I put up a gate?
I need to know what to do to recoup enough money to put the fence back up and clean up the trash so I can rent this property. Should I file a landlord’s lien on the mobile home? Is there such a thing as a landlord’s lien? Or should I file a claim against the estate? I don’t know if there will be anything other than the mobile home in the estate. Small claims? Larceny, willful destruction of property or if they are considered tenants:
NC General Statute:
42 11. Willful destruction by tenant misdemeanor.
If any tenant shall, during his term or after its expiration, willfully and unlawfully demolish, destroy, deface, injure or damage any tenement house, uninhabited house or other outhouse, belonging to his landlord or upon his premises by removing parts thereof or by burning, or in any other manner, or shall unlawfully and willfully burn, destroy, pull down, injure or remove any fence, wall or other inclosure or any part thereof, built or standing upon the premises of such landlord, or shall willfully and unlawfully cut down or destroy any timber, fruit, shade or ornamental tree belonging to said landlord, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1883, c. 224; Code, s. 1761; Rev., s. 3686; C.S., s. 2351; 1993, c. 539, s. 402; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)
I have pictures of the property (with Brad in them) when it looked nice in January and some emails confirming that he took down the fence, building and gazebo.

I don’t know what to do. If this is an area of law that you specialize in and you can assist me, any help would be greatly appreciated. I hate to just sit by and wait for them to come and take my barn down too. And be left with no fencing and not be able to rent the property.

Last edited by boonegina; Feb 17th, 2012 at 01:18 AM. Reason: Needed to clarify information
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Old Feb 17th, 2012, 01:33 AM   #2
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Default Re: NC tenant died, his children destroying my farm

In this deceased tenant’s heirs are not considered to be tenants. As there is no written agreement regarding the tenancy, it’s only a tenancy at will. In this case the presence of tenant’s children on your property after the death of tenant amounts to trespass and you have a case on trespass. You can fix a board in your property indicating “Trespassers will be prosecuted”. In the mean time you can also file a police complaint regarding trespassing.
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Old Feb 17th, 2012, 01:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: NC tenant died, his children destroying my farm

You need to file a police report immediately. They have the right to request access to take the trailer and anything else of Tim's. That's it!!!
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Old Feb 17th, 2012, 03:15 AM   #4
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Default Re: NC tenant died, his children destroying my farm

The sheriff was out today with the company doing an estimate for the repairs/ clean up.
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