It would appear, from the facts as stated in the question, that the tenant here has been deprived of some of the tenant's legal rights. Tenants have a right to notice, to a hearing, to appeal the result of the herring, and to obtain property after an eviction.
The federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (12 U.S.C. § 5201 *et seq.) gives a tenant a right to 90 days notice before any eviction after a foreclosure, even if there is no lease. If the is a lease, protection will in most cases last until the end of the lease.
According to the "Landlord/Tenant Issues" page of the NC court system, a lawful eviction in North Carolina requires that a hearing take place in small claims court before a magistrate. The decision in such a hearing can be appealed to a District court. Parties have 10 days to appeal, and the landlord must not try to remove the tenant before the end of those 10 days. If an appeal is filed the tenant may not be evicted until the appeal is heard.
According to the court page after eviction:
Depending on the value of your belongings left in the home, you have 5 to 7 days after the home is padlocked to arrange with the landlord a time to remove your belongings. Landlords are only required to allow tenants one visit to the home to collect all of the property. If you leave property worth a total of $500 or less in the home, you have 5 days to retrieve it; if it is worth more than $500, you have 7 days. If you have not yet arranged to move your things in this time period, the landlord can dispose of them.
The page "Renters and Foreclosure" from the NC Department of Justice (NCDOJ) says:
If your lease is entered into before the notice of foreclosure, the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act usually requires the mortgage holder and foreclosure buyer to honor your lease. If you do not have a lease, if your lease allows for the landlord to terminate it at will, or if the foreclosure buyer wants to move into the home, you must be given 90 days’ notice to vacate. These protections do not apply if your landlord is a close relative or if your rent is substantially less than fair market rent.
If you have questions about your rights as a renter during foreclosure contact us for help or call toll free within North Carolina 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.
The Nolo page "Protections for Tenants After a Landlord’s Foreclosure" says:
The PTFA (12 U.S.C. § 5201 and following) provides protections to bona fide tenants who have a lease as well as those who don’t, like month-to-month renters.
Renters who don’t have a lease, such as month-to-month renters, or those with a lease that can be terminated at will, get 90 days’ notice before having to move out of the property. Importantly, the PTFA also provides that if state law gives a more generous amount of time for renters to stay in the home, that longer period applies.
Foindlaw's page "Tenant Eviction in Foreclosure: What Are Your Rights?" also mentions PFTA and the 90-day notice to tenants it requires
The page "Tenant’s Rights in Foreclosure" from HCP l;aw says:
One provision under North Carolina law that can protect a tenant before any sale or foreclosure occurs is to record the written lease in the Register of Deeds office. If that is done, any buyer, including a buyer at foreclosure, takes the property but is bound by the lease, just like the prior landlord was.
When the lease is not recorded and when a purchaser obtains the property through a foreclosure sale, and the purchaser is not going to occupy the property as his primary residence, in most cases, the tenant can remain through the length of the remaining lease or one year from the date the purchaser acquired the title, whichever is shorter.
The NOLO page "Tenant Defenses to Eviction Notices in North Carolina" indicates several defenses that tenants may have to eviction cases.
The Nolo page mentions that:
North Carolina law states that it is against public policy to evict a tenant by any means other than court proceedings. (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-25.6.) Any attempt to evict a tenant without a court order constitutes a self-eviction or a “self-help” eviction. (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-25.9(a).) Some common “self-help” methods include turning off utilities, changing the locks, or simply insisting that the tenant leave the premises. (See the Nolo article Illegal Eviction Procedures in North Carolina for more information.) A tenant subjected to “self-help” methods will have a defense to eviction. However, the eviction will only be stayed until the landlord commences a lawful action.
The Nolo page advises that:
For an overview of landlord-tenant law and eviction rules and procedures, see the Renting and Evictions section of LawHelpNC.org, the Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC) Landlord-Tenant brochure, and HUD.gov. To read the law itself, see Chapter 42: Landlord and Tenant of the North Carolina General Statutes.
The Nolo article has advice on how to find a lawyer and how to get legal aid.
The "Guide to the Eviction Process in North Carolina" also mentions that tenants must be served with an eviction notice, at least 7-days notice for a monthly tenant. This page deals primarily with evictions because of non-payment of rent or other fault of the tenet. It also mentions notice for disposing of property saying:
landlords must notify [Tenants] of their belongings before disposing of them. If the tenant doesn’t respond, you can dispose of the personal items after the time-frame on the notice expires. (NCGS § 42-25.9) and (NCGS § 42-36.2)
NC statutes section 42-25.9 provides that:
§ 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.