I am often asked what a landlord has to do to evict a tenant. The short answer is that, in Minnesota, the landlord must follow several specific steps in order to bring an eviction action in court.
Before a landlord files an eviction action, however, I recommend that the landlord try to talk to the tenants and resolve the dispute informally, without the need to go to court. After all, the tenants might agree to pay the back rent or move out within a reasonably short period of time. However, if the landlord and tenants cannot work things out on their own, then the landlord might need to go to court to get the tenants out.
An eviction action is all about who has the right to be in possession of the premises. "Right to possession" means who has the right to occupy the premises, whether the premises is an apartment in an apartment building, a lot in a mobile home park, a townhome, a standalone house, or a commercial space, such as a warehouse or office building . By reason of their lease, the tenants have the right to be in possession, but if the tenants are violating the lease by not paying rent or for some other reason, then the landlord has the right to evict the tenants to regain possession.
Once the landlord has decided to bring an eviction against the tenants, the landlord must draft, file, and serve an eviction action complaint in District Court, get the summons back from the courthouse, serve the summons and complaint on the tenant within 7 days of the date of the hearing, and appear at the hearing. If necessary, the landlord also has to get the writ of recovery (the document that orders the sheriff to remove the tenants) from the courthouse, take it to the sheriff, and called the sheriff to schedule a physical move out if the tenants do not vacate within 24 hours of being served with a writ.
Serving an eviction is tricky. The landlord cannot personally serve the eviction summons and complaint, but must have somebody who is not a party to the action and over the age of 18 serve it. The summons and complaint must be served on the tenants within 7 days of the date of the hearing. That means that the summons and complaint must be served one full week before the hearing date. If the landlord tries to serve the tenants on 2 occasions, once after 6 PM, then the law provides that the landlord can post service of the eviction summons on the door of the premises. If you have to post, I strongly recommend that you research the requirements for posting beforehand. There are several detailed and necessary steps that you must take for posting, or you risk in validating your service.
If the leased premises are owned by a corporation, a limited liability company, partnership, limited partnership, or some other business entity, then that entity must be represented by an attorney in District Court. However, if the landlord personally owns the premises as an individual, then the landlord can represent himself or herself in District Court. Still, I think that any landlord would benefit from being represented by an attorney.
Every landlord – tenant situation is unique, and I recommend that landlords talk to an attorney experienced in evictions and landlord tenant law before taking action based on this blog post. To that end, I invite landlords to give me a call at 763-450-9494 to discuss their unique situation. The first thing I will ask you is what you want to have happen because, ultimately, the landlord is in control. I have represented many landlords, but typically do not represent tenants.
WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation. Tim is licensed to practice law only in Minnesota, and the information contained in this blog post may not apply to jurisdictions outside of Minnesota. Further, reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog. To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.