You have probably heard in the news that the Department of Natural Resources ("DNR") is planning to evict the Wildlife Science Center ("WSC") near Forest Lake, Minnesota for violating its lease. According to news reports, the DNR has sent a notice of lease violations to the WSC. The question is, can the DNR evict its tenant, the WSC?

The short answer is yes, if there are sufficient lease violations.  Commercial leases are always a bit different, but I am betting that the lease requires the DNR to provide notice of these violations and an opportunity to correct them to the WSC prior to bringing an eviction action.  The text of the notice is not available, but news reports indicate that it was given for having an unauthorized person living on the premises, maintaining a dog kennel or shelter on the premises, and being behind on rent, all of which are presumably lease violations.

In my experience, a landlord will seek to evict a tenant for lease violations other than not paying the rent if the landlord simply wants to be rid of the tenant.  Reading between the lines here, I suspect that the DNR has another use planned for the buildings and land currently occupied by the WSC. In other words, the DNR wants the WSC to leave.

If these purported violations are not corrected, the DNR will probably proceed within eviction action. In that case, the DNR will most likely be represented by the Minnesota Attorney General. If the DNR brings an eviction, the WSC will be smart to hire its own attorney to represent it at the eviction hearing.

I expect that the DNR and WSC will be able to resolve their differences before it becomes necessary for the DNR to bring an eviction. However, if there is an eviction hearing, the WSC could make the DNR prove the lease violations by requesting a trial. Alternatively, the DNR and WSC might be able to reach some sort of settlement at the eviction hearing.

I checked the public court case information system, or MNCIS, but was unable to find information suggesting that an eviction had already been filed. That does not mean that an eviction will not be filed. By sending the notice, the DNR is telling the WSC to correct the lease violations. The notice is a required first step before the DNR can bring an eviction.

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  To that end, I invite landlords to give me a call at 763-450-9494 to discuss their unique situation. I typically do not represent residential tenants, but do not represent commercial tenants - if I do not have a conflict of interest or the representation is not otherwise prohibited.

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.



05/23/2016 12:44pm

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