AN EVICTION IN MINNESOTA
Unlawful Detainer Actions:
Minnesota Landlords cannot forcibly remove tenants. In
order to evict a tenant, a landlord must first bring
an “Eviction Action,” or what used to be called
“Unlawful Detainer” action against the tenant.
This is a legal proceeding conducted in district
To bring such an action the landlord must
have a legitimate reason. According to state law,
legitimate reasons can be nonpayment of rent, other
breach of the lease, or cases where the tenant has
refused to leave after notice to vacate has been
properly served and the tenancy’s last day has
In general, if a tenant does not pay rent on the day
it is due, the landlord may immediately bring an
Eviction Action, unless the lease provides
With proper written notice a landlord can end a
month-to-month tenancy unless the landlord is
limiting a tenant’s right to call the police for
emergency assistance, or retaliating or
discriminating against the tenant. (See pages 13, 25
and 28 for definitions of these terms.) Definite
term leases can only be ended according to the
notice specified in the lease, or if there has been
a significant breach of the lease and the lease
allows eviction for breach.
There are a number of steps both landlords and
tenants must take in an Minnesota Eviction Action:
The landlord must file a complaint against the
tenant in district court. At least seven days
before the court date the landlord must have
someone else serve the tenant with a summons
ordering the tenant to appear in court.
A court hearing must take place within seven
to 14 days after the court issues the summons.
At the hearing, both tenant and landlord will be
asked to give their sides of the story.
The judge will then deliver a decision. If the
judge decides the tenant has no legal reason for
refusing to leave or pay the rent, the judge
will order the tenant to vacate the rental unit.
If necessary, the judge will order a law
enforcement officer to force the tenant out. If
the tenant can show immediate eviction will
cause substantial hardship, the court shall
allow the tenant a reasonable period of time -
up to one week - in which to move. A tenant may
not seek or receive a delay based on hardship if
the tenant is causing a nuisance or seriously
endangering the safety of other residents, their
property, or the landlord’s property.
If the Eviction Action has been brought only
because the tenant owes rent, and the landlord wins,
the tenant can still “pay and stay.” To pay and
stay, the tenant must pay the rent that is past due
(in arrears) plus interest (if charged), plus a $5
attorney fee if an attorney represented the
landlord, and finally, any “costs of the
action.” Costs of the action means the filing fee
(now about $245) plus the process server fee, plus
witness fees if one was subpoena (called) for
trial; costs do not include other legal or similar
fees for handling/processing the case as those are
capped at $5 (subject to change).
The court may give the tenant up to a week to pay
the court costs. If a tenant has paid the landlord
or the court the amount of rent owed, but is unable
to pay the interest, costs and attorney’s fees,
the court may permit the tenant to pay these amounts
during the time period the court delays issuing a
Writ of Recovery (eviction order).
If the Minnesota Eviction Action has been brought because
the tenant has withheld the rent due to disrepair,
the judge may order the tenant to deposit the rent
with the court. If the tenant wins, the judge may
order that the rent be abated (reduced), in part or
completely. (See page 16 for a description of
Following a motion by the tenant, the court may
find that the landlord’s eviction case is without
merit. The judge may then decide to expunge (remove)
the eviction case from the court’s record.
If a tenant screening service (see Page 7 for an
explanation of tenant reports) knows that an
eviction case file has been expunged, the tenant
screening service must remove any reference to that
file from data it maintains or disseminates.
It should be understood that only a law
enforcement officer can physically evict a tenant.
The landlord cannot do this. A Writ of Recovery -
which is issued at the time the decision is handed
down - must be posted on the premises at least 24
hours before the actual eviction. The law
enforcement officer can show up to perform the
eviction anytime after the 24 hours have
A landlord may not obtain a
judgment for unpaid
rent in an Eviction Action action. To obtain a judgment
for unpaid rent, a landlord must bring a
separate action in Conciliation Court or District