Evictions Minnesota
Minnesota Evictons

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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 court. 
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 passed. 
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 otherwise.  

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:

  1. 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. 

  2. 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. 

  3. 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 withholding rent.)

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 expired. 

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 Court.

Disclaimer: The law is constantly changing and there may be times when the information on this web site will not be current. This information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. This information is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject and is not a substitute for advice from an attorney. 

Minnesota Eviction


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