Minnesota Eviction Process
October 30, 2023
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Eviction In Minnesota
If you own and rent properties in the state of Minnesota, you are responsible for complying with Minnesota eviction laws. In this article, we break down each step of the legal eviction process in Minnesota.
Minnesota’s eviction laws can be found at MN Stat. § 504B.281-504B.371.
Eviction Process in Minnesota
- Landlord serves a written eviction notice.
- Landlord files an eviction lawsuit with the court.
- Court serves tenant a summons.
- Landlord and tenant attend court hearing and receive judgment.
- Tenant gets 24 hours to move out.
- Sheriff arrives to forcibly remove the tenant.
In Minnesota, tenants can be evicted for failing to pay rent, holding over after the lease has expired, violating a term of the lease, committing severe property damage or destruction, or engaging in illegal activity on the premises. Eviction can also occur when the property is being sold or foreclosed on.
There is one notable circumstance in which landlords cannot file an eviction action in Minnesota: If a tenant holds over (remains in the property after the lease expires) for three or more years before the eviction action is started, the landlord can no longer file for eviction on that basis (MN Stat. § 504B.311).
1. Landlord Serves a Written Eviction Notice
If any of the above lease violations occur, the landlord must first serve a Minnesota eviction notice and state that the tenant has the appropriate number of days to remedy or cure the violation. There are three possible eviction notices a landlord may send in Minnesota:
- Rent Demand Notice (periodic tenancies): 14-day notice to pay or quit. If the tenancy is month-to-month or week-to-week and rent is unpaid when due, the landlord must deliver this notice stating the amount of unpaid rent required to remedy the breach and the date on which the lease will terminate if it is not paid (not less than 14 days after receipt of the notice) (MN Stat. § 504B.135).
- Rent Demand Notice (all other tenancies): Not specified. Minnesota law does not specify the number of days’ notice landlords should provide year-to-year tenants in the case of nonpayment. However, most landlords choose to provide reasonable advanced notice in writing that they intend to file an eviction action.
There is one exception: When a tenant whose lease is longer than 20 years old fails to pay rent, Minnesota landlords are required to send a written 30-day notice to pay or quit. If a longer period is specified in the lease, then the notice should follow that provision (MN Stat. § 504B.291(2)).
- Lease Violation Notice: Not specified. Minnesota law does not specify the amount of notice a landlord should send before filing for eviction in the case that a tenant violates the lease or engages in illegal activities. Landlords also do not need to give tenants an opportunity to fix or “cure” the breach. However, most landlords choose to provide reasonable advanced notice for non-severe lease violations.
For all evictions, the landlord may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney’s fees.
2. Landlord Files an Eviction Lawsuit with the Court
The next step in the Minnesota eviction process is filing a complaint in court. If the tenant has not cured the breach by the end of the notice period (or if the violation is uncurable and the notice period expires), the landlord can then file an Eviction Action Complaint (downloadable here) with either the Minnesota District or Housing Court. Most landlords should file in district court in the county where the property is located; however, in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, eviction cases are heard in housing court.
To file the complaint, landlords need the following information as per MN Stat. § 504B.321(1)(a):
- The county
- The judicial district, court file number, and case type (housing)
- The landlord’s full name and address
- The tenant’s full name, address, and date of birth
- A description of the premises including:
- Its address
- Whether or not the property includes a garage
- The start and end date of the lease
- Whether the lease is oral or written
- The monthly rental amount
- Any services/utilities included in or added to the rent
- A verification that the landlord disclosed in writing the name and address of the property manager or person responsible for receiving notices
- The grounds for eviction (nonpayment, holding over, the specific lease or legal violation
- Today’s date
- The landlord’s signature
After completing the complaint, the landlord should make copies for themselves, the court, and one for each tenant. The landlord should take one copy to the Court Administrator, with a copy of the written lease and the eviction notice served. If the eviction is for illegal activity, the landlord should also attach a copy of a police report.
Lastly, the landlord needs to pay the court a filing fee. In Minnesota District Court, the filing fee is $285 (MN Stat. § 357.021(2)(1)). Checks should be made payable to: “District Court Administrator.”
3. Court Serves Tenant a Summons
The next step of the eviction process in Minnesota is serving the summons. After the landlord files the complaint, the court will issue a summons, to be served with a copy of the complaint and an Affidavit of Personal or Substitute Service (downloadable here, proof that the summons was served) to each tenant. The summons will command the tenant(s) to appear in court on the date specified, which must be between seven and 14 days of the day the summons was issued (MN Stat. § 504B.321(1)(c-e)).
The summons itself must be served at least seven days before the court hearing, but not on a legal holiday. It can be served by anyone besides the landlord, but it must be delivered in the same manner as all summons for civil actions in district court as per Minnesota Civil Procedure, Rule 4.03, either by:
- Delivering a copy to the tenant personally
- Leaving a copy at the tenant’s residence with a person of suitable age and discretion who lives there
- If the tenant has consented, by delivering it to an appointed agent or state official
If the tenant cannot be found in the county, the summons should be posted in a conspicuous place on the property for at least a week. However, service must be attempted at least twice on different days, with one of the attempts made between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Additionally, the landlord or their attorney must sign and file an affidavit stating that the tenant cannot be found and a copy of the summons has been mailed to them at their last known address if any is known to the landlord (MN Stat § 504B.331).
Minnesota law does not require the tenant to file a written answer to the summons and complaint, but they may answer the complaint at the court appearance. Additionally, either party may demand a trial by jury.
Expedited and Stayed Hearings
The court hearing can be both expedited or stayed (delayed) in certain circumstances.
If the action was filed due to illegal activity (see MN Stat § 504B.171 for a definition) that seriously endangers the safety of other residents, their property, or the landlord’s property, the landlord can file an affidavit requesting an expedited hearing. The affidavit should state the specific facts and instances that explain why the case should be expedited, and it will be reviewed by a referee or judge. If this person determines there to be sufficient supporting facts, they will schedule an expedited hearing to occur between five and seven days of the date the summons was issued. In this case, the summons should be served within 24 hours of issuance, unless the court orders otherwise (MN Stat. § 504B.321(2)(a-b)).
Landlords should only file an affidavit for an expedited hearing if they are certain it will be granted. If the court decides that a landlord did so without sufficient basis, a $500 civil penalty will be charged for abuse of the expedited hearing process (MN Stat. § 504B.321(2)(d)).
An eviction trial may also be stayed. A continuance may be granted to give the tenant/their agent enough time to secure a material witness’s presence (the tenant must give a bond that the landlord will be paid all accrued rent during this period). The maximum continuance the court may grant for an eviction trial is six days, unless all parties consent to a longer period. However, the case can’t be stayed longer than three months in total (MN Stat. § 504B.341).
4. Landlord and Tenant Attend Court Hearing and Receive Judgment
On the day of the eviction hearing, the landlord should bring copies of the lease agreement, the eviction notice with proof of service, the complaint, and any evidence of the lease violation. Both the landlord and tenant will present their cases and any evidence to the judge, who will afterwards issue a judgment. If the judge rules in the landlord’s favor, the court will immediately issue a Writ of Recovery of Premises and Order to Vacate. If the tenant is causing a nuisance or seriously endangering other people or property, the writ’s issuance will get priority (MN Stat. § 504B.345(1)(a-b)).
After the Writ of Recovery of Premises is issued, it is typically stayed (its execution is delayed) for a reasonable period up to seven days. However, the writ may be stayed or expediated in certain circumstances. For example, if the tenant is causing a nuisance, engaging in illegal activity, or putting people or property in danger, the writ may be executed within the week. On the other hand, if the tenant proves that immediate restitution of the premises would be a substantial hardship on them or their family, the writ could be stayed for longer than seven days (MN Stat. § 504B.345(1)(d)). The writ for recovery and order to vacate will also be stayed for at least 24 hours after judgment if the tenant announces their intent to appeal the judgment (MN Stat. § 504B.371).
Monetary claims (for rent or damages) are not included in the complaint for possession and cannot be brought in the housing court. If the landlord wants to recover damages, they must file a separate complaint in either Minnesota Conciliation Court (for claims less than $15,000) or Minnesota District Court (claims over $15,000).
5. Tenant Gets 24 Hours to Move Out
If the tenant has not moved out after the seven-day period, the Writ of Recovery of Premises will be given to an officer, who will post a copy of the writ at the property demanding that the tenant vacate the unit within 24 hours (MN Stat. § 504B.365(1)).
6. Sheriff Arrives to Forcibly Remove the Tenant
If the tenant has not moved out by the end of the 24 hours, the officer will return to forcibly remove the tenant and any personal property from the premises, at the landlord’s expense.
Minnesota has specific rules and laws about what to do with personal property left behind by the tenant after an eviction. Personal property may either be stored at the rental unit or at an outside location such as a warehouse or storage unit. The tenant must make immediate payment for the cost of removing their belongings, or else the landlord can place a lien on the property for all reasonable costs associated in removing and storing it. If the tenant does not pay for these costs within 60 days after the eviction, the landlord can hold a public sale and sell the belongings (MN Stat. § 504B.365(3)(a-c)).
If the property is to be stored on the rental premises, the landlord should prepare an inventory of all the items and a description of their conditions. It should also include the date, the landlord’s signature, the name and badge number of the officer who removed the property, and the name and phone number of anyone authorized to release the property.
Unlike landlords in other states, landlords in Minnesota are liable for damages to the tenant’s personal property during this time, so they should remove and store it with care (MN Stat. § 504B.365(3)(d-g)).
Evicting a Squatter in Minnesota
A squatter is a person who moves into a vacant or abandoned property without getting permission from the owner or paying rent. Squatters can usually be charged as criminal trespassers and be evicted like any other tenant. However, some squatters can receive the right to possession by meeting certain state-determined criteria. In Minnesota, squatters must have lived in the property for 15 consecutive years and paid property taxes for at least five consecutive years to invoke Minnesota squatters rights and claim right of possession (MN Stat. § 541.02). Their possession must also be:
- Hostile/Adverse—The squatter must not have a valid lease with the owner
- Actual—The squatter must be actively residing on the property
- Open and Notorious—The squatter is openly and obviously living there.
- Exclusive—The squatter does not share possession of the property with anyone else.
- Continuous—The squatter must hold continuous and uninterrupted possession.
While relatively rare, if a squatter meets all these criteria, they have “color of title”: the right of legal ownership without having a written deed to the property. They can file an action for adverse possession in Minnesota to legally obtain the title to the property. However, in most cases, a squatter will not meet the criteria and can be removed. If you think a squatter is living in your vacant property in Minnesota, you should:
- Call local law enforcement.
- Determine whether the person is a trespasser or a squatter.
- If the person is a trespasser, they can be removed immediately by a police officer.
- If the person is a squatter, you must contact the sheriff’s office.
- Send the squatter an eviction notice as per Minnesota eviction law.
- If the squatter does not vacate the premises by the end of the notice period, file for eviction and follow the typical eviction process.
- Only the sheriff can physically remove a squatter from your property. You cannot do so, and neither can a police officer.
Minnesota Evictions Cost Estimates
This chart shows estimates of the approximate cost of Minnesota evictions, according to civil procedure in the state and iPropertyManagement. A highly accurate estimate of an eviction is impossible to provide, as cases and circumstances vary so widely. Remember to factor in other losses due to an eviction as well, such as lost rent, time, and stress.
|Action||Approximate Cost (District Court)||Approximate Cost (Housing Court)|
|Filing fee||$285||$297 or $300 for Housing Courts in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, respectively|
|Service of court summons||Varies by county||Varies by county|
|Issuance of writ of recovery of possession and order to vacate||$55||$55|
|Execution of writ of recovery||Varies by county||Varies by county|
|Notice of Appeal filing fee (optional)||$550||$550|
|Average locksmith fees||$160||$160|
|Storage fees for abandoned property||Varies||Varies|
|Tenant turnover costs||Varies||Varies|
Minnesota Evictions Time Estimates
The chart below shows an estimate of the duration of each part of the Minnesota eviction process timeline. Keep in mind that the length of eviction cases varies widely depending on the complexity of the eviction, the court’s current caseload, and whether or not the tenant contests or appeals the lawsuit.
|Eviction notice period||Specified in lease agreement|
|Service of summons||At least 7 days before the hearing|
|Expedited service of summons||24 hours after issuance of summons|
|Eviction hearing||7-14 days after issuance of summons|
|Expedited eviction hearing||5-7 days after issuance of summons|
|Maximum continuance||6 days – 3 months|
|Issuance / service of writ of restitution||7 days|
|Time to quit after writ is posted||24 hours|
|Total||2 weeks – 3 months|
- Eviction Action Complaint
- Civil Summons
- Affidavit of Personal or Substitute Service
- Eviction Action Answer
- Instructions for Eviction Action Complaints – Provided by the Minnesota Courts’ official site, this document is a thorough and practical guide for landlords looking to file eviction action complaints. It provides an overview and detailed explanation of each step, including the rules and regulations landlords must follow by law in Minnesota.
- Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure – This document includes the specific rules of civil procedure and court policies in Minnesota.
- Minnesota District Court Fee Schedule – This site lists the various court costs and fees for the Minnesota District court.
- Mail and Post Instructions (Evictions) –Instructions for serving an eviction summons and complaint through the mail.
The eviction process in any state can be long and complex, so hiring an eviction attorney is advised in most cases. It’s also important to note that municipalities and local governments often have stricter laws and requirements for landlords, so be sure to check local statutes as well as state ones. However, by reviewing the legal procedures and Minnesota laws on eviction, you can feel more confident pursuing an eviction in this state.
Innago does not provide legal advice. The content and materials provided in this article are for general informational purposes only and may not be the most up-to-date information.