Unlawful Detainer Actions
(Unlawful Detainer Actions And Writ Of Recovery Of Premises)
An Unlawful Detainer Action is required in order to evict a tenant from rental property. Regulating these actions is Minnesota Statute Chapter 504B.
There are four common reasons for evicting a tenant:
- Delinquent rent payments
- Violation of lease provisions
- Failure to move after 30 day written notice
- Landlord is notified by law enforcement authorities of narcotics sales or activities on the tenant's premises.
To commence an Unlawful Detainer Action:
To start an eviction, the property owner (plaintiff) must file a "Complaint in Unlawful Detainer" with the Court Administrator. In the complaint portion of the summons, the plaintiff should state why the defendant should be removed from the premises and the property restored to the plaintiff.
When a complaint has been filed:
When a complaint has been filed, the Court Administrator will establish a court date, issue a summons, and provide the plaintiff with enough copies of the summons and complaint to serve each defendant. If the tenant has unknown parties living on the premises, the plaintiff can list "John Doe", "Mary Roe," etc., as additional defendants.
Service of the Summons and Complaint:
The summons and complaint must be served on each tenant/defendant no less than 7 days before the court date, exclusive of the court date. The summons is notice to the tenant / defendant that an action has been brought to restore possession of premises to the plaintiff (the landlord or mortgagee.) The service must be made by a third person who is not part of the court action. A notarized Affidavit of Service must be filed with the Court Administrator before the date of the court hearing.
The Chisago County Sheriff's Office Civil Process Unit can serve the papers on the tenant / defendant. The original summons, plus copies of the summons and complaint for the defendants should be delivered to the Civil Unit as soon as the plaintiff receives them. There is a fee to serve summons and complaints.
Posting the Summons and Complaint on the door of the premises:
If the Sheriff's Deputy does not find the defendants at home after making attempts on at least two different days, one day before 6 p.m. and one day after 6 p.m., the deputy will post the summons and complaint on the door of the premises involved in the Unlawful Detainer Action.
After the attempt of service and posting on the door:
The deputy will complete the appropriate affidavits and the original summons and affidavit will be filed with the Court Administrator's Office by the sheriff's office.
The plaintiff should mail a copy of the summons and complaint to each defendant by first class mail immediately after giving the original to the sheriff. The plaintiff must complete and file a notarized Affidavit of Mailing with the Court Administrator. If additional posting is required, the court file will be checked to ensure the affidavit of mailing is on file with the court at least 3 days before the hearing.
Writ Of Recovery Of Premises (Evictions)
If the judge finds in favor of the plaintiff at the hearing, a Writ of Recovery of Premises will be authorized. This is an order for the sheriff to restore the premises to the plaintiff (landlord or mortgagee).
NOTE: Landlords cannot forcibly remove tenants. The sheriff must have a court order (Writ of Recovery of Premises) to remove a tenant. With a Writ of Recovery of Premises, the sheriff is empowered to use the force of the county and necessary assistance to remove the defendant, family and personal property and turn the premises over to the plaintiff.
For service of the Writ:
The writ must be taken to the Chisago County Sheriff's Office Civil Process Division located in the Government Center at. The writ is only valid for 30 days so the plaintiff should not delay bringing it to the sheriff. A deputy will serve the writ on the defendants if they are home, or it will be posted on the door of the premises. In either case, the defendants will be provided with a 24 hour notice advising that the sheriff can remove the defendant 24 hours after the writ is served or posted.
Failing to Vacate the Premises:
If the defendant fails to vacate the premises, the plaintiff must contact the Civil Process Division at 651-213-6307 to schedule an eviction. If the defendant cannot be found on site or if there is no person on the premises, the sheriff can enter by breaking in if necessary.
Storage of defendants' property:
When the eviction is scheduled, 2 options are available for storage of the defendants' personal property.
- On site storage for 60 days If the plaintiff chooses to use on site storage, deputies will remove the defendants and stand by until the plaintiff has completed an inventory of the premises. If the defendants want to recover their property, they must contact the plaintiff within 60 days and make arrangements to pick it up. The plaintiff must release the property to the defendant. It is recommended, but not required, that the recovery of property be handled on a single time / date basis. After 60 days, if the defendant has not picked up the property, it is considered abandoned.
- Contract with a licensed and bonded mover to inventory and remove the property. The plaintiff must contract with a licensed and bonded mover and make arrangements to have the mover there at the time of the eviction. Deputies will remove the defendants and standby until the moving company has loaded the property and completed the inventory. The plaintiff has a lien for the moving and storage expenses only. The defendant again has 60 days to contact the plaintiff to make arrangements to pick up the property. The defendant may be required to pay the moving costs before it's released. Frequently, the value of the personal property is less than the moving expenses, and since the plaintiff is responsible for paying the movers, the option is selected less often.
Any personal property a tenant leaves behind must first be stored by the landlord. After the 60 days mentioned above, the landlord may sell or get rid of the property in whatever way the landlord wishes. The landlord must make a reasonable effort, however, to contact the tenant at least 2 weeks before the sale / disposal of the items. The landlord must do this either by personally giving the tenant a written notice of the sale or by sending the notice by certified mail to the tenant's last known address or likely living quarters if that is known by the landlord. The landlord (plaintiff) must also post a notice of the sale in a clearly visible place on the premises for at least 2 weeks before the sale / disposal. For other information on evictions, Writs of Recovery of Premises and/or Unlawful Detainer Actions, please contact the Chisago County Sheriff's Office Civil Process Division at 651-213-6307.
There are other court orders that can delay or prevent an eviction. In addition, there are actions taken by either the landlord or the tenant which will invalidate or complicate the eviction action. See the links below for more information.
If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney. Our office is not permitted to provide legal advice nor can we recommend any specific attorney.
- From the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General - Landlords and Tenants: Rights and Responsibilities Handbook
- From the Self Help Center of the Minnesota Judicial Branch - Landlord and Tenant