The Jensen Litigation Firm, PLLC represents landlords in residential evictions. Landlords hire us to understand their remedies and to commence evictions. If you need an attorney to evict a residential tenant, we can help. Contact us now because your remedies may have time limits.
What laws govern evictions in Minnesota?
Chapter 504B of Minnesota Statutes covers landlord-tenant issues. Minn. Stat. § 504B.281, et seq. provides more specific rules for evictions. The most common ground for eviction is non-payment of rent under Minn. Stat. § 504B.291. Other common grounds include holding-over beyond the rent term, damaging the leased space, and disrupting other tenants.
Regardless of the reason for eviction, a landlord must follow specific processes in the statute before evicting the tenant. An eviction Complaint must be filed with the district court under Minn. Stat. § 504B.321. A hearing should be scheduled within 7-14 days, but there is an expedited procedure if the tenant is engaged in illegal behavior that is endangering people.
What are eviction hearings like in Minnesota?
The admit-deny hearing is typically before a district court judge, although there are slightly different procedures in Hennepin County and Ramsey County with housing referees. If the tenant was served and does not appear, the judge issues an eviction order and Writ of Recovery.
If the tenant appears, the judge or referee asks whether there is a factual dispute for a trial. If the tenant admits the lease violation, the parties will discuss a timeline for moving out.
If the tenant denies the lease violation and has a potential defense, a trial is usually set within 6 days. Technically, Minn. Stat. § 504B.341 allows the trial to proceed at the admit-deny hearing, so the parties should be prepared to proceed.
However, the judge or referee often has other cases waiting at the admit-deny hearing and will likely set the trial for a different day. While either party may ask for a jury trial under Minn. Stat. § 504B.335, it is rare.
Usually, the judge decides the case at the end of the trial in the courtroom after witnesses have testified.
What happens if the judge grants an eviction?
If the landlord proves valid grounds for eviction, or if the tenant failed to appear, the judge issues a Writ of Recovery and Order to Vacate. Often, the judge "stays" this Writ up to 7 days to give the tenant time to move out.
If the tenant then fails to move out, landlord can get the Sheriff to serve the Writ and instruct the tenant to be out within 24 hours. If the tenant is still not out, the Sheriff can come back to physically remove the tenant.
From start to finish, the eviction process typically takes 2-4 weeks in Minnesota.
How do I recover unpaid rent after tenants are evicted?
Evictions are summary proceedings with the purpose of determining a present right of possession. An eviction is not the proceeding for the landlord to collect unpaid rent. The eviction order will likely set forth the lease defaults and amount of unpaid rent, but the landlord does not collect on this judgment alone.
The landlord can use the eviction order in conciliation court to get a judgment. The landlord must then docket the judgment. If the tenant had no money for rent, there may not be money on which the landlord can collect if he or she gets a judgment.
While many evictions result in the tenant paying back rent to stay in the property, there is no guarantee that the landlord will be able to recover back rent after an eviction.
What do I do with a tenant's personal property after an eviction in Minnesota?
Once the tenant is out, the landlords are frequently faced with the question of what to do with the tenant's property. The tenant may have abandoned property in the leased space, but it may not be clear.
The landlord needs to be very careful in dealing with the tenant's property. If a landlord removes tenant property and puts it on a curb, or throws it away, the landlord may face civil liability and a criminal prosecution. There are detailed provisions in Minn. Stat. § 504B.271, Minn. Stat. § 504B.365, and similar statutes about dealing with personal property.
Basically, the statutes have time periods for safeguarding the tenant's personal property. Those periods depend on whether the landlord chooses to leave the tenant's personal property in the lease space or pay to store the property in another location.
If the tenant asks for the property during this time, it may be best for the landlord to simply let the tenant take the items. A landlord has a very limited ability to require the tenant to pay any storage costs and can get in trouble by requiring the tenant to pay costs in order to access the property.
Hiring an Eviction Attorney
It is important for a landlord to hire an eviction attorney that knows the Minnesota housing laws and has handled evictions in court. If the landlord does not promptly take action to evict a tenant, he or she may lose remedies. For example, if the landlord accepts partial payments after a full payment was due or after the tenant breached some aspect of the lease, a judge may conclude that the landlord waived the right to evict for those reasons.
We have the knowledge and experience to handle residential evictions. Do not hesitate to contact us if:
- Your tenant has failed to pay rent or breached terms of the lease.
- You are a landlord with a corporate entity and need an attorney to appear at an eviction hearing or trial.
- Your tenant has sued you under the lease on a tenant remedies action or otherwise.
- Your tenant or prospective tenant has raised issues regarding a reasonable accommodation in the form of a service animal or otherwise.
- You own a mobile home park and there are issues with unpaid rent, abandoned homes, title issues, violations of park rules, or issues with governmental units.
With offices in Shakopee (Scott County) and Litchfield (Meeker County), we handle eviction matters in Scott County, Carver County, and Meeker County.