Eviction Action (formerly “unlawful detainer”)
An Eviction Action in the State of Minnesota as defined by the Courts as: “A legal action, in which a landlord files a request to the court to determine if the tenant should be evicted or if they have a legal right to remain on the property.” See State of MN Self-Help website.
In short, the landlord is requesting the court for an Order awarding him/her possession of the property for a breach of the lease. Unless a tenant agrees to mutually cancel a lease in writing on terms acceptable to the landlord, the landlord’s only option to remove a tenant is to file an Eviction Action. There are good resources out there to guide owners on the process: Housing Link and Minnesota Multihousing Association
In all counties in Minnesota, a landlord can file and represent him or herself if the property is owned in his or her name. However, some jurisdictions, including Ramsey County, require an attorney to file and represent a property that is owned in an LLC (for instance: 123 Main Street Partners, LLC).
Used in a sentence:
“I need to file an Eviction Action on a tenant in my Uptown 10 unit apartment building for non-payment of rent.”
Eviction Actions are usually straightforward for a DIY owner/operator. However, if there are questions of fact (are there multiple tenants living in unit OR is water leaking into the bedroom), or legal aid takes the tenant’s case–it may be worth an owner’s time to hire an attorney. If the issue is solely non-payment of rent, good record keeping is 90% of the battle. Typically the court awards the tenant the standard 7 days to pay all back rent, late fees, court fees, and $5 attorney fee.
The cost to file an Eviction Action in Minnesota is $327 (just to file, no attorney or service fees). The process starts when the landlord or a representative completes THIS FORM, has it notarized, and files it with the property jurisdictional court. A complete list of Minnesota forms that may be necessary throughout the Eviction Action process can be accessed HERE.
Good practice tips:
-Bring the entire tenant ledger, lease, and notices in writing to Court along with 2 additional copies. Truthful, organized documents in writing typically trump verbal statements.
-Request a Settlement Agreement Form from the Court and try to cut a deal before the called appearance. If you have little confidence the tenant will pay, only provide more than 7 days if there is an immediate cash payment-say 50%+ of total rent owed, given to you at the time of signing the Settlement Agreement.
-If you draft a Settlement Agreement with a Payment Plan–add the 2 following monthly rent payments as required payment plan payments OR Automatic Writ of Recovery. This will mitigate the need to come back to court for another non-payment of rent.
Contact Brad @ The Law Office of Brad Schaeppi, PLLC if you should have any questions.
Thanks–and look for more terms in the InvestProp Glossary!
–Brad Schaeppi, founder and CEO