Unlawful Detainer Actions

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 4 common reasons for evicting a tenant:
  1. Delinquent rent payments
  2. Violation of lease provisions
  3. Failure to move after 30 day written notice
  4. 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 & 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 Scott 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 & 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 & 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.

Failing to Vacate the Premises

If the defendant fails to vacate the premises, the plaintiff must contact the Civil Unit at 952-496-8320 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.

Further Information

For other information on evictions, Writs of Recovery of Premises and/or Unlawful Detainer Actions, please contact the Scott County Sheriff’s Office Civil Unit at 952-496-8320.

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.

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.