Commencing an Unlawful Detainer Action:
An Unlawful Detainer Action is required in order to evict a tenant from rental property. Minnesota Statutes Chapter 504B regulates these actions. The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office has information at www.ag.state.mn.us. If you go to the web site; click on Publications; scroll down to Landlords & Tenants, and you can either request the publication or read the information online.
To commence an Unlawful Detainer Action, the property owner (plaintiff) must file a "Complaint In Unlawful Detainer" with the District Court.
When a complaint has been filed, the District Court 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.
The Summons and Complaint must be served on each tenant/defendant no less than seven (7) days before the court date, exclusive of the court date. 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 District Court before the date of the court hearing.
The Dakota County Sheriff’s Office, Civil Unit, can serve the papers on the tenant/defendant. The original Summons, plus copies of the Summons and Complaint for each defendant, should be delivered to the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office, Civil Unit (Contact Information) as soon as the plaintiff receives them. Advance fees are required. Please contact our office for the amount.
The deputy will complete the appropriate Affidavits and the original Summons and Affidavit will be filed with the District Court by the Sheriff’s Office.
If a judge finds in favor of the plaintiff at the hearing, a Writ of Recovery will be authorized. This is an Order for the Sheriff to restore the premises to the plaintiff.
The original Writ must be delivered to the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office, Civil Unit, along with advance fees of $125 for service. The Writ is valid for only thirty 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. It is the responsibility of the plaintiff to contact our office and arrange a time for an eviction when a deputy is available.
If the defendant fails to vacate the premises, the plaintiff must contact the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office, Civil Unit, at (651) 438-4780 to schedule an eviction. When the eviction is scheduled, two options are available for storage of the defendants’ personal property:
- On-site storage for 28 days.
- Contract with a licensed and bonded mover to inventory and remove the property.
If the plaintiff chooses to use the first option, 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 28 days and make arrangements to pick it up. The plaintiff must release the property to the defendant. It is recommended, but not required, that recovery of property be handled on a single time/date basis. After 28 days, if the defendant has not picked up the property, it is considered abandoned.
If the plaintiff selects the second option, 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 stand by until the moving company has loaded the property and completed an 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, and may be required to pay the moving costs before it is released. Frequently, the value of the personal property is less than the moving expenses and, since the plaintiff is responsible for paying the movers, this option is selected less often.