In order to comply with the complicated statutes and rules governing service in eviction cases, you should employ a professional process server and experienced legal professionals. Professional process servers are important to ensure that the court does not dismiss your case for improper service. Legal professionals are important for drafting and filing the affidavits required to perfect service.
After you file your eviction complaint with the court, you will receive a summons from the court. Minn. Stat. § 504B.321, subd. 1(c). You must serve the summons and complaint on the defendants at least seven days before the hearing. Minn. Stat. § 504B.331(a). The summons cannot be served by any named party; a neutral third party must serve the summons. Id.; Minn. R. Civ. P. 4.02.
If your third-party process server cannot personally serve the defendants, you have the option of posting and mailing the summons to perfect service. Minn. Stat. § 504B.331(d). Doing so requires strict compliance with the eviction statutes. Koski v. Johnson, A12-2274, at *8 (Minn. Ct. App. Sept. 23, .2013). First, the summons must be served by posting “in a conspicuous place on the property for not less than one week . . . .” Minn. Stat. § 504B.331(d). Second, your process server must attempt personal service at the property “at least twice on different days, with at least one of the attempts having been made between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. . . .” Minn. Stat. § 504B.331(d)(1)(ii). Third, you must file an affidavit stating that the defendants cannot be found. Minn. Stat. § 504B.331(d)(2)(i). Fourth, you must mail a copy of the summons to the defendants at their last known address. Minn. Stat. § 504B.331(d)(2)(ii). The plaintiff in Koski v. Johnson, for example, lost his case because he did not mail the summons to the defendant and because he did not file the affidavit of not found. A12-2274, at *6.
Even this article cannot cover all of the intricacies of the service in eviction actions. These intricacies underscore the importance of using an experienced law firm and a professional process server when commencing an eviction action.