If you are a property owner who has struggled in recent months with tenants who would not or could not pay their rent, you may be relieved to know that most temporary restrictions on the eviction process in Minnesota have been lifted. By summer, landlords will reclaim the right to take action against renters who fail to live up to their end of the lease agreement.
However, this is often easier said than done. The eviction process can be complex and tedious, and a property owner or manager should be prepared for legal conflict. The best way to minimize the repercussions of any legal action from a tenant is to understand the law and process and to take each step carefully.
What to expect
Avoiding eviction benefits you as well as your tenants. If you can work things out with your renters, you can save yourself time, filing expenses as well as court costs. Nevertheless, a tenant who does not pay, shows no respect for other renters, causes damage or violates the lease in other ways may already be costing you money. While evicting a tenant is often a last resort, it can also be an effective way to attract and retain paying tenants. In general, eviction involves the following steps:
- Keeping careful records of every encounter with your tenants in case you should have trouble in the future
- Completing the necessary eviction forms and filing them with the appropriate justice court.
- Serving your tenant with a summons, using a personal or substituted service
- Receiving a court date for your trial
- Presenting evidence at trial that you have the right to regain possession of your property from the tenant
If you are successful at trial, the court will issue a Writ of Recovery, instructing the tenant to vacate the property. They will have 24 hours to move out unless they request a stay of execution, which will extend the time for seven days. When that deadline expires, law enforcement officers will execute a forcible eviction. You should not interfere with this process as it can be dangerous.
Protecting your rights
At various times during the process, your tenants may avoid eviction, for example by paying all back rent and fees. Without these reprieves, however, you can expect the process to take several months. The laws in Minnesota favor tenants, so you will likely benefit from having sound legal guidance through every step of this complex process.