To evict a tenant in Minnesota, a landlord must follow all the rules and procedures set forth by Minnesota law for evictions. Otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. This article will explain the basic rules and procedures landlords and property managers must follow when evicting a tenant in Minnesota.
To evict a tenant before the term of the tenancy has expired, a landlord must have legal cause. The most common legal cause is the tenant's failure to pay rent, followed closely by violating the lease or rental agreement. In most states, the landlord must give the tenant notice before terminating the tenancy and filing the eviction lawsuit. However, in Minnesota, the landlord is not required to give the tenant any notice before filing an eviction lawsuit. As soon as the tenant pays rent late or violates the lease or rental agreement, the landlord can go to court and file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant, thereby terminating the tenancy (see Minn. Stat. Ann. § § 504B.291 and504B.285). Eviction Notices for Nonpayment of Rent in Minnesota has more information.
The only exception is that a landlord must give a 14-day notice to a tenant who fails to pay rent and is at will, meaning there is no lease or rental agreement. This applies most often to tenants who are month-to-month. If a month-to-month tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord must give the tenant a 14-day notice to quit before filing an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see Minn. Stat. Ann. § 504B.135).
If a landlord wants a tenant to move out of a rental unit but the landlord does not have legal cause to file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant, the landlord must wait until the term of the tenancy expires. In some cases, the landlord will still need to give the tenant written notice to move.
If the landlord wants to end a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord will need to give the tenant a written notice to vacate. The amount of time on the notice must be either three months or the length of time between when rent is due, whichever is less. If the tenant does not move out by the end of the notice period, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see Minn. Stat. Ann. § 504B.135). Minnesota Notice Requirements to Terminate a Month-to-Month Tenancy has more information on the subject.
If the tenant has a fixed-term lease but the landlord does not have cause to evict the tenant, the landlord must wait until the lease term has ended before expecting the tenant to move. Unless the lease specifically says otherwise, the landlord is not required to give the tenant a written notice to move. The landlord can expect that the tenant will move out of the rental unit by the end of the term, unless the landlord and the tenant have agreed otherwise.
A tenant may decide to fight against an eviction lawsuit, even if the landlord has valid legal cause to support the eviction. The tenant may also have a valid legal defense, such as, the landlord discriminating against the tenant or the landlord failing to maintain the rental unit. The tenant’s decision to defend against the lawsuit could increase the cost of the eviction and increase the amount of time the tenant remains in the rental unit. Tenant Defenses to Evictions in Minnesota has more information.
The only way to legally evict a tenant is for the landlord to win an eviction lawsuit. However, even after the landlord wins the eviction, the landlord must not try to remove the tenant. That can only be done by a law enforcement officer. It is illegal for a landlord to ever attempt to force a tenant to move out of a rental unit, and the tenant can sue the landlord for trying. Illegal Eviction Procedures in Minnesota explains more about this.
After the tenant is evicted, the landlord may find that the tenant has left behind personal property at the rental unit. Before the landlord can sell or otherwise dispose of the tenant’s personal property, the landlord must store the property for 28 days. If the landlord does not hear from the tenant during those 28 days, then the landlord can dispose of the property. The landlord can sue the tenant for the cost of storage.
If the landlord is going to sell the property, the landlord must notify the tenant at least 14 days before the sale. If the tenant claims the property during that 14-day period, then the landlord must not sell the property (see Minn. Stat. Ann. § 504B.271).
Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Minnesota law when evicting a tenant; otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. Although these rules and procedures may seem burdensome to the landlord, they are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, and the end result is serious: the tenant has lost a place to live. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new home.