The Eviction Process in Minnesota

An overview of Minnesota eviction rules and procedures.

By , Attorney · University of Idaho College of Law
Updated by Ann O’Connell, Attorney · UC Berkeley School of Law

To evict a tenant in Minnesota, a landlord must follow all the rules and procedures set forth by Minnesota law for evictions. Otherwise, the court might kick the eviction lawsuit out of court, meaning that the landlord will have to start the process all over again. This article covers the basic rules and procedures landlords and property managers must follow when evicting a tenant in Minnesota.

Notice for Termination With Cause

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 a violation of the lease or rental agreement. The landlord must give the tenant notice before terminating the tenancy and filing the eviction lawsuit. The type of notice depends on the situation.

  • Unpaid rent. If a tenant doesn't pay rent on the date it's due, the landlord can give the tenant a 14-day notice to pay rent or quit (move out). The notice must state the total amount due; an accounting of the amount of the total due from unpaid rent, late fees, and other charges under the lease; the name and address of the person authorized to receive rent and fees; specific statements required by Minnesota law; and a statement that the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit 14 days after the date of the notice if the tenant doesn't pay rent or move out. (Minn. Stat. § 504B.321 (2024).)
  • Violation of the lease. For violations of the lease, the landlord doesn't have to give the tenant notice or the opportunity to fix the violation. Instead, the landlord can immediately file an eviction lawsuit. An appearance in court will be not less than 7 or more than 14 days from the issuing of the summons in the case. A landlord can request an expedited hearing when the basis for the eviction is that the tenant is engaging in behavior that endangers health and safety or property. (Minn. Stat. §§ 504B.171, 504B.285, 504B.321 (2024).)

Notice for Termination Without Cause

If a landlord wants a tenant to move out of a rental unit but the landlord doesn't 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.

Month-to-Month Rental Agreement

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. (Minn. Stat. § 504B.135 (2024).)

Alternatively, if the rental agreement provides a time period for the landlord to give notice to end the tenancy or to raise the rent, and this notice period is different from the time period that the tenant must give to end the tenancy, the landlord must give a notice to end the tenancy that is equal to either:

  • the time period provided in the rental agreement for the tenant to to give notice, or
  • the time period provided in the rental agreement for the landlord to give a notice to end the tenancy OR a notice of a rent increase.

(Minn. Stat. § 504B.147 (2024).)

If the tenant doesn't move out by the end of the notice period, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit.

Fixed-Term Lease

If the tenant has a fixed-term lease but the landlord doesn't 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 isn't 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.

Tenant Eviction Defenses

A tenant may decide to fight against an eviction lawsuit, even if the landlord has valid legal cause to support the eviction. The tenant might also have a valid legal defense such as the landlord illegally 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.

Removal of the Tenant

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 can't be the one to physically remove the tenant or the tenant's belongings—only law enforcement officers can enforce an eviction order (called a "Writ of Recovery"). It is illegal for a landlord to attempt to force a tenant to move out of a rental unit, and the tenant can sue the landlord for trying. (Minn. Stat. § 504B.365 (2024).)

If the tenant's personal property must be moved out of the rental, the law enforcement office will remove it at the landlord's expense. The evicted tenant must make immediate payment for all the expenses of removing and storing the property. If the ex-tenant doesn't pay, the landlord has a lien on all the property for the amount of the landlord's expenses. The landlord can enforce the lien by holding the property until paid.

If the tenant doesn't pay within 60 days after the execution of the writ of recovery, the landlord can sell the property.

If the tenant's personal property will be kept somewhere at the rental premises, the law enforcement officer can let the landlord in to relocate the property. The landlord must make an inventory of the property and send it to the former tenant. The inventory must be prepared, signed, and dated in the presence of the law enforcement officer, and must include statutorily required details about the removal and storage of the property.

When the ex-tenant makes a demand for the property, the landlord must return it once the ex-tenant pays the cost of removing and storing it. The landlord can't require the tenant to pay any unpaid rent or other charges; instead, the landlord must sue separately to recover those amounts. (Minn. Stat. § 504B.365 (2024).)

Rationale for the Rules

Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Minnesota law when evicting a tenant; otherwise, the eviction might not be valid. Although these rules and procedures can 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.

For more details on the Minnesota eviction process and forms you can use, see the Minnesota Courts' Eviction Action Complaint Instructions pamphlet.

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