Whether you manage one rental property or dozens, evicting a tenant can become a significant burden on a property owner’s or property manager’s time. The eviction process is basically the same whether the property in question is residential or commercial. It requires multiple steps that must be completed accurately and in a timely sequence over a period of weeks.
The ready availability of low-cost “eviction paperwork kits” makes it seem like the eviction process is simple, and with a cooperative tenant, a landlord would not even need those forms. The problem is, no one can predict when the landlord-tenant relationship will turn sour. Some tenants will purposely evade the service of legal notices and employ stalling tactics to delay eviction as long as possible. Before you realize it, what seemed like a simple process has become an expensive and annoying issue.
Hiring an experienced eviction attorney adept in landlord-tenant law will ensure that the correct legal process is followed so that problem tenants are swiftly removed and that your legal liability in pursuing an eviction matter is minimized.
NOTE: If the landlord is an LLC or Corporation, an attorney must handle court filings and trials.
Leasing property is a business and the presence of problem tenants can heavily disrupt your business. As experienced eviction attorneys, we understand how a tenant’s failure to pay rent or engagement in illegal activities can cause significant financial harm. While Minnesota law allows landlords to evict a tenant through unlawful detainer proceedings, these proceedings are complex and involve strict notice requirements and filing deadlines. Eviction can also cause a great deal of stress and you must follow the process systematically and correctly. All it takes is one typo to have the eviction nullified. An experienced eviction lawyer can more easily navigate these proceedings and avoid potential pitfalls in an increasingly tenant-friendly legal environment.
A landlord may file an eviction action for one of the following reasons:
At Toepfer at Law, PLLC, we provide complete legal counsel for real estate landlords in need. These services include, but are not limited to, a review of the lease agreement; analysis of various tenant issues that may not require an eviction case; and full representation throughout the eviction process. Through years of experience, our team understands that not all actions involving problem tenants require an eviction case, and this experience allows for creative solutions and legal advice regarding secondary issues ranging from security deposit disputes, nonpayment of rent, or potential violations of the rental agreement. Many landlord-tenant issues can be resolved prior to the filing of a court action and our law office often seeks those solutions as the most cost-effective. A tenant eviction should be a last resort, as the best way to keep business flowing may be to negotiate a voluntary termination of the tenancy rather than a forceful expulsion via eviction law.
An eviction action (formerly known as Unlawful Detainer) is a court action in which a landlord asks to recover possession of the apartment or rental home from a tenant. A landlord must follow the proper legal process, and may not forcibly remove the tenant, exclude the tenant from entering the building or rental unit, change the locks, or shut off the utilities.
It is important to serve the tenants properly when moving forward with the eviction process on tenants. Without proper service, the court will lack jurisdiction and the landlord may have to start over or ask the court to reissue the summons. An eviction proceeding begins by adhering to the following steps:
The complaint may be signed by the landlord, the attorney for the landlord (an attorney may be required if the landlord is a corporation), the person entitled to possession of the property, or an agent designated by the landlord (the agent must file a “Power of Authority in Eviction Action” with the court at the time of filing the complaint.
The court will issue you a summons, which is a written notice that informs the defendant (the tenant in this situation) that a legal action has been filed and will be heard on a specific day. You must serve the summons at least 7 days before the court date as required by MN statute, and proof of service must be filed with the court in accordance with local court rules.
If the landlord doesn’t serve the renter properly, the court will lack jurisdiction and the landlord may have to start over or ask the court to reissue the Summons.
If the tenant cannot be found in the county, service can be made on a person of suitable age and discretion who lives with the tenant. If serving by Mail and Post, the summons and complaint are mailed to the tenant’s last known address and posted at the premises. This procedure requires the preparation of affidavits, court filings of the affidavits, mailing, and posting in proper order. Failure to do the steps and filings in the correct order can result in a case getting dismissed.
At trial, the burden is on the landlord to show that he or she is entitled to regain possession of the premises. Proof is often shown through the use of witnesses with firsthand information, photographs, landlord testimony, and documents like the lease, payment records, and correspondence with the tenant. This process is why legal representation is paramount to a landlord’s success, as this process of argument is common practice for an experienced landlord-tenant lawyer.
If the landlord prevails at trial, a Writ of Recovery of Premises and Order to Vacate may be requested by the landlord for a fee. The sheriff must service the notice upon the tenant who then has 24 hours to vacate the premises. The court may suspend the issuance of the writ for up to 7 days upon showing by the tenant that immediate vacation of the premises would impose a substantial hardship.
If the tenant fails to comply with the demand to vacate the premises, the landlord must schedule a move-out date with the sheriff and notify the tenant of the time scheduled with the sheriff. The landlord may store the tenant’s personal property on the premises or use a licensed and bonded moving company to remove and store at another location. At this point in process landlord’s are often exhausted and would prefer that a law firm provide legal services to ensure this process if followed thoroughly and correctly with minimal stress. At Toepfer at Law, PLLC, we aim to solve your legal issue and provide holistic service for any landlord-tenant issue you may encounter.
Attorney Anthony (Tony) Toepfer began his legal career in the area of business and technology law. While successful in that field, he felt there was something missing. He turned down opportunities, because, as he says, “I wanted to see the faces of the people I was helping.” He transitioned into family law practice, and found what he was looking for.About Tony Toepfer