Commencing an Unlawful Detainer Action
An Unlawful Detainer Action is required in order to evict a tenant from rental property. Minnesota Statutes §§ 504B.281-504B.371 apply to these actions.
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office has information at www.ag.state.mn.us. If you go to the website, click on Publications, scroll down to Landlords & Tenants, and request the publication or read the information online.
- To commence an Unlawful Detainer Action, the property owner (plaintiff) must file a "Complaint In Unlawful Detainer" with District Court.
- When a complaint has been filed, District Court will establish a court date, issue a Summons, and provide the plaintiff with enough copies of the Summons and Complaint to serve each defendant. If the tenant has unknown parties living on the premises, the plaintiff can list John Doe, Mary Roe, etc., as additional defendants.
- The Summons and Complaint must be served on or posted for each tenant/defendant no less than seven (7) days before the court date, exclusive of the court date. The service must be made by a third person who is not part of the court action. A notarized Affidavit of Service must be filed with District Court before the date of the court hearing.
- The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office Civil Process Unit can serve the papers on the tenant(s)/defendant(s) or post at the premises. The original Summons, plus copies of the Summons and Complaint for each defendant, should be delivered to the Civil Process Unit as soon as the plaintiff receives them. Advance payment of service fees is required.
- The deputy will complete the appropriate Affidavits of Service. The Sheriff’s Office will submit to District Court the original Summons and Affidavits of Service.
If a judge finds in favor of the plaintiff at the hearing, a Writ of Recovery will be issued. This is an Order for the Sheriff to restore the premises to the plaintiff.
- The original Writ must be delivered to the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office Civil Process Unit along with payment of service fees immediately. The Writ is valid for thirty (30) days. A deputy will serve the Writ on the defendants/occupants if they are home, or it will be posted on the door of the premises. In either case, the defendants/occupants will be provided with a 24-hour notice, advising that the Sheriff’s Office can remove the defendants/occupants 24 hours after the Writ is served or posted.
- If the defendants/occupants fail to vacate the premises, it is the responsibility of the plaintiff to contact the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office Civil Process Unit to schedule a time for removal of the defendants/occupants and their property from the premises.
- It is responsibility of the plaintiff to be familiar with storage and movement of property laws.
For more information, please contact the Civil Process Unit at 651-266-9330.