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Housing Court - Eviction

An eviction action is a legal process in which a landlord files a request to the court to repossess a property.  The court decides if a tenant should be evicted or if a tenant has a legal right to remain on the property.  To file in Kandiyohi County, the property named in the complaint must be located within the county.

NOTE:  The information contained here is NOT legal advice.  If you do not understand this information, you are advised to consult an attorney.

General reason for filing for eviction:

  • The tenant failed to pay their rent (most common)
  • The tenant did not vacate the property after receiving proper notice
  • The tenant did not vacate the property after the lease expired
  • The tenant did not vacate the property after a Contract for Deed was cancelled
  • The tenant did not vacate the property after a mortgage foreclosure
  • The tenant violated a lease agreement.

An eviction action is to recover real property.  It is NOT intended to recover back rent.  If the amount of rent owing falls within the monetary jurisdiction of Conciliation Court, you may wish to start an action there for rent that is owed.  If the amount exceeds the jurisdictional limit of that court, you must file a District Court civil action for rent owed.

Who can file an Eviction action?

  • The property owner; or
  • An attorney representing the property owner; or
  • Another person representing the owner who is authorized to do so; or
  • A designated agent of the owner with power-of-attorney.

Compliance with Minn. Stat ยง504B.321
Minn. Stat. ยง504B.321 requires that you advise the tenant of the following in writing and post in a conspicuous place in the building:

  • Name and address of person authorized to manage the premises.
  • Name and address of the owner of the premises or their agent.

If you have not complied with this law, an eviction proceeding may be dismissed unless there is proof that the tenant had knowledge of this information for at least 30 days before the complaint was filed with the court.  When filing a eviction complaint, you must indicate on the complaint that you have complied with this law and you must be prepared to prove your statement to the court.

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The Eviction Complaint Form:
Forms may be obtained from court administration or from the Minnesota court forms website www.mncourts.gov, under the Housing, Eviction section.  Terms of the lease must be clearly stated on the complaint form.  To complete the complaint form you must know the following:

  • The approximate date the tenant entered into lease agreement or took occupancy.
  • The complete address of the plaintiff(s) (lessee/owner of the property)
  • Complete address of the defendants(s) (renter of the property)
  • The length and terms of the lease
  • The specific reason(s) for wanting tenant evicted.

The Eviction Summons:
The summons is a written notice that informs the defendant (renter) that a court action has been started and that the court will hear the case on a specific date and time.  It also directs that if the defendant disagrees with the allegations on the complaint or if the defendant wishes to offer an explanation, he/she must appear in court at the date and time specified on the summons.

Once you have completed the complaint and paid the court filing fee, a court deputy will prepare a summons and provide you copies of the summons and the complaint that you will use to serve the involved parties.

Service of the Summons and Complaint:
It is the plaintiff's responsibility to arrange service of the eviction summons and complaint on the defendant(s).  Service can be accomplished in any of the following three ways:

  1. Personal Service:  a sheriff or any other responsible person not named in the eviction complaint may serve the summons and complaint by handing it directly to the defendant.  The summons must be personally served on the defendant at least seven days before the date of the hearing.  You, the plaintiff, cannot serve the papers.  The person who served the defendant(s) must complete an Affidavit of Personal Service form and file it with the court three days prior to the hearing date.
  2. Substitute Service:  A process server can leave a copy of the summons and complaint at the defendant's usual residence with "a person of suitable age and discretion residing therein."  Again, service must be made at least seven days before the date of the hearing.  The person who served the defendant(s) must complete an Affidavit of Service and must file it with the court at least three days prior to the hearing date.
  3. Posting and Mailing:  If the defendant cannot be found or if personal service has been attempted at least twice on two different days (with at least one of the attempts having been made between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.), you may deliver the summons and complaint by way of mailing AND posting.  This method takes more time than personal service.  When mailing and posting, you (or the sheriff or process server) must:
           *  Obtain an "Affidavit of Mailing," from the court forms website, or from the court administrator's office.
           *   Promptly mail a copy of the summons and complaint to the defendant(s) at his/her last known address.
           *  Another copy of the summons and complaint must be posted in a conspicuous place on the defendant's premises for at least seven days before the hearing date.  The person who posted the summons and complaint must fill out the "Affidavit of Posting" and file it with the court at least three days prior to the scheduled court hearing.


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The Hearing:
You must report to court at the date and time noted on the summons.  Upon arriving at the courthouse, proceed to the courtroom and check in with the court deputy or the bailiff.  During the hearing, the judge will ask the defendant if he/she admits or denies the allegations.  Either the plaintiff or the defendant may request a court trial or jury trial if the matter cannot be resolved at the scheduled hearing.  The law requires the court or jury trial to be held within seven days of the hearing date unless there is an agreement to a later time.  If a trial is requested, a date and time will be provided to all parties before they leave the courthouse.

Upon conclusion of the case, the judge will make a decision and both the plaintiff and the defendant will receive a copy of the decision.  If the court decides in favor of the defendant, the case is over and the defendant may continue to reside on the property.  If the court decides in favor of the plaintiff and the defendant is ordered to vacate the property and refuses to do so, the plaintiff may request a Writ of Recovery.

A Writ of Recovery:
A Writ of Recovery is a legal document that orders the defendant to vacate the premises. The judge may stay the writ for a period of time.  The stayed period of time allows the defendant an opportunity to vacate the property on his or her own.  After the stayed period of time has passed and the defendant has failed to vacate the property as directed by the court, the plaintiff may request the court administrator's office to issue the writ.  The plaintiff must provide the original writ to the Sheriff's Department for service on the defendant.  Once the original writ has been served by the Sheriff on the defendant, the defendant has 24 hours to vacate the premises.  There is a fee for issuance of the writ.  The Sheriff also charges a fee to serve the writ.  If the defendant does not obey the writ, plaintiff should immediately contact the Sheriff's Department.

The information contained on this site is not intended as legal advice but as a general guide to explain the legal process.

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