In Minnesota, a landlord may only evict a residential or commercial tenant by bringing a court action called an unlawful detainer proceeding. In fact, any party who wants to take possession of a space from another person must first go to court.
The landlord commences an eviction proceeding by filing a summons and complaint with the court. The court will schedule a date for a first hearing within a few weeks after the complaint is filed. The summons and complaint must be personally served on the tenant prior to the date of the hearing.
The purpose of the first hearing is to determine whether the tenant disputes the grounds for eviction. If the tenant does not appear at the hearing, the court will issue an eviction Order. The court may stay an eviction order for up to seven days after the hearing date. It is not uncommon for a landlord and a tenant to meet prior to the first hearing and negotiate a settlement, such as the tenant being granted additional time to pay past due rent or to stay in the property prior to vacating the property. If the parties agree to a settlement, they can appear at the hearing and inform the court of the settlement. The court can issue an order making the terms of the settlement enforceable by the parties. This can be a quick and efficient Way to resolve an eviction action.
In the event the tenant appears at the first hearing and disputes the grounds for eviction, the court will schedule a trial date. A trial date will usually be scheduled within one week of the date of the first hearing. At the trial, the landlord will have an opportunity to submit evidence to support his/her eviction claim, and the tenant will have the right to submit testimony and evidence to dispute the claim. A tenant has the right to a jury trial, but this rarely happens in an eviction proceeding. The court usually renders a decision on the case.
If a tenant loses an eviction case and an eviction order is issued against the tenant, the eviction order becomes a public court record against the tenant. It has become standard practice for landlords to investigate public court records against perspective tenants prior to entering into a lease, so an eviction order against a tenant may make it harder for the tenant to rent property in the future.