Unlawful Detainer Actions


An Unlawful Detainer Action is required in order to evict a tenant from rental property. Minnesota Statutes Chapter 504B regulates these actions.

There are four common reasons for evicting a tenant:

  1. Delinquent rent payments.
  2. Violation of lease provisions.
  3. Failure to move after thirty (30) day written notice.
  4. Landlord is notified by law enforcement authorities of narcotics sales or activities on the tenant’s premises.

To commence an Unlawful Detainer Action the property owner (plaintiff) must file a "Complaint In Unlawful Detainer" with the Court Administrator.

When a complaint has been filed, the Court Administrator 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 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 the Court Administrator before the date of the court hearing.

The Pine County Sheriff’s Office – Civil Division can serve the papers on the tenant/defendant. The original Summons, plus copies of the Summons and Complaint for the defendants should be delivered to the Pine County Sheriff’s Office – Civil Division as soon as the plaintiff receives them.

If a Sheriff’s Deputy does not find the defendants at home after making attempts on at least two different days, one day before 6:00 p.m. and one day after 6:00 p.m., the Deputy will post the Summons and Complaint on the door of the premises involved in the Unlawful Detainer Action.

The Deputy will complete the appropriate Affidavits and the original Summons and Affidavit will be filed with the Court Administrator’s Office by the Sheriff’s Office.

The plaintiff should mail a copy of the Summons and Complaint to each defendant by first class mail immediately after giving the original to the Sheriff. The plaintiff must complete and file a notarized Affidavit of Mailing with the Court Administrator. If posting is required, the court file will be checked to ensure the Affidavit of Mailing is on file with the court at least three days before the hearing.