Last week, we talked about the reasons a landlord can file
an eviction action; nonpayment of rent, lease violations, illegal activities or a holdover tenant.
Once that’s established, what comes next? If the property is in Hennepin County, the property owner, his or her attorney, representative or designated agency with Power-of-Attorney may file the complaint at the Public Service Level of the Hennepin County Government Center
The property owner should be sure to bring all appropriate paperwork to the Center, including a copy of the original lease. It’s also helpful to have the tenant’s full name and date of birth. The plaintiff must also provide the full address of the property involved, and the facts which authorize filing the complaint. The court will also charge a filing fee, which in Hennepin County is presently $252.
If only it were that easy, right? The landlord also needs to show that he disclosed in writing to the tenant and posted in a conspicuous place somewhere in the building the name and address of those people authorized to collect rent, as well as receive notices and demands.
This language is usually included in the standard MHA lease. And a sign in the lobby of the building bearing the name and address of the management company usually resolves these issues. As the law requires the tenant know this information at least 30 days prior to eviction, it is paramount to share it with tenants upon move in.
The tenant must then be served a summons, which is legal written notice that a court action has been filed and will be heard by a judge on a specific day.
It is the property owner’s responsibility to serve the tenant with a summons. However, the owner himself cannot do this. He must have a disinterested third party hand it to the tenant. This could be the sheriff (which usually involves an additional fee) or a friend. The summons has to be served at least seven days before the court date, and the owner must provide the court with an affidavit it has been served at least three days prior to the hearing.
So what if the tenant can’t find found? First, the person serving the tenant must make two attempts, on different days, with at least one of those occurring during the evening. Once that’s been completed, the property owner or his representative can mail the summons to the tenant’s last known address; which is usually the rental unit itself. Again, that seems too easy; so the court wants the owner to file and notarize an Affidavit of Not Found, Affidavit of Plaintiff and Affidavit of Mailing.
The court action usually occurs at the county government center within 14 days of filing. It’s important to remember that all of the appropriate notices must be filed one week prior.
If the judge finds in the landlord’s favor, A Writ of Recovery of Premises and Order to Vacate may be obtained for a writ fee at the government center. The sheriff has to serve or post this notice. Once that’s completed, the tenant has 24 hours to vacate the premises. Any personal effects left behind must be stored for 90 days.
The landlord must also file in conciliation court to reclaim the monies owed him; that is, provided the tenant owed less than $7500.
Sounds like a lot of work, right? There are alternatives, which I’ll chronicle later in the week.