Unlawful detainer action

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:

  • Delinquent rent payments
  • Violation of lease provisions
  • Failure to move after 30-day written notice
  • 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 Rice County 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 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 Rice County Sheriff's Office – Civil Department 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 Rice County Sheriff's Office – Civil Department as soon as the plaintiff receives them.

If a deputy does not find the defendants at home after making attempts on at least two different days, one day before 6 p.m. and one day after 6 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.


If a judge finds in favor of the plaintiff at the hearing, a writ of recovery will be authorized. This is an Order for the Sheriff to restore the premises to the plaintiff.

The writ must be taken to the Rice County Sheriff's Office – Civil Department for service. A deputy will serve the Writ on the defendants if they are home, or it will be posted on the door of the premises. In either case, the defendants will be provided with a 24-hour notice advising that the sheriff can remove the defendant 24 hours after the writ is served or posted.

If the defendant fails to vacate the premises, the plaintiff must contact the Rice County Sheriff's Office - Civil Division at 507-332-6009 to schedule an eviction.

Charge for deputies to stand by for evictions is $75 per hour.