Eviction Actions in Minnesota: Possession & Collection

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It is often said Eviction Actions/Housing Court are about "possession" not "collection." This is true, but at a certain point a tenant with little excess cash always makes a decision/calculation: Do I pay my significant back rent and stay OR pay nothing and wait this out to the very last day (Sheriff knocking on the door), move out, save my money, and apply it to life/next housing option?

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Best-PracticeThe Art of Eviction Actions

Believe it or not there is an Art (collect money) AND Science (knowledge of law) when processing Eviction Actions.  This is true if the contested issue is purely non-payment of rent for an otherwise good tenant.  It becomes even more true if a specific tenant is behind 2 or months of rent and remains in possession of the unit.

It is often said Eviction Actions/Housing Court are about “possession” not “collection.”  This is true, but at a certain point a tenant with little excess cash always makes a decision/calculation:  Do I pay my significant back rent and stay OR pay nothing and wait this out to the very last day (Sheriff knocking on the door), move out, save my money, and apply it to life/next housing option?

As an owner of rental property and also a Broker of rental properties, I know that cash is king.  Collecting most of the back rent plus court costs and keeping a tenant often times is a better overall result than paying to evict a tenant who then moves out without paying a dime and you are stuck with turnover costs and time to find another tenant.

The number one reason you file an eviction is to produce a Settlement Agreement backed by a Writ of Recovery.   These two documents combine to help you collect back rent that is enforceable by the sheriff without additional time in court.  A technique I often use is to add to the Settlement Agreement not only payment for back rent and fees, but on-time monthly payments for the next 3-4 months, also protected by a Writ of Recovery.  It is then black or white–tenant not only catches up in 7 days, but must stay on track a well.

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In 2018, residential rental properties face an environment of increasing regulation at all levels of government: local, state, and federal. After 15 years around multifamily