Hennepin Housing Court

Hennepin County District Court »

Housing Court is part of the Civil Division and handles cases involving landlord and tenant disputes. It is governed by Minn. Stat. Chapter 504B and the Housing Court Rules.

Attorneys and government agencies must use the eFile & eServe system to file documents in Housing Court.
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Filing an Eviction

An eviction action is a lawsuit filed by a landlord who is asking the court to determine if the tenant should be evicted or has a legal right to remain on the property. If you do not agree with the complaint, or if you do not believe that you should be evicted, or if you need more time to move, you must come to court.

Possible reasons for filing an eviction:
  • Non-payment of rent (most common)
  • Not moving after receiving proper notice or after lease has expired
  • Cancellation of a "contract for deed"
  • Mortgage foreclosure
  • Lease violation - including drug related

​Filing an Eviction Complaint

Who may file:
  • Property owner;
  • Owner represented by an attorney who will file;
  • Owner represented by someone who will file;
  • Person entitled to possession of the property;
  • Owner represented by a designated agent with a Power of AuthorityNOTE: Agents may not conduct a jury trial or appeal in the Appellate or Supreme Court.
Required notice of landlord's contact information:
The law in Minn. Stat. § 504B.181 requires that a landlord inform the tenant in writing about the following information, and post the information in a noticeable place in the building:
  • Name, address of the authorized manager of the building;
  • Name, address of the owner of the building or the authorized agent who collects rent and is responsible for notices and demands;
  • Statement of your compliance with this law on the complaint form.
The landlord must comply with the law or the eviction complaint may be dismissed unless you can prove that the tenant has known about the information for at least 30 days before you filed the complaint.
 
Complete the forms:
  • Follow the Eviction Complaint Instructions.
  • List the approximate date the tenant signed the lease or occupied the property.
  • List the complete address of the property, including any identifying information.
  • List the length and terms of the lease or if the lease is "month-to-month."
  • Identify the owner of the property and the legal relationship to the person signing the complaint.
  • Indicate that you have followed the law of Minn. Stat. § 504B.181.
  • Give your reason(s) for wanting the tenant evicted.
Procedures:
  • File original complaint document on floor C-3 of the Hennepin County Government Center.
  • If a written lease is involved, attach a copy of the lease to the complaint.
  • File one copy of the complaint for each defendant named and one additional copy.
  • Pay the filing fee (check made to: District Court Administrator).
Summons:
A summons is a legal, written notice informing the defendant (tenant) that a court action has been started and that the claim will be heard on a specific day. It also states that if the defendant disagrees with the action or wants to tell a different side of the story, s/he must appear in court at that time. After the complaint has been completed, the court prepares a summons and several copies, and gives them to the person (plaintiff) who filed the complaint.

Service of Process:
  • The plaintiff may not serve the summons.
  • Service of the summons must be completed at least seven (7) days before the hearing date.
  • A summons may not be served on legal holidays.
  • An affidavit of service must be filed with the court three (3) business days before the court date.
How to serve the Summons:
  • Personal Service: Another adult who is not a party to the case may hand the summons directly to the defendant at least seven days before the court date.
  • Substitute Service: Another adult who is not a party to the case may deliver the summons by leaving a copy of the summons with another responsible person who lives with the defendant. This person is then responsible for delivering the summons to the defendant.
  • Mailing and Posting: Posting is used as a form of service when the defendant(s) cannot be found and if personal or substitute service has been attempted at least twice on different days with at least one of the attempts having been made between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
All of the following steps must be completed at least seven (7) days before the hearing:
  • The plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney mails a copy of the Summons and Complaint to the defendant’s last known address.
  • Process server has made at least two (2) attempts at service at the premises. Attempts must be on different days, with one attempt between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
  • Process server completes notarized Affidavit of Not Found.
  • Plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney completes notarized Affidavit of Plaintiff (states defendant can not be found)
  • Plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney at law who mailed the Summons completes notarized Affidavit of Mailing.
  • The Affidavit of Not Found, Affidavit of Plaintiff, and the Affidavit of Mailing are filed with the Court
After these steps are completed and the affidavits are filed, then:
  • The Process Server "posts" the Summons and Complaint in an easy to notice place on the premises (rental property). This must occur at least seven (7) days before the hearing.
  • Process server must complete an Affidavit of Service by Posting, and file it with the court at least three (3) working days before the hearing.
Eviction Hearing in Housing Court
Housing Court eviction hearing are held at the Hennepin County Government Center, Floor C-3, 300 South 6th Street, Minneapolis, MN. A hearing date is assigned at the time of filing the complaint, and the hearing is held within 14 days of the filing date. Need an interpreter? If you need interpreter services at the hearing, call the court right away (612) 348-6000. The court generally needs 48 hours notice to provide an interpreter.

If the landlord wins the case, the court will issue a Writ of Recovery and Order to Vacate,which is a legal notice ordering the defendant (tenant) to move from the property described in the eviction complaint. The landlord (or agent) may pick up the writ at the Housing Court on floor C-3 of the Hennepin County Government Center and pay the writ fee. The writ must be given to the sheriff's office to be served on the defendant. If the sheriff cannot serve the writ notice personally, they may post it in a visible location on the property described in the complaint. The tenant has 24 hours to move from the property. If the tenant disobeys the notice, the landlord may contact the sheriff at (612) 348-6759.

You can learn more about the process on the sheriff's Writs of Execution webpage, and by reading the law on recovering property through a Writ of Recovery in Minn. Stat. § 504B.365
 
How to Recover Unpaid Rent
Claims for rent and other money that total less than $15,000.00 may be recovered by filing a case in Conciliation Court.  Claims over $15,000 must be filed in Civil Court.

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Records

The management of court records is controlled by the Records Retention Schedule for the MN Judicial Branch, and the law at Minn. Stat. § 138.17 on keeping and destroying public records.

Housing Court files are generally open to the public. See the MN Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch. There is no charge to look at a file or court record.
 
How to Get Court Records

Online
MNCIS - MPA Remote
is the public, online version of the MN Court Information System (MNCIS), where you can search case information online. Note: There are limits to what can be viewed online that are described in the MN Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch. Online records do not include street addresses for parties, or document images.

At the Courthouse
People can search court records and view documents online using public-access computers located in the District Court Records Center on the B-Level and on floor C-3 in the Hennepin County Government Center. If you want to get a copy of a document from a court file, there are fees for plain and certified copies.
 
By Mail
Find instructions on the Copies of Court Records tab on the main Records Center webpage.

For details on how to find records for other types of cases in the Hennepin Court, please visit our main Records Center page. 

Start a filing

Emergency Tenant Remedies Action (ETRA)
An Emergency Tenant Remedy Action, or ETRA, is an action a tenant may file for emergency relief under Minn. Stat. § 504B.395, subdivision 1.  A person may file an ETRA to petition the court for relief in cases of emergencies that include but are not limited to:
  • Loss of Running Water
  • Loss of Hot Water
  • Loss of Heat
  • Loss of Electricity
  • Loss of Sanitary Facilities (i.e. toilet, shower/bathtub, etc.)
  • Loss of Other Essential Services or Facilities that the landlord is responsible for providing to the tenant
In order to file an ETRA, the tenant must do the following: Once the petition is filed, the referee will review the petition to determine if an emergency hearing is needed. 
 
These matters are typically scheduled quickly.  If the court determines there is a problem caused by the landlord, the court will order the problem to be corrected immediately.  Once the hearing is held, the court will decide how to proceed with the case.
 

Tenant Remedy Action (TRA)

A Tenant Remedy Action, or TRA, is an action that is similar in nature to a Rent Escrow, but typically contains more complicated procedures than a Rent Escrow Action per Minn.Stat. § 504B.395.  Typically a Tenant Remedy Action may be regarding issues such as…
  • A health or housing code violation
  • A violation of the Landlord's obligation to keep the rental unit in reasonable repair
  • A violation of an oral or written rental agreement or lease
Sometimes a non-profit or city can bring the action forward on behalf of the entire building’s tenants with a TRA.  

Before bringing forward a TRA to court, a tenant should talk to the landlord about the needed repairs and try to get the landlord to fix them.  If the landlord does not make the repairs within a reasonable time, the tenant should do the following:
 
  1. Notify the local housing, health, energy or fire inspector (If there is one)
  2. Get a written copy of the inspector’s report.  This describes the problem and allows the landlord a certain number of days to repair it.  If no inspector has been used, the tenant must inform the landlord, in writing, of the repair problem at least 14 days before filing the TRA.
  3. Wait for the required time to pass and if the repair work has not begun or progressed, bring the TRA to district court.  In court, the tenant must produce evidence that the problem exists and provide the inspector’s report (if there is one).  The tenant must also explain how the problem can be fixed.
Note: You may be required to pay your rent into court before your hearing takes place.
 

Rent Escrow

A Rent Escrow Action is an action or petition that may be filed by a tenant that involves non-emergency repairs per Minn. Stat. § 504B.385.  A Rent Escrow action is intended to remedy non-emergency repairs that impair the enjoyment or habitability of the property.  These non-emergency repairs may include but are not limited to:
  • Fire Prevention Violation
  • Bed Bugs
  • Housing Maintenance Violations
  • Vermin Infestations
NOTE: For issues regarding loss of water, heat, or immediate sanitary health of the tenants or other essential services or facilities provided by the landlord, an Emergency Tenant Remedy Action should be filed.
 
Rent Escrow actions may be filed after following specific procedures.  For specific requirements to file a rent escrow action, see Minn. Stat. § 504B.385.
 
To file a Rent Escrow Action, the tenant must do the following:
  • Pay the filing fee (unless the filing fee is ordered waived due to low income)
  • Complete an Affidavit of Rent Escrow, providing the address of the property owner and agent, manager or caretaker, if different from the owner (No P.O. Boxes)
  • Provide the court with a copy of a letter sent to the landlord, at least 14 days prior to filing the Rent Escrow case, detailing the non-emergency repair issue(s) that need to be remedied, or a certified copy of a housing inspector’s report
  • Pay into court any rent that is due to the landlord prior to the hearing date (cash or certified funds only)
After this all has been done, the Housing Court clerk’s office will schedule a date 10 to 14 days from the day the filing was accepted.
 
If the repair amount is $15,000 or less, the court will serve notice of the action on the landlord by mail.  If the repair amount is over $15,000, the filing party (tenant) must arrange to have another adult who is not involved in the case serve notice on the landlord.
 

Expungements

Learn how to Expunge an Eviction or Housing Court Record » 
 
What should I do after I get an expungement?
  • Check the court records to be sure that the expunged case is no longer public.
  • Ask the court clerk for the instructions and forms packet on “Notifying Tenant Screening Companies About Your Expungement.”
What can I do if the court does not grant my request for an expungement?
  • If your request is denied because of lack of service or untimely service, you will have to begin again by re-filing your Motion for Expungement. However, excessive re-filings may result in the assessment of sanctions against the filing party.
  • If your request is denied for other reasons, you may want to consult an attorney to see if you have other options.

Lockouts

UNLAWFUL EXCLUSION OR REMOVAL; ACTION FOR RECOVERY OF POSSESSION
It is unlawful for a landlord to physically lock out a tenant from the tenant’s rental unit or otherwise prevent a tenant from living there (for example, by removing locks, doors, or windows from the rental unit) without a court order. A tenant who has been unlawfully locked out may petition the district court to get back in.
 
The petition must:
1. Provide a description of the rental unit.
2. Provide the owner’s name.
3. State the facts that make the lockout or exclusion unlawful.
4. Request that the tenant be given possession of the unit.
 
If the court agrees with the tenant, it will order the sheriff to help the tenant get back in. If the court decides the landlord knew or should have known that the lockout or other exclusion was unlawful, the court can order the landlord to pay the tenant damages, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.

Respond to a filing

Eviction Information for Tenants
An eviction action is a legal action where a landlord files a written complaint with the court asking that the tenant be evicted (permanently removed) from the rental property. If the tenant does not agree with the complaint, believes he or she should not be evicted, or needs more time to move out, then the tenant must appear in court.

Learn more in the Eviction Law Fact Sheet »

IF YOU DO NOT COME TO COURT:
  •  You may lose the case;
  • Judgment may be entered against you ordering that you be evicted from your home, the judge can order you to move immediately;
  • If you don’t move, the sheriff can move you and your family out and can place all of your belongings into storage.
  • You could have an eviction action on your rental history for ten years; possibly making it more difficult for you to rent in the future.
YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO:
  • Come to court and tell your side of the case;
  • Prove to the court that your landlord does not have the right to evict you;
  • Ask the court to allow up to seven (7) days to move. Tell the court why you need extra time; reasons include circumstances regarding young children, disabled or elderly family members. The court allows more than seven (7) days to move only if your landlord agrees to it;
Get legal advice and other help at the Housing Court Project.

Interpreter services – If you need an interpreter in court, please call the Housing Court at (612)348-6000 right away so that an interpreter can be scheduled.

WHEN YOU ARE BEING EVICTED FOR NOT PAYING RENT:
  •  Bring the rent money to court with the court fees listed on the complaint. Bring your money in the form of cash or certified check;
  • If you do not have the money, you may be eligible for financial help. Call Hennepin County Economic Assistance at (612) 596-1300 or United Way 211 at (612) 335-5000 to learn about rent assistance;
  • If you have not paid your rent and your apartment is not in reasonable repair, you must bring the rent to court and tell the court about the repairs needed.
YOU MAY HAVE OTHER DEFENSES TO THE EVICTION ACTION, SUCH AS:
  • Court papers were not properly served;
  • You did not violate your rental agreement;
  • Landlord did not give you proper notice to move;
  • Landlord is retaliating (getting even);
  • Apartment is not in reasonable repair;
  • Landlord is discriminating against you because of race, sex, marital status, religion, national origin, disability, affectional preference or qualification for public assistance or welfare.
HOW TO GET READY FOR COURT:
  • Read both the Summons and Complaint carefully to find the hearing date, time and location, as well as the reason the landlord wants to evict you from your residence;
  • Write down a response to the complaint. Decide what to tell the court about your case;
  • If you have young children, please arrange for someone else to care for them while you are in court; you may be in court for several hours;
  • Arrive to court on time. If you are late, the hearing may start without you and you could be ordered to move out of your home.
WHAT TO BRING TO COURT:
  • Your court papers;
  • Rent that you owe in the form of cash or cashier’s check;
  • Receipt or canceled check to prove payment;
  • Your lease and other papers that you signed to rent your place;
  • Your notice to move;
  • Witnesses, pictures, inspection orders and other documents, that support your case;
  • Your written response to the reason your landlord wants to evict you.
THE COURTROOM PROCESS:
  • All cases are heard by a referee in Housing Court located on the 3rd floor of the C Tower in the Hennepin County Government Center.
  • Volunteer mediators are available to help you and your landlord settle your case at the time of your court hearing. Tell the courtroom clerk at check-in if you want a mediator.
  • If you are out of the courtroom or late when your case is called, you may lose your case. The landlord may get a 24-hour eviction notice from the court.
  • If you wrote a response (Answer) to your landlord’s complaint, file the Answer, with the filing fee, at the front counter of Housing Court. Give a copy of the Answer to your landlord before the hearing starts.
  • If you need more time to move, tell the court your reason. Acceptable reasons include circumstances regarding young children, elderly or disabled family members;
  • If you want a jury trial, you may have to pay a jury fee.
Learn more in the booklet How to Prepare for Trial in Housing Court »

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Records

Online
MNCIS - MPA Remote is the public, online version of the MN Court Information System (MNCIS), where you can search case information online. Note: There are limits to what can be viewed online that are described in the MN Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch. Online records do not include street addresses for parties, or document images.

At the Courthouse
People can search court records and view documents online using public-access computers located in the District Court Records Center on the B-Level and on floor C-3 in the Hennepin County Government Center. If you want to get a copy of a document from a court file, there are fees for plain and certified copies.

By Mail
Find instructions on the Copies of Court Records tab on the main Records Center webpage.

For details on how to find records for other types of cases in the Hennepin Court, please visit our main Records Center page.

Mediation

In mediation, you meet with the other party and a mediator. The purpose of the meeting is to try to reach an agreement between you and the other party to settle the dispute. The mediator is not a judge and will not decide on the solution, but will help the parties reach an agreement. 

Hennepin County District Court encourages the use of mediation to settle your dispute. Benefits of Mediation
  • Parties reach their own agreement
  • Quick
  • Equal say in the solution
  • Less stress
  • Informal
  • Enhances possibility of a workable future relationship
Examples of Disputes Where Mediation May Help
  • Non-payment of rent
  • Repair and maintenance issues
  • Lease violations
Mediation Programs in Hennepin County
For more information or to get started with mediation, call one of the numbers listed below or another mediation provider of your choice. You do not have to file a case in court to use mediation.

Conflict Resolution Center (formerly Minneapolis Mediation Program)
Serves residents of Minneapolis, St. Anthony, Richfield, Bloomington, Burnsville, Edina and Eden Prairie
Phone: (612) 822-9883
Fax: (612) 822-9890
Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Community Mediation & Restorative Services, Inc.
Serves Hennepin County
Phone: (763) 561-0033
Fax: (763) 561-0266
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
 

Trials

How to Represent Yourself in Housing Court
 For information about how to prepare for a trial, please review How to Prepare for Trial in Housing Cases and learn more about Representing Yourself in Court.

Glossary

Housing Court Glossary

Affidavit:
any written document in which the signer swears under oath before a notary public or someone authorized to take oaths (like a County Clerk), that the statements in the document are true. In many states a declaration under penalty of perjury, which does not require the oath-taking before a notary, is the equivalent of an affidavit.

Expungement: removing the record of a case from the public view.

Hearing: any proceeding before a judge or other judicial officer without a jury in which evidence and/or argument is presented to determine some issue of fact or both issues of fact and law.

In Forma Pauperis: Latin for "in the form of a pauper," referring to a party to a lawsuit who gets filing fees waived by filing a declaration of lack of funds (has no money to pay).

Initial Appearance: First court hearing a party may have.

Mediation: the attempt to settle a legal dispute through active participation of a third party (mediator) who works to find points of agreement and make those in conflict agree on a fair result.

Motion: a formal request made to a judge for an order or judgment. Motions are made in court all the time for many purposes: to continue (postpone) a trial to a later date, to get a modification of an order, for a judgment, for dismissal of the opposing party's case, for a rehearing, for sanctions (payment of the moving party's costs or attorney's fees), or for dozens of other purposes. Most motions require a written petition, a written brief of legal reasons for granting the motion (often called "points and authorities"), written notice to the attorney for the opposing party and a hearing before a judge. However, during a trial or a hearing, an oral motion may be permitted.

Referee: A judicial officer who presides over civil hearings but usually does not have the authority or power to render judgment.
 
  • Referees are appointed by the chief judge in a judicial district in which the judge presides. Referees aid the judge by hearing certain matters and by making recommendations concerning special or complicated issues.
Rent abatement: A return of rent paid for a unit that was in disrepair.
 

Housing Court Forms

Housing Court Forms (Landlord/Tenant) »

The MN Judicial Branch Court Forms Catalog has statewide forms that may be used in any district court location. However, if your case is in Hennepin County, make sure you download the District 4 version if it listed in the catalog. Otherwise, you may use the statewide version.

Related: Other Hennepin County District Court Forms

Housing Court Project

Tenants and landlords who meet low-income guidelines can get their legal questions answered for free on a walk-in basis at the Hennepin County Housing Court Project, which is a joint effort of Hennepin County, the 4th District Housing Court, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, and the Volunteer Lawyers Network. The Housing Court Project offers the following services:

Help with Housing Issues
  • Emergency Repairs
  • Expungement of Record
  • Lock Outs
  • Service Issues
  • Evictions
  • Lease Violations
  • Repair Problems
The Housing Court Project is for advice only. It is best to get legal advice before your court date. Referrals are available to full representation legal services.

At the Housing Court Project clinic, tenants and landlords with low income who live in Hennepin County can get free legal advice consults on a first-come, first-served basis at the hours listed below. The clinic is on the 3rd floor of the C tower in the Hennepin County Government Center located at 300 S. 6th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55487.

To use the clinic, a tenant must have low income and live in Hennepin County. To use the clinic, a landlord must have low income and live in the rental property located in Hennepin County. The property title must be recorded in the landlord's name, not as a business.

Clinic Hours:
Monday
12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon
12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon
12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Thursday
12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Friday
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon
12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
 
Location:
4th District Housing Court
Hennepin County Govt. Center
300 S. 6th St., 3rd floor in C-tower
Minneapolis, MN 55487  Map » 
 
Need a Lawyer to Handle Your Case?
Hennepin County Government Center

4th District Housing Court

Hennepin County Govt. Center
300 South 6th Street, C-300
Minneapolis, MN 55487 Map »
Courtrooms: Floor C3
Phone: (612) 348-5186
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday
Closed Holidays

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