For many renters having a record of an eviction or unlawful detainer can create a hardship on the ability to rent in the future. Evictions often result in a public record that remains visible to potential landlords for as many as 10 years. Fortunately there is a process for clearing one’s record of an eviction called expungement provided by Minnesota Statute §484.014.
What does expungement mean?
Expungement is complete removal from public view of a court decision. In general, someone from the public such as prospective landlords or leasing agencies will not be able to see an eviction record.
Can any eviction be expunged?
Eviction expungements are only available in a limited amount of circumstances. Only in instances where the landlord had no legal basis for bringing an eviction action can the eviction case be expunged from public record. For example, even if a tenant wins an eviction case, there may be a visible public record of the case. In such case, the expungement will remove the case from public view so it does not blemish the renter’s future prospects of renting.
Usually an eviction cannot be expunged if the landlord won the case unless the landlord and tenant reach some agreement to expunge the eviction. Additionally, the law allows for exceptions to be made where an expungement would be in the best interests of justice and fairness. These cases can often be very complicated and a renter should seek advice from an attorney.
What is the process for expunging an eviction?
Each county inMinnesotamay have different requirements for expunging an eviction record. However, generally you must file a motion paper to the court that issued the eviction and pay a filing fee. Depending upon the county, the filing fee can be as much as $320.00, but it can also be waived if you have limited means to pay court fees. Consult with the court to ask for a fee waiver if you cannot afford the filing fee.
After you have filed your motion, the court will schedule a hearing for the expungement case. You must attend this hearing and present evidence supporting your request to expunge the eviction record. If the court grants your request to expunge the eviction record, they will typically allow a 60-day period for anyone to object to the expungement.