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How to Evict a Tenant in South Dakota

How to Evict a Tenant in South Dakota


Evicting a tenant in South Dakota isn’t a simple task. As a landlord, you need to follow certain steps and procedures to remove a tenant from your property legally. In this article, we’ll discuss the process of how to evict a tenant in South Dakota from start to finish, including the necessary steps and procedures for a peaceful resolution.

Understanding South Dakota Eviction Laws

South Dakota eviction laws are included in statute Title 21, which outlines the legal rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. As a landlord, it’s essential to understand these laws fully before attempting to evict a tenant. The first step to a successful eviction process is to communicate with the tenant regarding the problem that concerns you.

The communication may resolve the issue without needing to go through the eviction procedure. Misunderstandings may occur between landlords and tenants but, in many cases, can be resolved without resorting to court. If the communication doesn’t work out and the tenant doesn’t rectify the problem, eviction can become a necessary step in resolving the situation.

Grounds for Eviction in South Dakota

There are a few different reasons a landlord may opt for eviction. Here are some of the most common grounds for termination of a lease and eviction in South Dakota.

Non-Payment of rent: When the tenant hasn’t paid rent after the specified grace period, the landlord may opt for termination of the lease and eviction.

Violation of lease terms: If the tenant breaks the rules of the lease such as having pets when it is a no-pet lease, the landlord may choose to terminate the lease and evict the tenant.

Illegal activity: If the tenant gets found operating an illegal activity on the rental property, the landlord can legally terminate the lease and evict the tenant.

End of a lease: The landlord can rightfully choose not to renew a lease agreement after it expires.

How to Serve an Eviction Notice

Before taking any steps towards eviction, ensure that you are well prepared by following the right procedures. Serving an eviction notice is a legal requirement in South Dakota. The notice must be in writing and ask the tenant to remedy the violation. If the tenant fails to obey, the notice may state the eviction process clearly.

There are two types of eviction notices that South Dakota law recognizes – the pay or quit notice and the cure or quit notice.

Pay or Quit Notices

The pay or quit notice is issued when the tenant has failed to pay rent. The notice must clearly state the following:

How much rent the tenant owes.

The date that the payment was due.

The date that the payment must be made by to avoid eviction.

The consequences of not making the payment.

Cure or Quit Notices

The cure or quit notice is the notice a landlord serves on a tenant when they have violated any clause in the lease agreement. This type of notice works for issues that aren’t related to rent payment. The notice must clearly state:

The nature of the violation, such as owning pets when it’s prohibited by the lease.

The timeframe given to the tenant to cure or fix the problem.

The consequences of not remedying the violation during the given period.

The document should also outline possible civil charges that can be pursued when the tenant fails to take care of the violation as directed.

How to File for Eviction in South Dakota

If the tenant doesn’t comply or doesn’t make payment in response to the issued notice, the landlord can begin with eviction proceedings. The landlord must begin by filing a complaint in court and explaining the grounds for eviction.

A court date is created, and after presenting the possible evidence produced, the judge will determine whether to pursue the eviction or not. The judge will also decide the amount of monetary compensation that the landlord can ask for when the eviction process is complete.

The judge must approve the eviction filing, and the landlord may not enforce the eviction before the legal time frame has passed, and the court issues an order.

How to Move Forward With an Eviction if it is Approved

If approved, there are a few different steps you must take as a landlord before you can legally remove the tenant from the property.

Provide Notice of Eviction Date

After getting the order for eviction, the landlord must give the tenant a final written notice about when the eviction will occur. The notice must include:

The date when the final eviction is planned.

The timeline within which the tenant should evacuate the property.

A reminder that the tenant may be held responsible for additional expenses, fees, and penalties that arise after the eviction occurs.

The notice should be posted on the rental property, addressed to the tenant, or given directly to the tenant by the landlord.

The landlord should include in the eviction notice the belongings that the tenant has failed to collect. Personal property is prone to theft, damage, or disposal, so it’s important to establish an accurate inventory with the tenant’s knowledge.

Get Help From the Sheriff’s Department

The landlord should contact the local Sheriff’s department to inform them of the eviction date arranged due to court order. The sheriff’s department is responsible for removing the tenant and their possessions from the rental property at the scheduled time.

After the tenant has left the premises, the landlord should be present for a final inspection to assess the condition of the rental property. The landlord should check for damages as well as compare the condition with the move-in inspection form. It is also crucial that the landlord confirms that the tenant has taken all their possessions with them.


Eviction is a challenging process for both landlords and tenants. However, by following the right procedures, landlords can ensure a successful eviction, emphasizing communication and transparency.

If you are a landlord in South Dakota who is considering eviction, make sure that you understand the eviction laws and follow the procedures to avoid legal troubles. In most cases, working with the tenant to remedy the problem will be the most straightforward and the quickest resolution to the problem. But in cases where the tenant does not comply, appropriately filing for eviction is a legal remedy available to landlords.

Ultimately, the key to a successful eviction is to stay calm, follow the correct steps, and communicate clearly with the tenant. With the right approach and mindset, a peaceful resolution can be reached, giving both parties a chance to move on from the situation.

How to Evict a Tenant in South Dakota

It is important that every landlord knows very carefully how to evict a tenant in South Dakota, since one simple violation of the process can undo the whole eviction and even result in a huge fine. Make sure that you maintain your rights to your own legal property by following these simple rules.

A step-by-step guide showing how to evict a tenant in South Dakota:

1.  Ascertain that the tenant is in violation of the rental agreement. For most landlords, this means that the tenant hasn’t been paying their rent on time. Yet landlords who know how to evict a tenant in South Dakota from experience can tell you that there are many reasons that eviction may be necessary, like the tenant disregarding local law. If the rental agreement no longer applies but the tenant has continued to rent on a month-to-month basis, the landlord may desire to evict their tenant in order to repurpose the property. Obviously, mutually agreed-upon terms and friendly negotiation should be sought in such a circumstance and not eviction.

2. Notice must be given to the tenant. At minimum, three days notice must be given before further action is taken.

3. File a lawsuit. This step should only taken if the tenant has not taken any steps to move their property out of the premises. If this is the case, the next document a landlord who knows how to evict a tenant in South Dakota will obtain is called a Forcible Entry and Detainer form, which will be turned into the court, requesting eviction.

4. Serve the tenant with the lawsuit. Note that if you want to successfully show how to evict a tenant in South Dakota, you will have to serve them with the actual papers. A phone call will not work. You can, however, hire an official called a process server to perform this step for you.

5. Tenant has four days to answer. The next step depends entirely on whether the tenant does, in fact, file an answer. If not, then they will be given a court order requiring them to move.

6. A hearing occurs. Note that this only occurs if the tenant files an answer to your Forcible Entry and Detainer form. At the hearing, the landlord will need to present their reasons for eviction and show that they’ve thus far accurately followed the rules for how to evict a tenant in South Dakota.

There are a few major mistakes which landlords make that are most definitely not how to evict a tenant in South Dakota. For instance, we are all familiar with the image of a tenant who is locked out of their apartment because the locks have been changed. However, a landlord never has the right to just lock a tenant out of their property, or to shut off essential utilities such as electricity, gas or water. If a landlord does so, their action is illegal, and the tenant may sever the rental agreement automatically.