MN Housing Court Has Jurisdiction to Award Damages, Appeals Court Rules

Minnesota case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: housing court jurisdiction.

Yolanda Bass v. Equity Residential Holdings, LLC. MN housing court jurisdiction

Yolanda Bass was behind on her rent, and her landlord went to Hennepin County Housing Court to have her evicted. When Ms. Bass was unable to come up with the required $960, the housing court issued an order for recovery of the premises. This order, dated April 5, 2013, stated that the writ of recovery and order to vacate would be issued upon the landlord's request and payment of the fee. The landlord, however, never got around to making the request or paying the fee.

Ms. Bass went to work on April 10. When she got home, the locks on the apartment were changed. She was then informed that all of her possessions had been tossed into the dumpster since she had "abandoned" the apartment.

Ms. Bass took pictures of the contents of the dumpsters, but didn't retrieve anything since the dumpsters will filled with water. She was also unable physically to remove the tiems. She then filed a lockout petition under Minnesota Statute 504B.375. After a hearing, the housing court awarded her damages of $10,386.97, plus interest, attorney fees, and costs. Dissatisfied with this outcome of what it thought was a routine eviction, the landlord appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

The landlord's main argument was that the housing court lacked jurisdiction. Essentially, it argued that the housing court should content itself with evicting people, and not get involved in other landlord-tenant issues involving monetary damages. The Court of Appeals disagreed, however. It held that the housing court, is a division of the district court, a court of general jurisdiction. Therefore, it has jurisdiction to award monetary damages that are authorized under Minn. Stat. chapter 504B.

The appeals court then went on to review the evidence, and concluded that the lower court's award was appropriate in this case.

No. A13-2177 (Minn. Ct. App. June 30, 2014).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

For more information about attorney Clem, please visit his website.
For more information about his low-cost CLE programs, please visit his CLE page.
Return to index of case summaries

Copyright 2014, Richard P. Clem.
Attorney Richard P. Clem is responsible for the content of this page.

Richard P. Clem, Attorney
PO Box 14957
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Phone: +1-612-378-7751
Minnesota Attorney Registration Number 0192648

Books by Richard Clem:

Please visit my author page at

Copyright and privacy notice.