The Laws on Eviction in South Dakota

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A South Dakota landlord cannot arbitrarily decide to evict a tenant and kick him out. Instead the landlord must follow the state regulations for evictions, contained in South Dakota's statutes. The eviction laws provide everything a landlord needs to do in order to have possession of his rental unit returned to him.


South Dakota codified law chapter 21-16 section 2 details the specific notice needed before a landlord can begin an eviction lawsuit. A three-day notice to quit/vacate is required. The landlord uses this notice to terminate a lease before it ends due to nonpayment of rent, lease violations or a tenant using the property for unauthorized or illegal activity.

This statute also establishes the method for legal service. A South Dakota landlord must serve the tenant with this notice as though it were a summons. The first notice service must be made by hand. If the tenant is missing or unavailable after six hours from the first attempt, the landlord can use an alternative method of service. This method consists of delivering the notice to another occupant of the home, posting the notice on the front door and sending it via first-class mail. The South Dakota tenant can avoid eviction action by leaving during the notice period or by fixing the problem by paying the rent or adhering to the lease clauses.


Once the three business day notice period has expired, the landlord can go to the magistrate or circuit court that has jurisdiction over the area the property is located in. The South Dakota landlord fills out a summons and complaint form, known as an unlawful detainer or forcible entry lawsuit. The tenant is summoned by a process server, and the hearing can take place between four to 30 days from the summon date.

The hearing results in a default judgment for the landlord if the tenant does not show up. Otherwise the judge hears both arguments in regards to the eviction. Evidence includes lease agreements, rental ledgers and witnesses.


The eviction action is called an execution for possession. The judge grants an execution for possession if the tenant refuses to leave the rental unit after the judge ruled against him. The sheriff or another law enforcement officer executes the eviction by removing the tenant from the rental unit. The landlord may bring along a locksmith to change out the locks. Once the sheriff has removed the tenant, any tenant property is inspected. Property worth less than 500 dollars can remain in the property as long as it is secure, and after 10 days it is considered abandoned by the tenant. Property worth more than 500 dollars must be put into storage at the landlord's expense. He must store the property for 30 days, after which it is considered abandoned.


About the Author

Tiffany Garden has been a freelance writer since 2002, working in the commercial copywriting field. She has been published in a number of technical and gaming magazines, as well as on numerous websites. She also runs her own websites on a number of subjects, runs a handcrafted jewelry business and is a CompTIA A+ Certified computer technician.

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