South Dakota Eviction Law

Posted by Christopher Berkompas in South Dakota

Note: I am not a lawyer, and this does not constitute legal advice.

Under what circumstances may a tenant be evicted?

Most often, a tenant will be evicted for failing to pay rent.  However, other substantial violations of the lease, such as keeping pets or destroying the property may also be grounds for eviction.

What is the process for evicting a tenant?

First, the landlord must give the tenant a three (3) day notice to fix the problem or vacate the premises.  If the tenant fails to do either, the landlord may then proceed with filing a complaint with the local court.  The tenant will then receive paperwork indicating when the court has scheduled a hearing to decide the case.

At the court hearing, both sides will present their case, and the judge will quickly make his decision on whether the tenant ought to be evicted.


How are landlords supposed to deal with tenant belongings left behind?

The landlord should give the tenant the opportunity to reclaim his property, but if the tenant does not within a reasonable time, the landlord may appropriate it for his own purposes.

Can the landlord shut off utilities or lock a tenant out prior to the completion of the eviction process?

No, a landlord must allow the court to evict the tenant.  Intentional utility shut-offs are only permissible to make a repair to the property that is truly needed.

Is it legal for the landlord to deduct legal fees and court costs from the security deposit?

No.  Under South Dakota law, a security deposit must be returned to the tenant in full, or accompanied by a statement explaining why some of it was withheld.  The landlord can only spend the security deposit on making repairs to the property or to repay back rent.  

Can the landlord try to collect unpaid rent for the rest of the time left in the lease?

Yes, but he must ask the court to award it.  If the court does not order the tenant to pay, the landlord cannot ask for any more directly from the tenant.  However, in this situation, the landlord may be able to keep the security deposit to pay the back rent.


South Dakota Consumer Handbook (see esp. pg 52 and following)

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