Steps of the eviction process in South Dakota:
- Landlord serves tenant written notice.
- Landlord files complaint with court (if unresolved).
- Answer is filed.
- Court holds hearing is held & issues judgment.
- Execution for Possession is issued.
- Possession of property is returned to landlord.
Evicting a tenant in South Dakota can take around five weeks to three months, depending on the reason for the eviction. If tenants request a jury trial, the process can take longer.
Grounds for an Eviction in South Dakota
In South Dakota, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without cause. Legal grounds to evict include not paying rent on time, staying after the lease ends, violating lease terms, sale of the rental unit and false claims for service animals. Even so, proper notice must first be given before ending the tenancy.
|Nonpayment of Rent||3 Days||No|
|End of / No Lease||1 Month||No|
|Sale of Rental||3 Days||No|
|False Claims for Service Animals||None||No|
Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent
In South Dakota, a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent on time. To do so, they must first give 3 days’ notice to vacate the premises. The landlord is not required to allow the tenant to fix the issue and the tenant must move out.
Unless the lease states otherwise, rent is due at the beginning of each pay period and is considered late in South Dakota the day immediately after its due date. So for example, if rent is due on the first of the month, it is considered late starting on the second of the month (if not paid in full). There is no right to a legal grace period (i.e., five days).
Once rent is considered late, the landlord can begin the eviction process by serving the tenant with proper notice.
Eviction for No Lease or End of Lease
In South Dakota, a landlord can evict a tenant without a lease or with a lease that has ended (known as a “holdover tenant” or “tenant at will”). To do so, they must first terminate the tenancy by giving proper notice to move out (1 month for tenants that pay month-to-month).
Once the tenancy ends, if the tenant remains on the property, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.
Eviction for Violation of Lease or Responsibilities
In South Dakota, a landlord can evict a tenant for violating the terms of their lease or not upholding their responsibilities under South Dakota landlord-tenant law. No prior notice is required and the landlord may immediately file an eviction action. Landlords are not required to allow the tenant to fix the issue and the tenant must move out.
Tenant responsibilities include:
- Maintaining the dwelling unit in good condition.
- Maintaining all appliances and facilities in good condition.
- Repairing all deteriorations or damages that were caused by the tenant’s negligence or malicious conduct.
Examples of lease violations:
- Having an unauthorized pet, guest or vehicle.
- Parking in an unauthorized area.
- Not maintaining a certain level of cleanliness.
- Illegal activity (i.e., threatening the landlord, causing violence).
- Committing waste (i.e., damaging the rental property).
Eviction for Sale of Rental Unit
In South Dakota, a landlord can evict a tenant if the rental property is being sold and the tenancy will not continue under the new owner. To do so, landlords must provide a 3 days’ notice to move out. Tenants do not have the option to stay and must vacate the dwelling unit.
If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may continue with the eviction process.
Eviction for Falsely Claiming to Need a Service Animal
In South Dakota, landlords can evict a tenant if they falsely claim that they have a disability which requires the use of a service animal. It is unclear under South Dakota state law how much prior written notice, if any, is required before landlords can begin the eviction process in this instance.
If the tenant remains on the property, the landlord may continue with the eviction process. Tenants do not have the option to stay and must vacate the dwelling unit.
Illegal Evictions in South Dakota
In South Dakota, any of the below is illegal. If found liable, the landlord could be required to pay the tenant damages sustained in an amount equal to 2 month’s rent, plus any advance rent and deposits paid.
No matter the situation, a landlord is not allowed to forcibly remove a tenant by:
- Changing the locks.
- Shutting off utilities.
- Diminishing services.
- Removing tenant belongings.
A tenant can only be legally removed with a court order obtained through the formal eviction process.
It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant in response to exercising a legally protected right. These rights include:
- Complaining about a building or housing code that materially affects health and safety to the landlord or any authority tasked to enforce the law.
- Complaining to the landlord of a condition requiring a repair.
- Pursuing a legal right for the landlord to remedy habitability issues.
Additionally, the landlord could be required to pay attorneys’ fees.
Step 1: Landlord Serves Notice to Tenant
A landlord can begin the eviction process in South Dakota by serving the tenant with written notice. The notice must be delivered by one of the following methods:
- Delivering it to the tenant in person.
- Posting the notice in a conspicuous place at the rental unit AND leaving a copy with someone at the rental unit AND mailing a copy to the tenant via first class mail.
- Publishing a copy of the notice in a local newspaper.
Note, when a landlord attempts to serve a notice to the tenant, the landlord must first serve the notice to the tenant in person. Posting, mailing, and leaving a copy at the rental unit may only be done on the second service attempt and must be completed at least 6 hours after the previous attempt.
It is important for a landlord to always maintain a copy of the signed and served notice as proof of proper service of notice.
3-Day Notice to Quit
If a tenant is late on paying rent (full or partial) or the owner is selling rental unit in South Dakota, the landlord can serve them a 3-Day Notice to Quit. This notice gives the tenant 3 calendar days to vacate the premises without the chance to fix the issue.
1-Month Notice to Quit
For a tenant with no lease or a month-to-month lease in South Dakota, the landlord must serve them a 1-Month Notice to Quit to end the tenancy. This eviction notice allows the tenant 1 month to move out.
However, for tenants that don’t pay monthly, the amount of notice differs:
|Rent Payment Frequency||Notice Amount|
Note, if the at-will tenant is an active military service member or if their immediate family member is an active military service member, the tenant is entitled to two months’ notice.
Immediate Notice to Quit
In South Dakota, a landlord can evict a tenant for a lease violation or for a tenant falsely claiming needing a service animal. In these instances, no prior notice is necessary, and the landlord may immediately proceed with filing an eviction lawsuit with the appropriate court. The landlord does not need to give the tenant an option to fix the issue and the tenant must move out.
Step 2: Landlord Files Lawsuit with Court
As the next step in the eviction process, South Dakota landlords must file a complaint in the appropriate Circuit Court or Magistrate Court. In the state of South Dakota, the filing fee is $70.
The summons and complaint may be served on the tenant by a sheriff constable of the county or anyone authorized by South Dakota law. There should be at least two service attempts made that are at least one week apart and both attempts shall be made within 30 days of the date the summons was issued by the court.
Service can be made through one of the following methods:
- Giving a copy to the tenant in person (first service attempt);
- Publishing a copy in a local paper (first service attempt);
- Leaving a copy with someone at the rental unit (second service attempt); or
- Posting a copy in a conspicuous place on the rental unit AND mailing a copy via first class mail (second service attempt).
30 days. The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant within 30 days of the date the summons is issued by the court.
Step 3: Answer is Filed
South Dakota tenants are required to file a written answer with the court if they want to contest, or object to, the eviction hearing.
The answer must be filed within 4 days of the date the summons was served on the tenant, or if the summons was served by publication, within 30 days of the date the summons was published in the local paper.
Tenants may request a 14-day continuance if they cannot file a written answer within the 4- or 30-day deadline.
If tenants fail to file a written answer with the court, the judicial officer may issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord, meaning the tenant would have to move out of the rental unit without being able to attend an eviction hearing.
4-30 days, depending on how the summons was served on the tenant. If tenants request a continuance, this could add another 14 days to the process.
Step 4: Court Holds Hearing & Issues Judgment
The eviction hearing may be scheduled as soon as two days after the tenant’s answer is filed with the court.
If the tenant fails to appear for the hearing, the judicial officer may issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord, meaning the tenant will have to move out.
Either the landlord or tenant can request a jury trial, but this will add more time to the process.
If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, an Execution for Possession will be issued and the eviction process will continue.
Approximately 2 days. The eviction hearing may be held two days after the tenant’s answer is filed with the court.
Step 5: Execution for Possession is Issued
The Execution for Possession is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit and gives them the opportunity to remove their belongings before the sheriff returns to the property to forcibly remove the tenant.
If the court has ruled in the landlord’s favor, the court will issue an Execution for Possession. South Dakota state law doesn’t specify how quickly the Execution for Possession will be issued after the ruling in favor of the landlord.
A few hours to a few days. South Dakota state law doesn’t indicate when courts must issue the Execution for Possession.
Step 6: Possession of Property is Returned
South Dakota state law doesn’t specify how quickly the Execution for Possession must be enforce once it is received by law enforcement officials; however, the writ can only be served during the daytime.
Tenants should be prepared to move out of the rental unit immediately, just in case.
A few hours to a few days. South Dakota state law doesn’t specify how quickly tenants must move out once the Execution for Possession is issued.
South Dakota Eviction Process Timeline
In South Dakota, an eviction can be completed in 5 weeks to 3 months but can take longer depending on the reason for eviction, whether the eviction is contested, which days courts are (or aren’t) in session and other various possible delays.
Below are the parts of the South Dakota eviction process outside the control of landlords for cases that go uncontested.
|Initial Notice Period||3-31 Calendar Days|
|Court Issuing/Serving Summons||30 Business Days|
|Tenant Response Period||4-30 Business Days|
|Court Ruling||2 Business Days|
|Court Serving Execution of Possession||~1-3 Business Days|
|Final Notice Period||~1-3 Calendar Days|
Flowchart of South Dakota Eviction Process
- 1 SD Codified L §21-16-1 (2020)
- 2 SD Codified L §21-16-2 (2020)
- 3 SD Codified L §43-8-8 (2020)
- 4 SD Codified L § 21-16-1 (2021)
- 5 SD Codified L §43-32-15 (2020)
- 6 SD Codified L § 21-16-1 (2021)
- 7 SD Codified L §43-32-36 (2020)
- 8 SD Codified L § 43-32-6 (2021)
- 9 SD Codified L § 43-32-27 (2021)
- 10 SD Codified L § 43-32-28 (2021)
- 11 SD Codified L §21-16-6 (2020)
- 12 SD Codified L §21-16-6.1 (2020)
- 13 SD Codified L §21-16-7 (2020)
- 14 SD Codified L §21-16-7 (2020)
- 15 SD Codified L §21-16-8 (2020)
- 16 SD Codified L §21-16-12 (2020)