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How to Evict a Tenant in South Dakota (7 Steps)

Obtaining a court order through a Forcible Entry and Detainer Action is the only lawful way to proceed with evicting a tenant in South Dakota.1 Depending on the circumstances that call for the eviction, this process begins with the delivery of one of three notice to quit forms to the tenant, each offering a requisite deadline that can allow the tenant to avoid eviction before the landlord files the forcible entry complaint at their Local Magistrate or Circuit Court

LawsChapter 21-16 (Forcible Entry and Detainer) 

How to Evict

Step 1: Send an Eviction Notice 

Tenants in South Carolina may be evicted in one of the following ways:

  • Non-Compliance (Notice to Quit) — A tenant who has violated a term within their lease agreement is subject to eviction for non-compliance. South Dakota state law does not specify a deadline for which the notice applies, so they are granted “reasonable time” for any options to cure or vacate.2
  • Non-Payment of Rent (3-Day Notice to Quit) — Tenants who fail to pay rent shall be given three days to pay the amount due in order to avoid termination of their lease.3  
  • Month-to-Month (30-Day Notice to Quit) — A landlord who wishes to terminate a month-to-month tenancy must give tenants 30 days’ notice in writing. 
  • Sale of Rental Unit (3-Day Notice to Quit) — Landlords must utilize this notice to inform the tenant that the rental property is being sold and the tenancy will cease to continue under new ownership. 4

Step 2: Wait to Hear from the Tenant 

As mentioned, landlords are not required to specify a notice deadline for non-compliance evictions. Still, evictions and the legal process of pursuing them can be avoided if a tenant is given reasonable time and any possible options to cure (if applicable). 

Step 3: File in Court 

Forms to File: 

  • Summons and Complaint 
  • Judgment for Possession 
  • Execution for Possession 

Step 4: Serve the Tenant 

At least two attempts to serve the tenant will be made within 30 days of the court issuing the Summons and Complaint. Attempts must be at least one week apart and will be performed by a sheriff, constable, or any person legally authorized to effect service.7

South Dakota does have one unique exemption for service, in which case a landlord can choose to have the Summons and Complaint published in a legal newspaper local to the county where the property is located.8

Step 5: Attend a Hearing 

A tenant may file an Answer with the court if they wish to contest the eviction. They will have 4 days to file an answer if the summons was served personally or 30 days to file an answer if the landlord chose to publish the summons in a local legal newspaper.9

If an answer isn’t filed, the court may issue a default ruling in favor of the landlord. If a hearing (or trial by jury) is held and the judge rules in favor of the landlord, an Execution for Possession will be issued. 

Step 6: Obtain an Execution for Possession 

The court will issue an Execution for Possession as the tenant’s final order to vacate, however, South Dakota state law does not specify a uniform final deadline in which the order will be issued by the court or executed by the sheriff. 

Step 7: Repossess the Property  

As mentioned, state law doesn’t outline a uniform timeline in which the sheriff will be ordered to forcibly remove the tenant from the property. It does, however, specify that the execution for possession may only be served on the tenant in the daytime.10

Video: Evictions in South Dakota


  1. https://consumer.sd.gov/fastfacts/landlordtenant.aspx#:~:text=The%20only%20lawful%20way%20to,Forcible%20Entry%20and%20Detainer%22%20action.
  2. § 43-32-18
  3. § 21-16-1(4)
  4. § 21-16-2
  5. § 21-16-6
  6. https://ujs.sd.gov/uploads/secondcircuit/ClerkofCourtsFeeSchedule.pdf
  7. § 21-16-6
  8. § 21-16-6.1
  9. § 21-16-7
  10. https://sdlegislature.gov/#/Statutes/Codified_Laws/2045985