Eviction in South Dakota

By Jill Swanson, ERLS Staff Attorney

In South Dakota, a tenant can be evicted from their home in as little as seven days. The process is quick and there are very few ways to successfully challenge an eviction notice. However, a tenant does not have to leave their home unless there is a court order requiring them to leave. This article contains a brief explanation of the eviction process.

Notice to Quit. A landlord is required to serve a tenant with a Notice to Quit in order to start an eviction proceeding. This document explains to the tenant that they have violated their lease agreement and the landlord is preparing to evict them for lease violations. Common violations include: paying rent late, not moving after the end of the lease, or failing to keep the home reasonably clean. South Dakota law does not establish a right to cure once a Notice to Quit is served. This means that if a tenant fails to pay rent on time and then receives a Notice to Quit, the landlord is not required to accept a late payment and withdraw the Notice to Quit. Individuals who rely on State, County, or Municipal financial assistance to pay rent are at risk for eviction if the financial assistance payment comes later than the 3rd of the month. You do not have to leave the home once you receive a Notice to Quit, a tenant is legally entitled to remain in the home until there is a court order telling them to leave the home.

Summons and Complaint. Three days after a Notice to Quit is served, a landlord can file a Summons and Complaint. The Summons and Complaint is submitted to the county court explaining why the landlord wants to evict the tenant and asks for a hearing in front of a Judge. A tenant has four days to file an Answer, the formal response, to the Summons and Complaint or a default judgment can be entered. South Dakota law does not require a landlord to file the Summons and Complaint with the clerk of courts when they serve the tenant. It is possible that a tenant can go to the courthouse to file their Answer to the Summons and Complaint but be turned away by the Clerk of Courts because there is no file open yet at the courthouse. In this case, the tenant would need to locate the attorney for the landlord, or the landlord’s office if they are unrepresented, in order to file the Answer within four days.

Eviction Hearing. Four days after the Summons and Complaint is served the landlord can request a hearing. At the hearing the Judge will ask the landlord, or their attorney, why the eviction is necessary and then ask the tenant for any defense to the eviction. There are very few defenses available for an eviction. A tenant who fails to pay rent three days after it is due will almost certainly be evicted unless they can prove the landlord did not follow the proper procedure for the eviction. At the end of the hearing, the Judge will sign an order for an eviction and state how long the tenant has to leave their home. A tenant might be ordered to leave by the end of that day or they might be given as long as a week to leave in very rare circumstances.

South Dakota law has no right to cure a Notice to Quit, no requirement to file a Summons and Complaint with the court when it is served on the tenant, and very few defenses to an eviction proceeding. Even though a tenant does not have to leave their home without a court order, an eviction is almost impossible to stop.

This post is not intended to constitute legal advice. If you are facing an eviction please call the Legal Hotline at 1-877-870-1250 or apply online at www.sdlawhelp.org

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Taylor’s Farewell

I spent two years practicing law at East River Legal Services (ERLS). I helped people all throughout eastern South Dakota. People of limited economic means, people who had suffered various forms of abuse, children in need of safe and stable homes…Vulnerable citizens in desperate need of help. I used my skills as an advocate and counselor at law to better their lives and provide them a better future. I worked alongside a hardworking and motley crew of do-gooders, who comprise the ERLS staff. I consider them superheroes, and so should the community. ERLS is a unique and special law practice and non-profit organization within South Dakota. Attorneys – young, mid-career, or late-career – should consider working at ERLS. It provides the immediate opportunity for hands-on client interaction and courtroom advocacy, while working alongside dedicated and supportive coworkers, in an organization that wants you to grow and succeed. Overall job satisfaction = high.  Come work at ERLS, where staff are truly able to make a difference!

Want to make a difference?

We are currently looking for Staff Attorney's in our Sioux Falls office.

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Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The American Bar Association estimates that new lawyers have an average debt of more than $100,000. Unfortunately, this debt load may discourage attorneys from accepting employment at a non-profit or government organization, which traditionally pays less than private practice.

Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) allows attorneys and paralegals working for a government organization, a tax-exempt organization, or other non-profit such as a civil legal aid program like East River Legal Services to seek loan forgiveness. PSLF requires that borrowers work for a qualifying agency while they make 120 payments on their federal student loans. After 120 qualifying payments, borrowers can apply to receive forgiveness of the remaining balance of their federal loans.

The PSLF program had several hitches at the beginning. Borrowers reported issues with loan servicing, confusion about what constituted a “qualifying payment,” and concerns that forgiven debt would have serious income tax liabilities. Thankfully, many of these issues have been corrected in recent years and PSLF applicants report greater success in receiving forgiveness. A temporary and expanded PSLF forgiveness review has given relief to thousands of borrowers. Borrowers eligible for PSLF are encouraged to apply for review of their loans under the current PSLF guidelines.  More information about student loan forgiveness can be found on the DOE website:  https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation

The purpose of PSLF is to encourage professionals with student loan debt to consider work that supports their communities. PSLF lessens the impact of student loan debt when making a career choice, which is meant to enrich the staff of public service employers and ensure that quality professional services are available for vulnerable members of our communities.

East River Legal Services (ERLS) is an LSC-funded civil legal services program in Eastern South Dakota. ERLS advocates represent low-income residents of Eastern South Dakota, focusing on representing and advising clients in domestic violence and housing. ERLS provides legal information, advice, and direct representation to clients who would otherwise be unable to afford legal counsel. ERLS encourages staff to participate in loan forgiveness.

ERLS is currently hiring for the position of staff attorney. If you are an attorney who would like to work for ERLS, we can assure you that we are a PSLF qualifying employer, and we will assist with an employer certification when requested. Additionally, if you are an out of state attorney wondering whether licensing would be a barrier to working in South Dakota, ERLS can assist you with the process to waive into the South Dakota Bar. SD Bar Waiver

Apply Online

Our office is currently seeking to hire highly motivated attorneys interested in working with low-income individuals and provide them with equal access to Justice. We strive in our office to work as a team and fulfill the needs of our clients.

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South Dakota Bar Association Admission Without Examination

South Dakota offers several ways for attorneys to obtain admittance into the state bar to practice law. As an out of state attorney (Nebraska), I was relieved to see that South Dakota offers reciprocity, meaning that because I am licensed in Nebraska, I can apply to be a member of the South Dakota Bar Association. SD Codified L § 16-16-12.1 (2021). Additionally, because I am employed by East River Legal Services, I can apply for a conditional license to practice law while my reciprocity application is being processed. SD Codified L § 16-16-17.1 (2021). Out of state license applicants have significant documentation required including a background check, proof of graduation from a law school, certification of admission to practice in the other state, disciplinary checks, a copy of the rule that allows South Dakota attorneys to waive into the other state, and my favorite requirement, a copy of the applicant’s law school application. SD Codified L § 16-16-12.2 (2021). I’ve found the document collection easier than I expected. As I made calls to request documents, I was assured that staff works on these kinds of requests all the time.

I’ve been an attorney in Nebraska for twenty-five years. I thought practicing law in another state would be difficult to figure out or would require that I sit for the Bar Examination again (something that I was not interested in doing!). When I saw the job posting for the position of Executive Director at East River Legal Services in Sioux Falls, the job was exactly what I was looking for, but I worried about the requirement that I needed to be licensed to practice law in the State of South Dakota. I was pleased to see that I had the option to waive into South Dakota based on my license in Nebraska and my job at East River Legal Services. I’m excited to be in Sioux Falls at a satisfying and challenging position for an organization I have quickly come to care about very much. East River Legal Services believes that being poor or at risk does not make you less, that equal access to our courts is an essential part of justice, and equal justice is a universal right. Sounds like a good place to work, right?

East River Legal Services is currently seeking to hire highly motivated attorneys interested in working with low-income individuals to provide them equal access to justice. We strive in our office to work as a team and fulfill the needs of our clients. If you are an attorney from a state that offers reciprocity to South Dakota attorneys, consider applying to work with our legal team. We’ll help you with the license application process!

Apply Online

Our office is currently seeking to hire highly motivated attorneys interested in working with low-income individuals and provide them with equal access to Justice. We strive in our office to work as a team and fulfill the needs of our clients.

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File for a Stimulus Payment now even if you don’t normally file taxes!

Even if you don’t normally file taxes, you should file for a stimulus payment right away. You could get money from the IRS even if you don’t have earnings!

The IRS has sent out two stimulus payments to help people get through the COVID-19 pandemic. It will send out a third payment soon. The IRS has sent out $1,800 to most people so far: $1,200 in 2020 and $600 at the beginning of 2021. It will soon send out $1,400, plus more money for children and dependent adults.

Most people with Social Security Numbers qualify for this money, but lots of people haven’t received all of the money they should have.

If you file your taxes this year, it will help you get all of money you and your family are owed. It will also help you get future payments.

File now: the filing deadline is May 17, 2021.

Here’s why you should file for a stimulus payment as soon as possible:

  • If you don’t usually file taxes because you don’t have earnings from work or you get disability benefits, you might not have gotten all of the money you and your family are owed. You can get your stimulus payments by filing taxes now.
  • The rules about who can get stimulus payments keep changing. Even if you did not qualify for a stimulus payment before, you might qualify for one now. You should file taxes to see if you are owed money, and to make it easier to get money in the future.
  • If you lost your job or your income dropped in 2020, you should file taxes so the IRS has your recent income information. You might qualify for more money based on your lower income.
  • If you have children living with you as of 2020, you may be eligible for another payment later in 2021. You can qualify for this money by filing your 2020 taxes.
You may not have to pay any money to file your taxes. Many people can get help for free.

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2021 SD Minimum Wage Requirement

See SDLC60-11-3 and 60-11-3.2. Employers with tipped employees must pay a cash wage of no less than $4.725 per hour, which is no less than 50% of the state minimum wage. See SDCL 60-11-3.1. South Dakota state minimum requirements apply to all employees; however, no minimum wage requirements apply to independent contractors.

Additional information from the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation available at dlr.sd.gov/employment_laws.

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Unemployment and Wage Losses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

What can you do if you are out of work due to COVID-19? You may qualify for South Dakota Reemployment Assistance. The Department of Labor assesses each case on an individual basis. To apply for RA benefits, apply online at raclaims.sd.gov or call (605) 626-3179. For more information from the Department of Labor regarding COVID-19, visit: https://dlr.sd.gov/covid_19_resources.aspx. *The contents of this post…

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COVID-19 Information and Resources

COVID-19 Resources

As the COVID-19 crisis has evolved, more information and resources for those affected have become available. Below is a list of important resources to help you and your family during this time.

Below is a list of resources available during the Covid-19 closures in Sioux Falls and surrounding areas.

General Resources


CDC Information

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the Coronavirus, such as how it spreads, what common symptoms are, and how to protect yourself: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

The CDC has given guidance on whether it is safe to travel within the US, and has advised non-essential travel and to stay away from places with community spread of Coronavirus or travel that involves being in close contact with others: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html

School at home (K-12)

HUGE list of amazing educational resources http://www.amazingeducationalresources.com/

Scholastic Learn at Home   https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/teaching-tools/articles/resources/scholastic-learn-at-home--free-resources-for-school-closures.html#


Food pantries   https://www.foodpantries.org/ci/sd-Sioux%20Falls

School breakfast and lunch meals  https://www.coronahelpsf.com/fooddistribution

Delivery of household necessities – detergent, diapers, t. paper, hygiene products, food https://www.coronahelpsf.com/deliveries

Mental health and anxiety

Local Mental health resources https://www.helplinecenter.org/2-1-1-community-resources/helpsheets/covid-19-and-your-mental-health/

Mental health  https://peak-resilience.com/blog/2020/3/15/covid-19-amp-your-mental-health-a-comprehensive-resource-guide?fbclid=IwAR2ORZVGlZxc4w-nf1d-W7PVRkkVNNi_z72p0kM_TPhQobgN7QyXAhseb7k

Meditation apps for kids  https://www.commonsensemedia.org/lists/meditation-apps-for-kids

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)  https://www.nami.org/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/2020/NAMI-Updates-on-the-Coronavirus

CDC - Mental health and coping COVID-19   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html


COVID-19 Relief Fund   https://www.siouxfalls.org/news/2020/03/17/relief-fund

One Sioux Falls fund – rent/mortgage assistance. There has been a fund established in the Sioux Falls area for those unable to pay rent and other expenses due to the impacts of the Coronavirus that do not qualify for federal housing assistance:https://www.helplinecenter.org/2-1-1-community-resources/one-sioux-falls-fund/

Income Tax Relief - https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus


City of Sioux Falls    https://www.siouxfalls.org/covid19

Better Together Sioux Falls Facebook group  https://www.facebook.com/groups/795082001002486/

Local Sioux Falls churches have also come together to bring food and supplies to those in need during the pandemic. Follow this link to request assistance or to volunteer in the distribution efforts: https://www.coronahelpsf.com/


Reemployment Assistance (formerly Unemployment Insurance) due to COVID-19   https://dlr.sd.gov/ra/covid_19_ra_eligibility.aspx

Job opportunities   http://opportunitysf.com/job-opportunities.cfm

Government agency resources  https://dlr.sd.gov/covid_19_resources.aspx


East River Legal Services (civil legal issues) – www.erlservices.org

Access to Justice State Bar Pro Bono Program (civil legal issues) – www.statebarofsouthdakota.com/access-to-justice

South Dakota Network (domestic violence) - https://sdnafvsa.com/home/

Ask Questions to SD lawyers anonymously – SD Free Legal Answers – https://sd.freelegalanswers.org/

Entertainment – virtual tours while social distancing

Museum tours https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours

Zoos and aquariums, museums and theme parks https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/travel/a31784720/best-virtual-tours/


Questions about COVID-19???

COVID-19 Information Line – https://covid.sd.gov/   or call #1-800-997-2880


Apply for Legal Assistance

Legal Services offices are limiting staff interaction with applicants and clients for the safety of our staff and clients, we are taking in applications for legal assistance online at https://www.sdlawhelp.org/apply

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Wills for Heros

Wills for Heros is a free monthly legal clinic for Veterans and their spouses to receive simple wills and Power of Attorney. This clinic is for income-qualifying individuals and is available by appointment only. You must call and schedule an appointment to meet with the attorneys on the day of the clinic.

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