Can a Tenant Use the Exclusionary Rule When Fighting an Eviction?

Eviction NoticeThe Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons or property. The “exclusionary rule,” as it is commonly known, prohibits the use of any evidence which is obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment.


In practice, the exclusionary rule has typically been applied only to cases where the state seeks to use illegally seized evidence to prosecute an individual who experienced an unlawful search criminally. Experts in condominium law in Ashburn, VA, advise that although the exclusionary rule is occasionally applied outside of a pure criminal proceeding, Nationwide Housing Corp. v. Skoglund (Minn. App. 2018) established “that the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule does not extend to a civil eviction proceeding brought by a private landlord.”


The tenant, in that case, argued that eviction is similar to the quasi-criminal civil forfeiture proceeding; however, the appellate court clarified that an eviction proceeding is clearly civil in nature and solely determines whether “an occupant may be removed from possession of real property by the process of law.” Thus, within condominium law, although the exclusionary rule can sometimes be applied outside of criminal court proceedings, it has not been applied to a typical landlord-tenant relationship.