This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
MM Home Builders, Inc.,
AmyJo J. Williams,
Filed October 8, 2002
Wright County District Court
File No. C402641
Steven H. Bruns, Esther E. McGinnis, Peterson, Fram & Bergman, P.A., 50 East Fifth Street, Suite 300, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent)
AmyJo J. Williams, 606 Upplanda Street, Buffalo, MN 55313 (appellant pro se)
Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Klaphake, Judge.
In this eviction action, appellant AmyJo J. Williams seeks review of a district court judgment ordering recovery of the subject property to respondent MM Home Builders, Inc. Appellant argues that she should have been permitted to present witnesses and documents to support her claim that the lease did not reflect the parties’ agreement. Appellant also alleges that the lease was not valid because it was signed only by her and she did not receive a copy.
Because there are sufficient facts to support the complaint and the district court’s findings are not clearly erroneous, and because the issues raised by appellant are beyond the limited scope of an eviction action, we affirm.
An eviction action is a “summary court proceeding to remove a tenant or occupant from or otherwise recover possession of real property by the process of law.” Minn. Stat. §§ 504B.001, subd. 4 (2000), .281-.371 (2000 & Supp. 2001). Similar to the now-repealed unlawful detainer statutes, the statutes authorizing eviction actions continue to provide for summary proceedings dealing only with present possessory rights. Fraser v. Fraser, 642 N.W.2d 34, 40-41 (Minn. App. 2002); AMRESCO Residential Mortgage Corp. v. Stange, 631 N.W.2d 444, 446 (Minn. App. 2001). In AMRESCO, this court concluded that continuing the summary nature of these proceedings reinforces the public policy of preventing “parties from taking the law into their own hands.” AMRESCO, 631 N.W.2d at 446 (quotation omitted). Here, as in AMRESCO, appellant has the opportunity to raise the issue of validity of the lease in another forum more suitable to determination of these issues. Id. (approving use of alternate procedure to determine title questions, rather than expanding summary eviction proceeding).
Under the terms of the lease, appellant agreed to pay $1,400 per month for the right to lease the subject property. At the time of the hearing, she owed rent for part of October 2001, all of November and December 2001, and January and February 2002, for a total of $6,000. This is a sufficient basis for a writ of recovery in an eviction action. See Minn. Stat. § 504B.291, subd. 1 (2000) (“landlord may bring an eviction action for nonpayment of rent”).
Appellant attempts to raise other issues regarding the validity of the lease and the nature of the agreement between the parties. These attempts must fail for multiple reasons. Issues not presented below cannot first be raised at the appellate level. See Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582-83 (Minn. 1988). We are unable to ascertain whether these issues were raised before the district court due to the lack of an adequate record. Because appellant failed to provide a transcript, our review is limited to deciding whether the district court’s conclusions of law are supported by the findings. Mesenbourg v. Mesenbourg, 538 N.W.2d 489, 492 (Minn. App. 1995). We base our review on the documents provided to this court, which include the summons and complaint, the lease agreement and the district court’s findings of fact, conclusions of law and order for a writ of recovery. Appellant argues that the lease is invalid because respondent did not sign it; she cannot, however, use the statute of frauds to avoid a contract that she approved and signed. See Olson v. Ronhovde, 446 N.W.2d 690, 692 (Minn. App. 1989) (stating that statute of frauds is a shield, not a sword).
Based on the record before this court, the district court’s findings are not clearly erroneous and provide sufficient support for the writ of recovery.