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Minnesota Tenant-Landlord Law

by Caroline Merkin


Security Deposits

  • Collection of security deposits: The collection of security deposits in Minnesota isn’t required, but most landlords require them to prove a tenant’s financial stability and guarantee a payment for damaged property.
  • Security deposit limit: There is no limit on what a landlord may charge for a deposit.
  • Seperate accounts for security deposit: There are not statutes regarding separate accounts, but the tenant is owed 1% interest annually from the first month’s payment to the last. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.178)
  • Returning the security deposit: Must be returned within 21 days of the tenant moving out, or within 5 days of the date the tenant vacates the building or dwelling due to the legal condemnation of the property. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.178)
  • Withholding the deposit: An itemized list of repair charges or damages must be provided if funds are withheld. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.178)
    • Wrongfully withholding the deposit from a tenant: If the landlord intentionally and/or wrongfully withholds a deposit, he/she may be subject to a $500 fee. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.178 (Subd 7))

Rent and Late Fees

  • Rent is due: There are no statutes regarding when rent is due (at the beginning of the month or the end) or grace periods.
  • Paying rent: Landlords may accept rent in any form.
  • Late fees: If late fees are included in the lease, it must not exceed 8% of the of the overdue rent payment. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.177)
  • Conditions under which written lease is required: If a property has 12 or more resident units, a written lease agreement is required for each tenant. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.111)
  • Withholding rent: The tenant is allowed to withhold rent if the property is uninhabitable, but the funds must be placed in an escrow account and follow certain rules listed here

Notices and Entry

  • Increasing rent: If there is an increase in rent, a notice must be provided one rental period plus one day prior to the change. (handbook)
  • Terminating a lease early: If a landlord wishes to terminate a lease early, the time of the notice must be at least as long as the interval between the time rent is due or three months, whichever is less. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.135)
  • Entry for non-emergency: A landlord must provide “reasonable notice” (24 hours is suggested) regarding entry for non-emergency repairs and prospective tenant showings (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.211 (Subd 2))
  • Emergency Entry: Emergency entry is allowed without notice when it is necessary to prevent injury to persons or property. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.211 (Subd 4))

Disclosures

  • Lead Disclosures: A landlord is required to disclose any known presence of lead paint on the property. If there is a presence of lead paint in the unit or common area, the lease must include a federally-approved attachment on lead poisoning prevention.
  • Disclosing authorized personnel to tenant: A landlord must also disclose the name and address of the property owner and anyone authorized to manage the property. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.181)
  • Smoking in common areas: Doing so in apartment buildings is prohibited by Minnesota’s Clean Indoor Air Act. (handbook)
  • Disclosing inspection orders to tenants: A copy of all outstanding inspection orders for which a citation has been issued and a copy of all outstanding condemnation orders and declarations that the property is unfit for human habitation, must be given to a tenant prior to he/she signing a lease or paying a security deposit and/or rent.

Eviction Laws

Eviction Step #1: Inform your tenant with an official notice

An official notice is posted to the tenant. Typically, although this varies based State and county, the landlord hands the notice to the tenant in person, or posts the notice to the door if the tenant is not home. You also may need to send a copy via certified mail.

Eviction Step #2: Wait for the tenant to respond

When it is failure to pay rent, the tenant has 14 days to pay you otherwise the eviction notice can be filed with the courts.(Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.135)

When there is another lease violation (e.g. subletting), there is no specific remedy by statute.

A landlord must evict the tenant within 15 days of notice if more than $100 of illegal drugs or contraband are found on the property. If the landlord does not evict the tenant, the landlord may be in jeopardy of losing the rental property.

Eviction Step #3: File With Court

If the tenant has not paid you within the time period outlined in Step #2, then file with the local courts for the official eviction. Both you and the tenant will receive a specific date for the hearing.

Eviction Step #4: Attend the court date

You or your lawyer will want to attend the court hearing and bring proper documentation of the lease violation with you. You should prepare to bring the following, at a minimum:

  1. Your lease agreement
  2. Evidence of payment failures / history
  3. Proof that you served the tenant (Step #1)
  4. Any communications or other helpful records

Eviction Step #5: Sheriff to remove the tenant

If the tenant does not leave on their own, then you have a right, within a certain amount of time, to request for a sheriff to remove the tenant.

Eviction Step #6: Collecting damages

Most likely, the tenant owes you money for the lease violation. Here are some ways to collect money from the damages:

  1. Garnish wages
  2. File in small claims court
  3. Use a private debt collector

Early Termination of Lease

If the landlord wishes to terminate the lease early, the notice must be at least as long as the rent period or three months, whichever is less, e.g., month to month, one month; week to week, one week.

If the tenant wishes to terminate the lease early, the notice must be at least as long as the rent period or three months, whichever is less, e.g., month to month, one month; week to week, one week.

Read more about evictions in Minnesota here.

For more information on Minnesota Landlord Tenant laws please visit their website here.