Minnesota Landlord Tenant Law

Looking for clear and concise information on Minnesota landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to Minnesota landlord tenant statutes.

MN Landlord Tenant Law

  • Minnesota Statutes Chapter 504B - Landlord and Tenant

Tenant Application

Tenant Screening Fees

Minnesota landlord tenant law MINN. STAT. 504B.173 requires the landlord to:

  • make sure that a rental unit is available (or shall be available soon) before asking a tenant applicant for screening fees
  • give the tenant applicant a written receipt after receiving the screening fees
  • screen all tenant applicants before depositing the screening fees of rejected applicants

The landlord must return the screening fees to the applicant if he or she has been accepted and agrees to rent the property.  MINN. STAT. 504B.173 § 2

The landlord may use screening fees to perform reference, background and credit checks on tenant applicants. Any remaining amount must be returned to the applicant.

Prelease Deposit

Prelease deposit is payment given from a prospective tenant to the landlord BEFORE they enter into a rental agreement.  MINN. STAT. 504B.175

The landlord can only accept a prelease deposit if there is a written agreement stating the conditions for its return and that the landlord shall return it within seven days (if the conditions are met).

If the prospective tenant and landlord enters into a rental agreement, the prelease deposit shall go towards part of the security deposit or rent.

If the landlords fails to follow Minnesota landlord tenant laws for handling prelease deposits, the tenant can recover 1.5 times the amount of prelease deposit from the landlord.

Background and Credit Check

You can screen tenant applicants with a background check or full credit report from RentPrep.

A background check will show a person's history of addresses, evictions, bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

A full credit report comes with a basic background check, credit check plus criminal check. A basic background check shows a person's history of addresses, evictions and bankruptcies.

Landlords do not need the tenant or applicant's consent to run background and credit checks.  Fair Credit Reporting Act § 604(a)(3)(F)

Before accepting screening fees, the landlord must inform applicants of the name, address, phone number of tenant screening service (if the landlord is using one) and the landlord's criteria for choosing a tenant.  MINN. STAT. 504B.173 § 3

If the landlord rejects an applicant, the landlord has to let the applicant know why he or she was rejected within 13 days.

If the landlord fails to follow Minnesota landlord tenant laws for screening tenant applicants, the applicant can sue the landlord for screening fees plus $100 plus court costs and attorney fees.

If the applicant provided false information or left important details, the landlord can sue the applicant for damages plus $500 plus court costs and attorney fees.

Avoiding Discrimination

The Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from discriminating against prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, sex, *familial status, national origin or physical/mental handicap.  42 U.S.C. § 3604

*Familial status - pregnant women and families with person(s) under 18.

In addition, Minnesota landlord tenant law disallows landlords from discriminating someone as a renter because of his or her sexual orientation, marital status or reliance on public assistance.  MINN. STAT. 363.02

Landlords must follow the above Fair Housing laws except in the following situations:

1. Landlords living in a single family house and renting out its room(s) are allowed to choose tenants based on sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or whether they are on public assistance.

2. Landlords living in a dwelling with two or less rental units and renting part(s) of it are allowed to choose tenants based on sexual orientation.  MINN. STAT. 363A.21

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Tenancy Agreement

(also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement)

Whether you're a landlord or tenant, it's important to have a written lease agreement with terms and conditions that favors you and follows your state laws.

To save time and avoid mistakes, you can customize your own lease agreement at LawDepot. This site will ask you a set of questions related to your tenancy and create a state-specific agreement based on your answers.

Landlords of residential buildings with 12 or more dwelling units must have written lease agreements for each rental unit.  MINN. STAT. 504B.111

The landlord has to give a copy of the lease agreement to the tenant. The landlord can ask the tenant to sign and date a receipt (as proof that the tenant has received the lease agreement).   MINN. STAT. 504B.115

Required for Tenancy Agreement

Minnesota landlord tenant law MINN. STAT. 504B.181 requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:

  • Name and address of person authorized to manage the property
  • Name and address or property owner or owner's agent (person authorized to act on behalf of owner)
  • Disclosure and information of lead-based paint in the property (for housing built before 1978)

Recommended for Tenancy Agreement

  • Name and address of tenant(s)
  • Number of people (occupants) staying on the property
  • Type of tenancy: month to month tenancy or fixed term lease
  • How much is the rent
  • When, how and where the rent is to be paid
  • When is rent is considered late and the penalties for late rent payment
  • How much is the security deposit and pet deposit (if any)
  • Who holds the deposit(s) and where will it be held
  • What utilities and services are provided and who pays for them
  • What are the landlord's and tenant's duties for property maintenance
  • Can the tenant sublet the property or assign the lease
  • When to inform the landlord if tenant will be away for a long time
  • Prohibited activities and items

Disallowed for Tenancy Agreement

According to Minnesota landlord tenant law, your lease agreement CANNOT:

  • allow illegal activities involving controlled substances, firearms, stolen goods or prostitution on the property or its common areas  MINN. STAT. 504B.171
  • waive the landlord's duties for property maintenance and repairs - See Landlord Duties and Responsibilities below  MINN. STAT. 504.18

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Security Deposit

Minnesota landlord tenant law does not limit the maximum amount of security deposit that the landlord can ask (as long as the tenant is agreeable).

The landlord shall have the pay the tenant 1% interest on the deposit amount per year. Interest is pro-rated every month and shall be paid at the end of the tenancy.  MINN. STAT. 504B.178 § 2

Deductions and Returns

Minnesota landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions.  MINN. STAT. 504B.178 § 3(b)

Valid reasons for security deposit deductions (under Minnesota landlord tenant law) include:

  • Rent owed
  • Property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by tenant, occupants or tenant's guests

The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.

Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord must send the tenant a list of security deposit deductions and refund any remaining deposit within three weeks. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing.

If the landlord fails to follow Minnesota landlord tenant law for deducting and returning security deposit, the tenant can recover two times the amount of deposit wrongfully withheld plus interest.

Change of Property Owner

If the landlord transfers his or her ownership of the property to another person by sale, assignment, appointment or death, the landlord and landlord's agent shall still be responsible for the security deposit until they do ONE of the following within 60 days:

  • Transfer the security deposit with interest (after deductions) to the new owner and inform the tenant of the new owner's name and address
  • Return the security deposit with interest (after deductions) to the tenant  MINN. STAT. 504.178 § 5

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Minneapolis, Minnesota MN

Minnesota Landlord Tenant Law

Rent

Minnesota landlord tenant law requires the tenant to pay rent without demand or reminders. As long as the landlord and tenant are agreeable, they can choose the time, place and method of rent payment.

Whenever the tenant pays the landlord in cash (for rent or other reasons), the landlord must provide a written receipt immediately. If the tenant didn't pay in person, the landlord shall give the tenant a receipt within three business days.  MINN. STAT. 504B.118

Late Rent

If the landlord wants to impose late rent fees, it has to be specified in the rental agreement. The rental agreement has to state when late fees will be imposed and the late fees cannot exceed 8% of the overdue rent amount.  MINN. STAT. 504B.177

Raising Rent

According to the Minnesota Landlord Tenant Act, the landlord can choose to raise the rent by any amount.

For a periodic tenancy, the landlord has to inform the tenant of a rent increase at least one payment interval plus one day in advance.  MINN. STAT. 504B.147

For a week to week tenancy, the landlord has to inform the tenant of a rent increase at least eight (7+1) days in advance.

For a month to month tenancy, the landlord has to inform the tenant of a rent increase at least 31 (30+1) days in advance.

The tenant can then choose to pay the higher rent or move out.

For a fixed term tenancy, the landlord isn't allowed to raise the rent until the tenancy expires.

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Property Maintenance

The Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in all common areas within apartment buildings.  MINN. STAT. 144.413

Landlord Duties and Responsibilities

The Minnesota Landlord Tenant Act MINN. STAT. 504B.161 requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition:

  • Compliance: Obey all building and housing codes that affect health and safety
  • Repairs: Make all repairs to keep the property safe and habitable
  • Energy Saving: Lower energy costs (by installing weatherstripping, caulking, storm windows, and storm doors)
  • Install weatherstripping, caulking, storm windows, and storm doors (if it lowers energy costs in the long run)
  • Common Areas: Keep all common areas clean and safe

Tenant Duties and Responsibilities

The tenant can be responsible for certain property maintenance or repairs if both parties agree to it in writing. The landlord shall have to compensate the tenant for performing maintenance or repairs.  MINN. STAT. 504B.161

If Property is Condemned

If a residential property is condemned or declared not habitable by state or local authorities, the landlord or landlord's agent shall not be allowed to collect rent or security deposit.

If the landlord violates this Minnesota landlord tenant statute, the tenant can sue the landlord for actual damages and three times the amount of money collected (after the property was condemned) PLUS court costs and attorney fees.  MINN. STAT. 504B.204

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Property Access

According to Minnesota landlord tenant law MINN. STAT. 504B.211 § 3, the landlord is only allowed to enter the property for business purposes. This includes:

  • Showing the property to prospective buyers, tenants or insurance reps
  • Performing property maintenance or repairs
  • Allowing government officials to inspect the property for code violations
  • Tenant caused a disturbance on the property or violated the rental agreement
  • Tenant has vacated the property
  • Providing prearranged housekeeping for senior housing (where at least 80% of the tenants are at least 55 years old)

In the above situations, the landlord should inform the tenant at least 24 hours in advance before entering the property.

When Tenant's Permission is NOT Required

According to Minnesota landlord tenant law, the landlord may enter the property without permission IF immediate entry is required for:

  • preventing harm to people or property due to maintenance, building security, or law enforcement
  • making sure that the tenant is safe
  • enforcing the law due to illegal activities within the property

If the landlord didn't inform the tenant in advance and the tenant wasn't home when the landlord entered the property, the landlord must leave a written notice stating he or she has entered the property (at a highly visible place on the property).  MINN. STAT. 504B.211 § 5

If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant can sue the landlord for $100 per violation.

If Landlord Enters Property Illegally

The landlord must have a valid reason and inform the tenant in advance (whenever required by Minnesota landlord tenant law) to enter the property. If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant can sue the landlord for lower rents, the return of security deposit (after deductions) and $100 per violation.  MINN. STAT. 504B.211 § 6

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Subletting

There are no specific Minnesota landlord tenant laws on subletting.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • Is the tenant allowed to sublet the property? If yes, is the landlord's written consent required before the tenant can sublet?
  • Is the landlord allowed to screen and reject every prospective subtenant?
  • Can the landlord ask for additional rent and security deposit if the tenant sublets?

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Saint Paul, Minnesota MN

Saint Paul, Minnesota MN

Termination of Tenancy

Number of Days for Notice to Quit

Minnesota landlord tenant law requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit before terminating a tenancy.

If there is no written lease agreement, the number of days for notice to quit shall be equal to the rent payment interval (capped at three months).  MINN. STAT. 504B.135.(a)

Examples:

If rent is paid every week, you must give this notice at least one week before the termination date.

If rent is paid every month, you must give this notice at least one month before the termination date.

If rent is paid every year, you must give this notice at least three months before the termination date.

TENANT

If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:

Tenant or occupant is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or harassment

See below

Property damage due to fire, disaster or unavoidable accident

Immediate

Property contains plumbing, pipes, water or steam that can cause injury due to freezing between Nov 15 to Apr 15

3 days

Tenant or Occupant is a Victim of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault or Harassment

If the tenant or occupant is (OR might become) a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or harassment, the tenant can terminate the rental agreement by giving the landlord a written notice to quit with the following details:

  • Tenant or occupant is or might become a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or harassment
  • Tenant needs to terminate the tenancy
  • When the tenancy will be terminated
  • What to do with the tenant's remaining belongings after termination (if any)
  • Tenant's signature and date

In addition, this notice must include a qualified document showing that the tenant or occupant is or might become a victim (e.g. police report, protection order).  MINN. STAT. 504B.206

The tenant shall have to pay rent for the entire month when the lease terminates and forfeit the full deposit amount. Example: If the lease terminates on 15 January, the tenant will have to pay rent until 31 January.

Property Damage Due to Fire, Disaster or Unavoidable Accident

If the property is badly damaged by fire, disasters or (unavoidable) accidents, the tenant can immediately move out and stop paying rent. The tenant must inform the landlord that he or she intends to terminate the tenancy, and the tenancy shall terminate once the tenant moves out.  MINN. STAT. 504B.131

After the tenant moves out, the landlord must return the security deposit (after any deductions) to the tenant. The tenant won't have to pay rent starting from the date of the fire or natural disaster, so the landlord must also return any prepaid rent to the tenant.

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Eviction

According to Minnesota landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:

Tenant did not pay rent (written lease)

No notice needed

Tenant did not pay rent (no written lease)

14 days

Tenant violated tenancy agreement

No notice needed

Tenant passed away

60 days

Whether you are a landlord evicting someone or a tenant facing eviction, it's important that you handle matters correctly according to your state laws.

If you have any questions or doubts on eviction, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.

Tenant Did Not Pay Rent

If there is a written lease agreement and the tenant failed to pay rent on time, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit immediately WITHOUT having to give the tenant a notice to quit first.

If there is no written lease agreement (tenancy at will), the landlord must send the tenant a 14 day notice to quit before filing an eviction lawsuit.  MINN. STAT. 504B.135.(b)

Before the tenant is evicted, he or she can stop the eviction lawsuit by paying the rent owed (with interest) plus court costs and attorney fees.  MINN. STAT. 504B.291

Tenant Violated Tenancy Agreement

If the tenant violates the tenancy agreement, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit immediately WITHOUT having to give the tenant a notice to quit first.  MINN. STAT. 504B.285

The landlord is not required to give the tenant a chance to correct the problem(s) to avoid eviction.

Unlawful Eviction

According to Minnesota landlord tenant law, the landlord CANNOT force the tenant to move out by shutting off utilities (electricity, water, gas, sanitation), changing the locks, taking the tenant's belongings or taking possession of the property by force without a court hearing.  MINN. STAT. 504B.225

If the landlord forces the tenant to move out with (the unlawful methods above) or shuts off utilities, the tenant may recover three times the amount of damages or $500 (whichever is more) plus attorney's fees.  MINN. STAT. 504B.231.(a)

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Abandonment

When is it Abandonment?

There are no specific Minnesota landlord tenant laws on when the property is considered abandoned by the tenant.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When is the property considered abandoned by the tenant? - Tenant hasn't paid rent for X days, Tenant has been absent from the property for X days (without informing the landlord)
  • After the property is abandoned, does the tenant have to continue paying rent until the landlord finds a new tenant?

Dealing with Abandoned Belongings

If the tenant abandoned the property and left his or her personal belongings behind, the landlord must inform the tenant where the belongings are stored AND give the tenant at least 28 days after receiving notice of abandonment to remove them.  MINN. STAT. 504B.271

The landlord can choose to dispose or sell the belongings (in a public sale).

While the landlord has to make a reasonable effort to store the abandoned belongings, the landlord isn't responsible for any damage or losses... unless it's due to the landlord's abuse or neglect. If the abandoned belongings are moved to a commercial storage company, the tenant will be responsible for the moving and storage costs.

If the landlord chooses to sell the abandoned belongings, he or she must inform the tenant at least 14 days before the sale in writing. The landlord can send this notice of sale to the tenant's last known address (by first class certified mail) or post it at a highly visible place on the property.

The landlord may use revenue from the public sale to pay for the following:

  • Moving and storage cost of the abandoned belongings
  • Cost of holding the public sale
  • Any remaining rent owed or damages that the tenant is responsible for (after deducting from the security deposit first)

Any remaining revenue from the sale shall be given to the tenant if he or she requests for it.

If the landlord violates Michigan landlord tenant laws on handling abandoned belongings, the tenant may sue the landlord for up to three times the amount of damages or $1000 (whichever is more) plus attorney fees.

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Resources

Minnesota Landlord Tenant Law: Minnesota Landlord and Tenant Act

Minnesota Landlord Tenant Handbook: Landlords and Tenants - Rights and Responsibilities

If you have any questions or need legal advice, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.

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