In Minnesota, a lease exists wherever there is a written or oral agreement to exchange rent for inhabiting a property. According to Minnesota law (Ch. 504B Sec. 5048.001) tenants have certain rights under this relationship, including the right to habitable premises and the right to take some forms of alternative action.
Landlords also have rights, such as the right to collect rent in a timely manner and the right to be reimbursed for damages that exceed normal wear and tear.
Note: These rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.
In addition to the below, check your local county and municipality for additional land-lord tenant regulations.
Landlord Responsibilities in Minnesota
Landlords in Minnesota are required to provide a habitable dwelling and make all requested repairs within 14 days. If landlords do not make requested repairs in that timeframe, then tenants are allowed to make the repairs and deduct the cost from rent.
Minnesota law does not enumerate a list of essential services that landlords must provide, but outline four general responsibilities that landlords must abide by. Minnesota housing must be:
- Fit to live in
- Kept in reasonable repair
- Kept in compliance with local health and safety laws
- Made reasonable energy efficient
Whether or not a property is habitable is judged on these 4 criteria. What amenities these cover is up to legal interpretation and is handled on a more-or-less case-by-case basis.
Tenant Responsibilities in Minnesota
Apart from paying rent on-time and consistently, Minnesota tenants must:
- Keep the unit in a safe and habitable condition
- Make small repairs and maintenance
- Keep the unit clean and remove garbage
- Not disturb other tenants or neighbors
Evictions in Minnesota
The most common reasons for eviction in Minnesota are:
- Nonpayment of rent – Minnesota law does not require landlords to give tenants a notice to pay in the case of late rent. Thus, if a tenant does not pay rent, then the landlord can be served with an eviction notice after any applicable grace period.
- Lease violation – If a lease violation occurs, then landlords may notify the tenants and provide instructions on how to remedy the problem. Minnesota law does not require this though so landlords can immediately evict tenants for lease violations without notice.
- Illegal acts – Similarly, eviction for illegal actions require no advanced notice. Illegal activities that warrant eviction in Minnesota include drug manufacture, prostitution, illegal gambling, and possessing an illegal firearm.
At-will tenants that rely on a monthly or quarterly basis are entitled to at least 30 days’ notice. If an at-will tenant is late on rent, then the landlord must give a 14-Day Notice to Pay or Quit.
It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant as a form of retaliation or for discriminatory reasons.
Security Deposits in Minnesota
- Standard Limit/Maximum Amount – None
- Time Limit for Returns – 3 weeks (21 days)
- Penalty if Not Returned on Time – If a landlord wrongfully withholds a security deposit then they may be required to pay up to twice the original value and up to $500 in damages.
- Allowable Deductions – Missed rental payments and repairs.
Lease Termination in Minnesota
Notice requirements. Minnesota tenants who wish to end a periodic lease must give the following notice.
|Rent Payment Frequency||Notice Needed|
Early termination. Tenants in Minnesota are allowed to legally break a lease for the following reasons:
- Early termination clause
- Active military duty
- Landlord harassment
- Domestic violence
Minnesota tenants that break a lease early may be required to pay the rest of the lease agreement. Landlords are not obligated to re-rent a unit.
Rent Increases & Related Fees in Minnesota
- Rent control. Minnesota law preempts any type of rent control at a state or local level. So, landlords can charge whatever they want for rent.
- Rental increases. Similarly, landlords are not prohibited from raising rental prices as much as they want, but they must give at least 1 month +1 day or notice but they do not have to give a justification.
- Rent-related fees. Late fees are capped at 8% of the total value of the rental payment. There is no limit for returned check fees.
Housing Discrimination in Minnesota
Protected groups. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, sex, or disability. This rule does not apply to owner-occupied homes or homes operated by religious organizations. State law adds further protection based on marital status, sexual orientation, and use of public assistance.
Discriminatory acts & penalties. Housing discrimination cases are heard by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The following actions may be considered discriminatory when directed at a member of a protected class.
- Refusing to rent or sell on a bona fide offer
- Deny certain financial services
- Falsely denying housing availability
- Refusing to make reasonable accommodations
- Selectively applying background checks
- Offering different terms, conditions, or privileges
Those who are the victim of housing discrimination can make a complaint through the online portal here.
Additional Landlord Tenant Regulations in Minnesota
Landlord Right to Entry in Minnesota
Minnesota landlords are required to provide a “reasonable” amount of notice before entering a property, though “reasonable is not defined by laws. Landlords are not required to give notice to enter in case of emergencies.
Small Claims Court in Minnesota
Minnesota small claims court will hear rent-related cases totaling up to $15,000. Small claims court will not see eviction notices though.
Mandatory Disclosures in Minnesota
Minnesota landlords are required to give mandatory disclosures about 4 things:
- Lead-based paint. Landlords who own homes built before 1978 must provide information about lead-paint concentrations.
- Authorized agents. Landlords must also provide all the names and addresses of those involved in owning and managing the property.
- Tenant Handbook. Landlords must inform tenants that the state’s tenant handbook is available at all times.
- Orders. Tenants must receive all outstanding inspection and condemnation orders.
Changing the Locks in Minnesota
Tenants in Minnesota may be legally empowered to change the locks unless the lease agreement forbids it. Landlords are forbidden from unilaterally changing the locks on tenants as a form of eviction.
Local Laws in Minnesota
Minneapolis Landlord-Tenant Rights
The city of Minneapolis has rules requiring landlords to only use “inclusive screening criteria” while performing background checks. Landlords cannot reject candidates for their credit score or for misdemeanor convictions. More info can be found here.