In Minnesota, a rental agreement is considered valid when there is a written or oral agreement to exchange rent for residing at a property. According to Minnesota law, (Ch. 504B Sec. 5048.001) landlords 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.
Tenants also have certain rights which include the right to live on a habitable premises and the right to take some forms of alternative action.
Note: These rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.
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 file a rent escrow action and the judge can give permission to allow the tenant to use the funds to make the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent escrow account. Tenant may choose to withhold rent and place the rent payments into an escrow account until the landlord is able to make the repairs.
Here is a list of essential amenities that landlords in Minnesota may or may not be responsible for:
|Dwelling Structure||Not addressed|
|Provide working HVAC equipment.||Heat required|
|Railing and staircase||Not addressed|
|Garbage removal||Not addressed|
|Smoke detectors||Not addressed|
Landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants for exercising their rights to a habitable dwelling.
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 – If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, a landlord may serve the tenant with a 14-Day Notice to Quit before filing an eviction action with the court.
- Lease Violation – If a lease violation occurs, then landlords may notify the tenants and provide instructions on how to remedy the problem, although remedying the issue is not required. A landlord must serve a tenant with some type of notice prior to beginning an eviction action. The amount of notice required depends on what is written in the lease agreement.
- No Lease/ End of Lease – If a tenant stays in the rental unit after the rental term has expired, the landlord may provide the tenant with a notice to quit. The amount of time required in the notice depends on the type of tenancy.
- Week-to-Week – 7-Day Notice to Quit.
- Month-to-Month – 30-Day Notice to Quit.
- All Other Tenancies– The amount of notice required must be equal to the time period between rent payments or three months.
- Illegal Acts – Illegal activities that warrant eviction in Minnesota include drug manufacture, prostitution, illegal gambling, and possessing an illegal firearm. The amount of notice tenants must receive depends on the terms of the lease.
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 the following mandatory disclosures:
- 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.
- Late Fees – Any landlord who charges late fees must disclose the amount of the fee and the date it will be charged.
- Inspection/Condemnation– Tenants must receive all outstanding inspection and condemnation orders.
- Financial Distress – This disclosure is applicable to any property that has received a notice of foreclosure.
- Shared Utilities – Landlords must disclose if there is a single utility meter for multiple tenants.
- Unlawful Activities – Landlords shall provide notice that outlines legal obligations that fall on both the landlord and tenant.
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.
Please check your local county and municipality for additional land-lord tenant regulations.