Minnesota Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Minnesota Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Last Updated: June 6, 2024 by Roberto Valenzuela

Tenants in Minnesota have the legal right to repairs for issues that place the property in violation of state health and safety standards. To exercise this right, they must properly notify the landlord in writing and allow 14 days for the repairs to be made.

Minnesota Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs

Minnesota landlords are responsible for keeping all of the following in good working condition:

  • Plumbing
  • Heating (specifically to at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit, between October 1 through April 30 of each year)
  • Hot and cold potable water
  • Required smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors
  • Required weatherproofing and door/window seals
  • Common areas
  • Anything required by locally applicable health and safety laws

If any of the above stops working properly, and the tenant isn’t at fault for the damage, the landlord is the one responsible for making the repairs necessary to fix it.

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What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Minnesota?

Tenants in Minnesota are responsible for repairing any damage they cause to the property through their own deliberate or irresponsible actions, which affects health and safety.

On a case by case basis, the landlord and tenant can agree in a conspicuous writing for the tenant to handle specific maintenance, but this can’t include basic statutory habitability and energy efficiency requirements, and the tenant has to receive consideration in return such as a rent reduction.

Requesting Repairs in Minnesota

Minnesota tenants must request repairs by notifying the landlord, in writing, of the condition that needs repair. Additionally, when the local government has cited the landlord for a code violation, that counts as putting the landlord on notice, and the renter doesn’t need to submit a repair request.

How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in Minnesota?

Minnesota landlords have 14 days to make repairs after getting a written notice, except for code violations where the renter can show good reason for a shorter period of time.

Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in Minnesota?

Minnesota landlords cannot refuse to make repairs that are their responsibility, even if the tenant isn’t current on rent. Minnesota courts have clearly stated that failure to repair relieves the tenant of at least part of the responsibility for rent.

Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in Minnesota?

Minnesota landlords are not required to pay for alternative accommodation while they conduct repairs.

Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Minnesota

Minnesota tenants have the standard remedy to file a rent escrow action if the landlord doesn’t perform timely repairs. The escrow action court can order repairs, or various kinds of rent reduction and deduction. For severe issues, a tenant can also file an emergency tenant remedies action to get a court order for the landlord to begin fixing a violation immediately. If the problem is severe enough, the renter might also claim constructive eviction and move out.

Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in Minnesota?

Minnesota tenants can withhold rent as part of a court-approved rent escrow action. For severe habitability issues, a tenant can also claim constructive eviction, which involves moving out and suspending rent payments. Constructive eviction doesn’t require a court action.

Can the Tenant Repair and Deduct in Minnesota?

Minnesota tenants can arrange for repairs and deduct from the rent, as part of a court-approved rent escrow action.

Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in Minnesota?

Minnesota tenants can break the lease as part of a court-approved rent escrow action. They can also break the lease in cases of extreme damage to the property that renders it uninhabitable but wasn’t the tenant’s fault.

Can the Tenant Sue in Minnesota?

Minnesota tenants can sue by filing a rent escrow action if the landlord fails to make timely repairs, which gives a court broad powers to order relief for any issues. For severe issues, a tenant can also file an emergency tenant remedies action. Emergency tenant remedies courts have the power to quickly order

Can the Tenant Report the Landlord in Minnesota?

Minnesota tenants can report landlords to the local inspections or code enforcement department, for code violations that affect health or safety. If an inspecting officer finds a violation, the landlord is considered legally on notice to repair it for rent escrow purposes.

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Landlord Retaliation in Minnesota

It’s illegal for Minnesota landlords to retaliate with increased obligations, reduced services, eviction, changes to the rental agreement, or contacting law enforcement about a tenant’s immigration status. The law presumes retaliation when a landlord does one of these things against tenants who report landlord violations, seek assistance from community, news, or tenant organizations, or exercise other legal rights and remedies.

The landlord has to prove non-retaliatory intentions if any of the previously mentioned tenant actions take place fewer than 90 days after a complaint. If a court finds a landlord retaliated, the court will stop any eviction against the tenant and award the tenant reasonable attorney fees plus $1,000 per occurrence of retaliation.

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