|Return Deadline||Usually 21 Days|
|Penalty for Late Return||2x Amount Due + $500|
For laws on security deposit collections and holdings in Minnesota, click here.
Security Deposit Deductions in Minnesota
In Minnesota, the following things can be deducted from security deposits:
- Unpaid rent, utilities, and late fees
- Any other unpaid bills
- Costs of damage excluding normal wear and tear
Most states, such as Minnesota, do not have a legal limit on how much a landlord can charge for damages except that the charges must be reasonable.
If the cost of the damages exceeds the amount of the security deposit, landlords are entitled to seek additional damages from the former tenant.
What is Considered Normal Wear & Tear vs Damage in Minnesota?
Normal wear and tear is damage that is expected when a rental unit is used in a normal way, such as gently worn carpets and faded walls. Damage is the destruction caused by abusive or negligent use of a rental unit, like ripped carpets and heavily stained walls.
“Normal wear and tear” is deterioration that occurs naturally as a result of the tenant using the property as it was designed to be used.
- Gently worn carpets
- Lightly scratched glass
- Faded paint and flooring
- Lightly dirtied grout
- Loose door handles
- Stained bath fixtures
“Damage” means destruction to the rental unit that occurs because of abuse or negligence by a tenant during the course of the tenancy.
- Heavily stained, burned, or torn carpets
- Broken tiles or windows
- Holes in the wall
- Missing fixtures
Can the Landlord Charge for Replacing the Carpet in Minnesota?
Yes, landlords can charge for replacing the carpet if it is damaged beyond normal wear and tear.
Some wear and tear on a rental unit’s carpet is expected after normal day-to-day use of the property. For example, carpets typically become discolored, indented, or gently worn, when used in a normal way. However, non-typical, abusive use of carpet results in rips, visible stains, or burns. Landlords have the right to charge the tenant for the replacement of the carpet in areas where serious damage has occurred.
Can the Landlord Charge for Nail Holes in Minnesota?
Yes, landlords can charge a tenant for nail holes if they damage the walls in a way that is not a result of ordinary enjoyment of the rental unit.
Tenants have the right to use the walls within their unit in a reasonable way. This includes inserting small nails or thumbtacks to hang posters or pictures. However, large holes from drilling, multiple nail holes, large nail holes, and holes made for hanging heavier things may be considered damage and thus, chargeable to the tenant.
Can the Landlord Charge a Cleaning Fee in Minnesota?
Landlords in Minnesota can charge a cleaning fee except the landlord cannot charge for cleaning done as a result of normal wear and tear. However, tenants are required to return the rental unit to the same condition as when they moved in. Landlords can make deductions from the security deposit if the tenant left without cleaning the rental unit.
Can the Landlord Charge for Painting in Minnesota?
Yes, in Minnesota, landlords can charge for painting, except for normal wear and tear. For example, if the tenant:
- Causes damage beyond normal wear and tear
- Repaints the wall but is not permitted to do so under the lease agreement
- Repaints the wall in an unprofessional way
Normal wear includes minor scrapes from daily use, fading due to sunlight, or minor cracks in the original paint. Landlords can charge for repainting if the damage is not the result of normal use. This includes stains, large or deep scratches, and water damage.
Can a Security Deposit Be Used for Last Month’s Rent in Minnesota?
Minnesota law does not forbid the security deposit from being used for any outstanding rent when the landlord makes deductions. However, tenants cannot withhold their last rental payment because they paid a security deposit (unless otherwise stated in the lease agreement).
If a tenant withholds the last rent payment, the landlord is entitled to double their allowable deductions from the security deposit (except unpaid rent) and withhold the interest. However, the landlord must first send a written demand to the tenant to pay rent.
Security Deposit Returns in Minnesota
Landlords must return any remaining portion of a security deposit plus interest within 21 days (with some exceptions) after conditions have been met. If deductions are to be made from the security deposit, an itemized statement of deductions must be provided.
How Long Do Landlords Have to Return Security Deposits in Minnesota?
Minnesota landlords have 21 days after the lease term ends and the tenant provides a mailing address (or other delivery instructions) to return any remaining portion of the security deposit plus interest.
However, if the lease ends because of condemnation, the landlord must return the security deposit within 5 days after the tenant vacates the rental unit.
Do Landlords Owe Interest on Security Deposits in Minnesota?
Minnesota law does require landlords to provide interest on held security deposits. The minimum interest rate is 1% per year, except landlords are not required to provide interest if the accrued amount at the end of the lease term is less than $1.
Interest accrues starting on the first day of the next month following the payment of the security deposit. The accrual of interest ends on the earlier of either:
- The last day of the month in which the landlord returns any remaining portion of the security deposit
- The exact date of the entry of a judgment for the security deposit
So for example, if a landlord collects a security deposit on January 15th and returns it on December 10th, interest accrues from February 1st to December 31st.
How Do Landlords Give Notice / What Information Do They Have to Provide in Minnesota?
If deductions are to be made from the security deposit, an itemized statement of deductions must be sent by U.S. first-class mail to the tenant’s last known address, unless otherwise instructed by the tenant. The notice must have a valid return address and prepaid postage.
Security Deposit Disputes in Minnesota
If landlords do not return the security deposit or provide an itemized statement of deductions, if any, within the required time period, tenants can file for damages in court up to twice the amount of the deposit due to the tenant (plus $500 for bad faith retention).
If the lease agreement states that the landlord can recover attorneys’ fees in a lawsuit, the tenant can recover attorneys’ fees if they win.
Tenants can also take legal action against a landlord for:
- Unreasonable deductions
- Failure to provide interest
How Can Tenants File a Dispute for a Security Deposit in Minnesota?
If a landlord fails to perform their obligations regarding a security deposit, the tenant can file a dispute in Small Claims Court if the amount of damages is less than $15,000. If the amount is greater, the tenant must file a civil case in District Court.
A small claims case regarding the return of a security deposit must be filed within 2 years.
Cases are filed in the Small Claims Court where the rental property is located or where the defendant lives or has a place of business. An attorney is not required but permitted.
Our website provides more information about the process of filing a dispute in Small Claims Court.
- 1 MN Stat § 504B.178
The landlord may withhold from the deposit…defaults in the payment of rent or of other funds due to the landlord..to restore the premises to their condition at the commencement of the tenancy, ordinary wear and tear excepted.Source Link
- 2 MN Stat § 504B.178
The landlord may withhold from the deposit only amounts reasonably necessary…Source Link
- 3 MN Stat § 504B.178
The landlord may withhold from the deposit…to restore the premises to their condition at the commencement of the tenancy…Source Link
- 4 MN Stat § 504B.178
No tenant may withhold payment of all or any portion of rent for the last payment period…on the grounds that the deposit should serve as payment for the rent.Source Link
- 5 MN Stat § 504B.178
Any tenant who remains in violation of this subdivision…shall be liable to the landlord for the following…a penalty in an amount equal to the portion of the deposit which the landlord is entitled to withhold…interest on the whole deposit…Source Link
- 6 MN Stat § 504B.178
Every landlord shall…within three weeks after termination of the tenancy…and after receipt of the tenant’s mailing address or delivery instructions, return the deposit to the tenant, with interest thereon…Source Link
- 7 MN Stat § 504B.178
Every landlord shall…within five days of the date when the tenant leaves the building or dwelling due to the legal condemnation of the building or dwelling…return the deposit to the tenant, with interest thereon…Source Link
- 8 MN Stat § 504B.178
Any deposit of money…shall bear simple noncompounded interest at the rate of…one percent per annum…Source Link
- 9 MN Stat § 504B.178
Any interest amount less than $1 shall be excluded from the provisions of this section.Source Link
- 10 MN Stat § 504B.178
…computed from the first day of the next month following the full payment of the deposit to the last day of the month in which the landlord, in good faith, complies with the requirements of subdivision 3 or to the date upon which judgment is entered in any civil action involving the landlord’s liability for the deposit, whichever date is earlier.Source Link
- 11 MN Stat § 504B.178
It shall be sufficient compliance with…this subdivision if the deposit or written statement required by this subdivision is placed in the United States mail as first class mail, postage prepaid, in an envelope with a proper return address…Source Link
- 12 MN Stat § 504B.178
Any landlord who fails to…provide a written statement…transfer or return a deposit…is liable to the tenant for damages in an amount equal to the portion of the deposit withheld…in addition to the portion of the deposit wrongfully withheld by the landlord and interest thereon.Source Link
- 13 MN Stat § 504B.178
The bad faith retention by a landlord of a deposit, the interest thereon, or any portion thereof, in violation of this section shall subject the landlord to punitive damages not to exceed $500…Source Link
- 14 MN Stat § 504B.172
If a residential lease specifies an…extent to which a landlord…may recover attorney fees…the tenant is entitled to attorney fees if the tenant prevails in the same type of action…Source Link
- 15 MN Stat § 491A.01
…the conciliation court has jurisdiction to hear…and determine civil claims if the amount…of the claim does not exceed…$15,000…Source Link
- 16 MN Stat § 541.07
…the following actions shall be commenced within two years…upon a statute for a penalty…Source Link