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Minnesota Renter Rights Overview

Our new post uncovers the basics of the Minnesota laws that regulate the relationships of local tenants and landlords.

We’ve prepared a comprehensive review of everything you should know before renting a place in Minnesota. Our renter’s guide to renting laws will help you figure out how to defend your basic rights as a local tenant.

Rental Application

Application fee: No more than screening services cost
Rental agreement required: Oral or Written

While applying for the rental in Minnesota, you will be requested to pay the application fee (which is the same as tenant screening fee). Your landlord will have to provide you with the contact details of the screening company he’ll use.

This is required so that you could check the real price of the screening and be able to see if he/she requests a reasonable fee.

If the tenant screening fee is lower than the application fee you’ve paid, the landlord is obligated to refund the difference.

Please note that Minnesota landlords are not allowed to charge screening fees if there is no unit available in the building for the lease.

The rental agreement can be written or oral; there are no restrictions regarding it in Minnesota.

We always recommend eSigning your written lease agreement, so that you did not have any problems in the court if you have to file a lawsuit against your landlord. It is always easier to work with the written agreement rather than with the oral one.

Security Deposit

Pet deposit maximum: Not indicated
Security deposit maximum: Not indicated
Return deposit deadline:  Within 21 days after lease ends
Security deposit interest: 1% a year
Legal reasons to keep security deposit: Unpaid rent, damage claims, lease breaches

Minnesota laws do not indicate the maximum amount of the security or pet deposit. However, there are several things to keep in mind while dealing with these payments.

First of all, landlords are obligated to keep your security deposit in the interest-bearing account. The interest year cannot be lower than 1% a year.

If you provide your deposit in cash, your landlord is obligated to provide you with the receipt, so that you could have the proof of receipt.

When you provide your cash deposit in person, your landlord must provide you with the receipt immediately. If not, he/she will have three days to send you the receipt.

Within 21 days after your lease ends, the landlord must refund the security deposit (minus the damage costs if there are any).

Landlords can cover the unpaid rent with your security deposit. If you cause any damage or your rental has excessive wear and tear, this will also be deducted from your deposit.

Any lease breaches will also be covered by your security deposit.

Security and Comfort

Smoke alarms: Required
Rekey requirements: Not indicated
Notice before entry: Effort of reasonable notice is required
Entry while tenant is absent: Possible in several cases

Smoke alarms are required in the Minnesota state. Your rental must be equipped with the smoke alarms that should be installed 10 feet of each sleeping area and bedroom.

Please note that smoke alarms must be plugged directly into the electrical outlet. Battery-powered smoke alarms are not permitted.

Minnesota tenants are covered by a few fundamental laws to provide their privacy.

First of all, your landlord can only enter your premises with a reasonable business purpose. He/she is required to make an effort of notifying you first.

In case of violating your privacy and entering your rental without notice, you may take this case to court and get up to $100 reimbursement.

The examples of the reasonable business purposes are covered on pages 12 and 13 of the Tenant-Landlord Handbook of Minnesota.

The landlord can visit your rental without the notice in the following situations:
– When this is necessary to prevent the damage to the property
– When this is necessary to determine the tenant’s safety
– When this is necessary in order to comply with the local ordinance

Rental Payments

Maximum rent: Not indicated
Late fees: Reasonable amount
Rent increase: Written notice required (rental period + 1 day)
Right to withhold rent for failure to provide essential services (Water, Heat, etc.): Allowed
Tenant’s right to repair and deduct rent: Allowed

Tenant-landlord laws in Minnesota do not indicate the maximum rent amount that can be charged by the landlord. Minnesota doesn’t have the rent control as of today.

Tenant is obligated to pay his rent on the due date. The due date should be stated in the lease agreement to avoid misunderstandings.

Rent can be increased during the periodic tenancy only after the written notice. It should be provided within one rental period plus one day.

If you do not pay your rent on time, your landlord can charge late fees. However, the fees should be reasonable and will not be equal to a penalty. This reasonable fee must compensate for the resulting damages after a late payment.

Tenant is allowed to withhold rent for necessary repairs if the landlord doesn’t take care of those. You can also:

– File a complaint
– Place your rent payment in escrow with the court
– Sue the landlord in your district court

Lease Terminations

Notice to terminate lease: Not required
Eviction notice for not paying rent: 14-days notice (month-to-month lease)
Eviction notice for lease violation: Not required

If the tenant doesn’t pay rent under the month-to-month lease, the landlord cannot start the eviction process without giving the 14-days notice.

However, according to the Minnesota state laws, the landlord can file for eviction in court without giving any notice in case of the lease violation.

Landlord and Tenant Law

Official Minnesota Statutes

Minnesota Tenant Handbook

Disclaimer: Although we have relied on Official State Statutes and other credible sources to find and analyze information for this post, you’re advised to use it as a starting point only, and do not consider this article a substitute for legal advice. Some situations are unique, and it is always better to consult with a qualified lawyer or appropriate government agencies.

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