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Minnesota State Law ImageAre there rent control/rent stabilization policies or laws in Minnesota?
The state of Minnesota has not established rent control or stabilization practices.

What special rules are there regarding rental applications?
According to 504B.173 of the Minnesota Landlord Tenant Laws, the following are important points to know with regards to rental applications. Additionally, the landlord should be very familiar with the Fair Housing Laws as well as the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

  • There is a limit to the number of applicant screening fees. A landlord or the landlord's agent may not charge an applicant a screening fee when the landlord knows or should have known that no rental unit is available at that time.
  • A landlord or agent must return the screening fee amount that was not used to perform a tenant screening report, consumer credit report, or personal reference check. The screening fee may be mailed to the tenant or retrieved by pick up. If payment was made by check, it may be destroyed upon the request of the applicant.
  • Before accepting any application fee, the landlord or agent must inform the prospective tenant in writing, the name, address, and telephone number of the service the owner will use for the screening process. The letter must also include the criteria in which the decision to accept the application will be based on.
  • In addition to any other remedies, a landlord who violates this section is liable to the applicant for the application fee plus a civil penalty of up to $100, civil court filing costs, and reasonable attorney fees incurred to enforce this remedy.
     

What is the maximum amount I can collect as a security deposit?
There is no limit to the security deposit charged to the tenant so long as it is reasonable.

My tenant has moved out, what do I do with their security deposit?
Once the tenant vacates the landlord must return the balance of the security deposit plus one percent interest (currently). This must be done within 21 days after the day the tenancy ends and the tenant has provided a forwarding address. Interest begins on the first day of the month after receiving full payment of the security deposit. Interest is paid to the last day of the month in which the landlord returns the deposit. If there are any deductions made, a complete accounting must be mailed to the tenant’s forwarding address with any balance thereof.

May I charge a late rent or returned payment fee?
Landlords may assess late fees when the rent is past due if it is in writing. However, the fee must approximate the actual damages suffered and must compensate; they cannot penalize. Returned check fees may not to exceed $30; and must be specified so in the lease or posted conspicuously on the Leased Premises. Minn. Stat. § 604.113

How can I end a Minnesota lease agreement?
If there is no provision in the lease stating how much advance notice must be given to end the tenancy, the landlord or tenant must provide written notice of at least one full rental period before the tenancy's last day. The same is true for periodic leases such as month to month or week to week.

Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
The “personal representative” of a renter’s estate may terminate a lease upon the death of the renter after two full months’ written notice. A tenant may vacate a unit if it becomes uninhabitable or unfit for occupancy. In certain circumstances, a renter called to duty in the armed forces can give 30 days notice. The military service member/tenant should contact his/her Judge Advocate General Office for information. A victim of domestic abuse may terminate a rental agreement by providing proper written notice.

My tenant has not paid rent; how much notice do I have to give a tenant in order to evict them?
In general, if a tenant does not pay rent on the day it is due, the landlord may immediately bring an Eviction Action unless the lease provides otherwise.

Can I require my tenants to obtain renter's insurance?
Landlords may require tenants to obtain rental insurance, and can make the failure to do so a breach of the lease agreement.

How do I tell if my tenant has “skipped” out of the apartment?
Often times it’s best to look for the obvious, such as removal of personal goods, whether or not the tenant has come back to the premises at any time during a one week period, and simply no food in the refrigerator. It’s extremely important to document all of the “proof” gathered in order to determine abandonment. When in doubt, if payment of rent has not been made, the landlord may always file for eviction.

How must a Landlord handle abandoned property left behind by a tenant?
If a tenant abandons rented premises, the landlord may take possession of the tenant's personal property remaining on the premises, and shall store and care for the property. The landlord has a claim against the tenant for reasonable costs and expenses incurred in removing the tenant's property and in storing and caring for the property.

The landlord may sell or otherwise dispose of the property 28 days after the landlord receives actual notice of the abandonment, or 28 days after it reasonably appears to the landlord that the tenant has abandoned the premises, whichever occurs last.

Prior to a sale, the landlord shall make reasonable efforts to notify the tenant at least 14 days prior to the sale, by personal service in writing or sending written notification of the sale by first class and certified mail to the tenant's last known address or usual place of abode, if known by the landlord, and by posting notice of the sale in a conspicuous place on the premises at least two weeks prior to the sale. If notification by mail is used, the 14-day period shall be deemed to start on the day the notices are deposited in the United States mail.

Please Note: The remedies provided in this section are in addition to and shall not limit other rights or remedies available to landlords and tenants.

Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy by providing so in the Lease.

Do I have to give the tenant notice before I enter the rental property?
Landlords may not enter the leased premises without prior notice and consent, except in cases of emergency.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.

View our additional Minnesota landlord-tenant resources, and if you have legal questions, ask the experts in our Property Management Forum!


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