Minnesota landlords and tenants have to navigate local and state rental laws that affect their rights and responsibilities in the landlord-tenant relationship. Understanding these laws can be a bit tricky, even for experienced landlords and renters.
That’s why we created this comprehensive guide on Minnesota’s rental laws. Learn about well-known topics such as tenant screening and evictions as well as lesser-discussed issues like mandatory disclosures in lease agreements. With this guide, landlords and tenants will gain an understanding of the laws found in Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 504B.
Landlords, discover how to protect your rental properties and create positive relationships with tenants. Tenants, get ready to gain invaluable knowledge on how to use your fundamental rights while renting a home.
Let's dive in!
Both the landlord and tenant have fundamental rights in Minnesota. In the case of the landlord, these rights help them operate a successful rental business shielded from legal issues. Some of these rights include:
Rental owners in Minnesota also have a set of responsibilities that ensure a safe living environment and smooth tenancy for renters. Their main duties are:
As previously stated, Minnesota law provides renters with fundamental rights. For tenants, these laws ensure their safety and legal protection during their tenancy. Their main rights include:
Minnesota tenants, too, have obligations they must uphold while residing in a rental property. They must:
Minnesota has stricter laws around charging rental application fees. In the state, landlords cannot:
Landlords can only run background checks if they have the potential renter’s consent. Landlords can conduct checks including criminal history, rental history, and credit reports. Additionally, Minnesota and federal law protect tenants from discrimination and ensure fair and equal access to rental housing.
Minnesota allows lease agreements to be documented orally for leases up to three years long. At that time, the lease agreement must be written. It’s always recommended to have a written lease agreement, as it outlines the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.
In a written agreement, landlords are required to include their name, phone number, rent amount, rent due date, lease period, and a general description of the rental unit. Learn more about what information should be included in a lease agreement.
To update a lease agreement, landlords must provide a 30-day notice for leases of a year or more, and 15 days in advance for all other tenancy lengths.
Minnesota landlords are allowed to collect a security deposit to cover property damage beyond common wear and tear and other unforeseen costs at the end of a lease. Landlords can charge whatever they deem appropriate for the deposit.
Other Minnesota security deposit laws to be aware of include:
At the end of the lease, Minnesota landlords have 21 days to return a tenant’s security deposit after the tenant provides delivery instructions. Landlords can make deductions for reasons including unpaid rent, late fees, and utilities, plus damage exceeding normal wear and tear.
If the landlord fails to comply with the notice period or wrongfully withholds funds, the tenant can sue for twice the amount wrongfully withheld, plus $500.
Minnesota doesn’t have state-wide rent control laws, but the state allows cities and towns to create their own laws. This is the case for St. Paul. In areas without rent control, landlords may charge any amount for rent and increase rent as often as they choose, except during the lease period, unless the lease agreement allows for it. But before increasing rent, landlords must provide advanced notice equivalent to the frequency of rent payments.
If tenants fail to pay rent on time, landlords can immediately charge a late fee, as the state doesn’t have a grace period law. However, late fees cannot be more than 8% of the amount past due.
It’s important to note that Minnesota renters can withhold rent payments if the landlord fails to repair a serious problem or code violation.
Same as most states, Minnesota law requires rental owners to ensure their property meets basic safety and health requirements. This includes making repairs within 14 days after receiving written notice from tenants.
If the landlord fails to make the repairs in that time frame, Minnesota renters can file a rent escrow action against the landlord. The court may then: award monetary damages to the tenant, issue an injunction against the landlord, or allow tenants to withhold a percentage of their rent.
Landlords in Maine can enter the rental property for reasonable purposes related to the tenancy, such as maintenance, inspections, and showings. Unless for an emergency, landlords must provide a “reasonable” amount of notice (usually 24 hours) before entering the property.
There are legal reasons landlords can evict a tenant in the state of Minnesota. The reasons and required notice periods for evictions in Minnesota include:
Minnesota tenants can also end the lease early for the following legal reasons:
Even if breaking the lease for legal reasons, tenants may still be liable for paying the remainder of the rent payments. Landlords in the state are not required to re-rent a unit.
On top of addressing major issues like evictions and repairs, Minnesota rental law also covers less-addressed topics like housing discrimination and landlord retaliation. Explore some of those matters below.
State and federal laws protect Minnesota tenants from housing discrimination. Under the federal Fair Housing Acts, landlords are prohibited from discriminating against potential renters based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. Minnesota further protects tenants from discrimination based on characteristics including marital status, sexual orientation, and use of public assistance.
If a landlord violates these laws, tenants can seek legal help and file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
In Minnesota, it’s illegal for landlords to retaliate against their tenants for taking protected actions like reporting the landlord to authorities for health and safety violations, whether singly or as part of a tenant union. Increased obligations, reduced services, or threatening eviction are all considered forms of retaliation.
Minnesota state law requires landlords to make certain disclosures to tenants at the beginning of a lease period. The disclosures include:
Minnesota rental laws were crafted to outline the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, ensuring a fair rental process for all. But, they also help maintain a healthy landlord-tenant relationship.
It’s paramount for landlords and tenants to understand and follow Minnesota’s rental statutes. Landlords can protect their real estate investments, while tenants can learn how and when to assert their legal rights.
Beyond this guide, landlords and renters should do their due diligence educating themselves on Minnesota’s laws as they stand now and evolve into the future.
Small Claims Court handles disputes involving relatively small amounts of money in a simplified and expedited manner. In Minnesota, Small Claims Court will hear rental cases for up to $15,000. The process normally takes two to three months.
Minnesota takes a balanced approach to its landlord-tenant laws—evident in its ranking as the 44th most landlord-friendly state. The state doesn’t have any rent control laws or have many notice requirements for evictions, allowing landlords to run efficient rental businesses. However, tenants do have some protections under Minnesota law, such as the landlord’s duty to maintain the rental in safe and habitable living conditions.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. This content may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. No reader, user, or browser of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information herein without first seeking the advice of a legal professional.