Minnesota Tenant Rights Laws

When you decide to enter into a residential lease with a landlord, this creates a legal relationship. The laws of each state dictate the nature of the relationship between landlord and tenant, from a tenant's obligation to pay rent to a landlord's responsibility to provide a safe living environment. If you are a tenant in Minnesota, it's a good idea to understand how tenants' rights laws apply to you.

Minnesota Tenants Rights at a Glance

Minnesota law details the legal rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. In particular, Minnesota offers a variety of protections to tenants, including provisions regarding:

  • The collection and return of a security deposit
  • The landlord's responsibility to keep the unit fit for habitation
  • The landlord's duty to notify a tenant before entering the unit
  • Procedure when either party ends or renews the lease
  • Prohibitions on landlord discrimination or retaliation against tenants

The following chart provides an overview of Minnesota's tenants' rights laws.

Statutes

Minnesota Statutes Chapter 504B

Security Deposits

  • Minnesota law does not limit the amount that a landlord can require as a security deposit
  • Within 21 days of the end of a tenancy, landlord must return remainder of security deposit and simple interest or a written explanation of why security deposit is being withheld

Paying Rent

  • Rent is owed as set forth in the lease
  • Landlord can increase rent for periodic lease at any point after giving notice, typically the rental period plus one day

Living Conditions

  • Landlord required to keep premises fit to live in and in "reasonable repair"
  • Typically, landlord can only enter unit for "reasonable business purpose" after making good faith effort to give tenant proper notice; violation of this law entitles tenant to up to $100 per violation
  • If landlord refuses to make repairs, tenant can bring an abatement action for the return of rent
  • Tenant can also withhold rent until repair is made

Discrimination

  • Landlord cannot refuse to sell, rent, or lease on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender, public assistance status, sexual orientation, disability, or familial status

Ending or Renewing a Tenancy

  • A periodic tenancy (one that runs from one rental period to the next, typically month-to-month) can be terminated with proper notice as defined by the lease
  • A definite term lease (one for a set duration of time) is typically written contains terms regarding notice necessary to terminate lease
  • Definite term leases may contain automatic renewal clauses
  • Tenants who vacate a unit in winter must give at least 3 days' notice to landlords to avoid pipe freezing; a tenant's failure to do so is a misdemeanor
  • Landlord can initiate eviction proceedings for nonpayment of rent, breach of lease, or illegal tenant activity

Retaliation

  • Landlord may not evict a tenant or end tenancy in retaliation for tenant's good faith exercise of tenant rights
  • Landlord cannot raise rent, cut services, or adversely change rental terms in retaliation against tenant

Note: State regulations are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related Minnesota Tenant's Rights Resources

Get a Free Evaluation of Your Landlord/Tenant Case

If you are having an issue with your landlord, then you understand first-hand how stressful it can be. Minnesota law has extensive protections put in place for tenants, and understanding your legal rights is a great first step. Also, consider speaking with an experienced real estate attorney for your free landlord/tenant case evaluation.

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