This article summarizes some key Minnesota Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.
We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other online sources cited below to research this information and it should be a good starting point in learning about the law.
With that said, our summary is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice. Laws and statutes are always subject to change, and may even vary from county to county or city to city.
You are responsible for performing your own research and complying with all laws applicable to your unique situation.
If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association may have a referral service that can help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.
Official Rules, Regulations, and Guides
- Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B – Landlord and Tenant
- Minnesota Landlords and Tenants Rights and Responsibilities (pdf)
- Minnesota Landlords and Tenants Rights and Responsibilities (web version)
- Tenants’ Rights in Minnesota – August 2013 (pdf)
- The Manufactured Home Parks Handbook (pdf)
- The Manufactured Home Parks Handbook (web version)
- Security Deposit Maximum: No Statute
- Security Deposit Interest: Landlord is required to give the tenant interest on the security deposit in the amount of one percent per year, calculated from the first day of the next month following the full payment of the deposit to the last day of the month that the landlord returns the deposit. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.178)
- Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No Statute
- Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: No Statute
- Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: Within 21 days after termination of the tenancy; or within five days of the date the tenant vacates the building or dwelling due to the legal condemnation of the property. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.178)
- Require Written Description / Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.178)
- Length of Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
- Receipt of Deposit: No Statute
- Failure to Comply: If Landlord fails to comply with Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.178, Landlord must return the full deposit with interest, as well as a penalty equal to the amount withheld. If landlord withholds the deposit in “bad faith”, landlord may also be subject to a $500 fee. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.178 (Subd 7))
- Sale/Transfer of Property: If landlord’s interest in the property is terminated, landlord has 60 days to return or account for the deposit to the tenant. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.178 (Subd 5))
- Deposit Used as Last Month’s Rent: No tenant shall use the deposit to pay for last month’s rent. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.178 (Subd 8))
Lease, Rent & Fees:
- Rent Is Due: No Statute
- Rent Increase Notice: Landlord must give written notice, one rental period plus one day prior to the change. (handbook)
- Rent Grace Period: No Statute
- Late Fees: Allowed if agreed to in the lease, but cannot exceed 8% of the overdue rent payment. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.177)
- Prepaid Rent: No Statute
- Returned Check Fees: No Statute
- Receipt for Rent: Landlord is required to give a receipt if the tenant pays in cash. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.118)
- Screening Fee Allowed: Yes, as long as it is “reasonable” and is used to perform a background check on the applicant for an existing and available unit. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.173, Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.175)
- Written Lease Required: A landlord of a residential building with 12 or more residential units must have a written lease for each unit rented to a residential tenant. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.111)
- Copy of the Lease: The landlord shall provide the tenant with a copy of any written rental agreement and all amendments and additions thereto. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.115)
- Automatic Lease Renewals: Allowed, but with some restrictions. See Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.145 for details.
- Subleasing: Allowed unless prohibited in the lease. The original tenant is still responsible for any damages or unpaid rent. (handbook)
- Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes, but the rent money must be put in an escrow account and follow the rules in Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.384 (Subd 1)
- Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes, with a Judgement (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.425)
- Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Yes (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.172)
- Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: No Statute
Notices and Entry:
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Lease w/ Fixed End Date: No Statute. The lease simply terminates as scheduled. Automatic Lease Renewals are allowed, but with some restrictions. See Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.145 for details.
- Notice to Terminate a Tenancy at Will (incl. Monthly Leases): The time of the notice must be at least as long as the interval between the time rent is due or three months, whichever is less. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.135)
- Notice to Terminate a Tenancy at Will for Non-Payment (incl. Monthly Leases): If a tenant neglects or refuses to pay rent due on a tenancy at will, the landlord may terminate the tenancy by giving the tenant 14 days notice to quit in writing. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.135)
- Termination for Lease Violation: No Statute
- Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No Statute
- Entry Allowed with Notice for Business, Maintenance, and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes, but landlord must give “reasonable notice” (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.211 (Subd 2)). I suggest at least 24 hours notice.
- Examples of Entry for Reasonable Business Purposes: (handbook)
- Showing the unit to prospective tenants.
- Showing the unit to a prospective buyer or insurance agent.
- Performing maintenance work.
- Showing the unit to state or local officials (i.e., fire, housing, health, or building inspectors) inspecting the property.
- Checking on a tenant causing a disturbance within the unit.
- Checking on a tenant the landlord believes is violating the lease.
- Checking to see if a person is staying in the unit who has not signed the lease.
- Checking the unit when a tenant moves out.
- Performing housekeeping work in a senior housing unit. A senior housing unit is a building where 80% of the tenants are age 55 or older.
- Emergency Entry Allowed Without Notice: Yes, immediate entry is allowed when it is necessary to necessary to prevent injury to persons or property because of conditions relating to maintenance, building security, or law enforcement; when it is necessary to determine a residential tenant’s safety; or when it is necessary in order to comply with local ordinances regarding unlawful activity occurring within the residential tenant’s premises. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.211 (Subd 4)).
- Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
- Entry Without Tenant’s Presence: If the landlord enters when the residential tenant is not present and prior notice has not been given, the landlord shall disclose the entry by placing a written disclosure of the entry in a conspicuous place in the premises. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.211 (Subd 5)).
- Penalty for Failure to Give Proper Notice: Consequences can be severe for the landlord, including termination of the lease, rent reduction, and/or a $100 civil penalty per occurrence. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.211 (Subd 6))
- Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
- Lockouts Allowed: No (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.225, §§ 504B.375)
- Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.375, §§ 504B.381)
- Cold Weather Notice: Except by lease expiration, between November 15 and April 15 a tenant must give at least 3 days notice before abandoning or vacating so the landlord can winterize the property. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.155)
Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:
- Landlord Responsibilities (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.161)
- Fit for Use: To ensure that the premises and all common areas are fit for the use intended by the parties;
- Maintenance: To keep the premises in reasonable repair during the term of the lease or license, except when the disrepair has been caused by the willful, malicious, or irresponsible conduct of the tenant or licensee or a person under the direction or control of the tenant or licensee;
- Energy Efficiency: To make the premises reasonably energy-efficient by installing weather-stripping, caulking, storm windows, and storm doors when any such measure will result in energy procurement cost savings, based on current and projected average residential energy costs in Minnesota, that will exceed the cost of implementing that measure, including interest, amortized over the ten-year period following the incurring of the cost; and
- Comply with Laws: To maintain the premises in compliance with the applicable health and safety laws of the state, and of the local units of government where the premises are located during the term of the lease or license, except when violation of the health and safety laws has been caused by the willful, malicious, or irresponsible conduct of the tenant or licensee or a person under the direction or control of the tenant or licensee.
- Disclosure of Tenant Handbook: Landlords are required to notify residential tenants that the Landlords and Tenants Rights and Responsibilities Handbook is available to them. (Minn. Statute § 504B.181, Subd. 2(b))
- Disclosure of Orders: Before signing a lease, paying rent, or paying a security deposit, a prospective tenant must be given a copy of all outstanding inspection and condemnation orders and declarations. (Minn. Statute § 504B.195)
- Unlawful Activity: If tenant participates in unlawful activity as described in Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.171 (Subd 1), the tenant loses his/her right to possession of the premise, but may still be obligated to pay rent or satisfy other terms of the lease. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.171 (Subd 2))
- Name and Addresses: Landlord must disclose the name and address of the property owner and anyone authorized to manage the property. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.181)
- Domestic Violence Situations:
- Proof of Status: Landlord is entitled to verify claim of Domestic Violence status. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.206 (Subd 1(b)))
- Termination of Lease: Tenant can terminate the lease. The written notice must be delivered before the termination of the tenancy by mail, fax, or in person, and be accompanied by the order for protection or no contact order. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.206 (Subd 1(b)))
- Safeguarding of Information: A landlord must not disclose information provided to the landlord by a tenant documenting domestic abuse. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.206 (Subd 2))
- Responsibility of Rent: Tenant is responsible for the rent payment for the full month in which the tenancy terminates and an additional amount equal to one month’s rent. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.206 (Subd 3))
- Multiple Tenants: Termination of the lease for a victim of Domestic Violence does not terminate the lease for any remaining tenants. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.206 (Subd 4))
- Retaliation: Landlord must not terminate, refuse to renew a lease, or decrease services to a tenant who has filed an official complaint regarding a violation to a Government Authority or neighborhood organization in the previous 90 days. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.441, §§ 504B.385 (Subd 2))
- No Smoking: Minnesota’s Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in all common areas within apartment buildings. (handbook)
- Storage of Tenant’s Belongings: After eviction, a tenant has 28 days to claim his/her belongings before the landlord can sell the belongings to pay for moving and storage costs. Tenant must pay for any storage costs when he/she claims the items. (handbook pg. 48)
- Minnesota Small Claims Court Limits: $10,000 statewide, but county level might be different. This limit increases to $15,000 on August 1, 2014.
- Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims: No
- Minnesota Attorney General
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- Minnesota Conciliation Court (Small Claims)
- Minnesota Guide to Conciliation (Small Claims) Court (pdf)
- Minnesota Guide to Conciliation (Small Claims) Court (web version)
- Minnesota State Judicial Branch
- How to Hire an Attorney in Minnesota
- Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota (LASNEM)
- Central Minnesota Legal Services
- Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services
- LawHelpMN.org – Landlord Tenant Information
- Guide to Lock-Outs and Utility Shut-Offs (pdf)
- Business License Required: No state-wide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
- Minneapolis Rental Property Licenses
- Minnesota Department of Commerce – Insurance Division
- Minnesota Consumer Guide to Renter’s Insurance
- Minnesota Department of Consumer Protection
- HOME line – Minnesota Tenant Advocacy Organization
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Minnesota
- Minnesota Real Estate Licensing
- Minnesota Association of REALTORS®
- Minneapolis Association of REALTORS®
- St. Paul Association of REALTORS®