State Rules and Regulations for Minnesota Rental Properties and Landlords

In Minnesota, a lease exists wherever there is a written or oral agreement to exchange rent for inhabiting a property. According to Minnesota law (Ch. 504B Sec. 5048.001) tenants have certain rights under this relationship, including the right to habitable premises and the right to take some forms of alternative action.

Landlords also have rights, such as the right to collect rent in a timely manner and the right to be reimbursed for damages that exceed normal wear and tear.

Minnesota Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposits in Minnesota

  • Standard Limit/Maximum Amount – None
  • Time Limit for Returns – 3 weeks (21 days)
  • Penalty if Not Returned on Time – If a landlord wrongfully withholds a security deposit then they may be required to pay up to twice the original value and up to $500 in damages.
  • Allowable Deductions – Missed rental payments and repairs.

Lease, Rent & Fees Under Minnesota Law

  • Rent Is Due: No statute.
  • Rent Increase Notice: Landlord must give written notice of 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: Landlords are required to give a receipt if the tenant pays the rent 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 units must have a written lease for each unit rented to a tenant. (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.111)
  • Automatic Lease Renewals: Allowed, but with some restrictions. See Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.145 for details.
  • Subleasing: Allowed unless the lease prohibits it. The original tenant is still responsible for any damages or unpaid rent. (AG’s 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, but the tenant must first obtain a judgment from a court. See the statute for further details (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 Re-rent: No statute.

Evictions in Minnesota

The most common reasons for eviction in Minnesota are:

  1. Nonpayment of rent – Minnesota law does not require landlords to give tenants a notice to pay in the case of late rent. Thus, if a tenant does not pay rent, then the landlord can be served with an eviction notice after any applicable grace period.
  2. Lease violation – If a lease violation occurs, then landlords may notify the tenants and provide instructions on how to remedy the problem. Minnesota law does not require this though so landlords can immediately evict tenants for lease violations without notice.
  3. Illegal acts – Similarly, eviction for illegal actions require no advanced notice. Illegal activities that warrant eviction in Minnesota include drug manufacture, prostitution, illegal gambling, and possessing an illegal firearm.

At-will tenants that rely on a monthly or quarterly basis are entitled to at least 30 days’ notice. If an at-will tenant is late on rent, then the landlord must give a 14-Day Notice to Pay or Quit.

It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant as a form of retaliation or for discriminatory reasons.

Notices and Entry Under Minnesota Law

  • 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 the landlord must give “reasonable notice” (Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.211 (Subd 2)).
  • Examples of Entry for Reasonable Business Purposes: (AG’s 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 defined as 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. Immediate entry is also allowed 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 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).

Mandatory Disclosures in Minnesota

Minnesota landlords are required to give mandatory disclosures about 4 things:

  1. Lead-based paint. Landlords who own homes built before 1978 must provide information about lead-paint concentrations.
  2. Authorized agents. Landlords must also provide all the names and addresses of those involved in owning and managing the property.
  3. Tenant Handbook. Landlords must inform tenants that the state’s tenant handbook is available at all times.
  4. Orders. Tenants must receive all outstanding inspection and condemnation orders.

Business Licenses

  • Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
  • Minneapolis Rental Property Licenses

Housing Discrimination in Minnesota

Protected groups. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, sex, or disability. This rule does not apply to owner-occupied homes or homes operated by religious organizations. State law adds further protection based on marital status, sexual orientation, and use of public assistance.

Discriminatory acts & penalties. Housing discrimination cases are heard by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The following actions may be considered discriminatory when directed at a member of a protected class.

  • Refusing to rent or sell on a bona fide offer
  • Deny certain financial services
  • Falsely denying housing availability
  • Refusing to make reasonable accommodations
  • Selectively applying background checks
  • Offering different terms, conditions, or privileges

Helpful Links

State Agencies & Regulatory Bodies

Housing Authorities

Realtor and Landlord/Tenant Associations

These resources are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Landlords and Tenants are encouraged to seek specific legal advice for any of the issues as found in this blog.

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