Minnesota Rental Laws

Written on January 30, 2014 by , updated on November 1, 2017

Flag of MinnesotaThis 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

Security Deposit:

  • 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.173Minn. 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)
    1. Fit for Use: To ensure that the premises and all common areas are fit for the use intended by the parties;
    2. 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;
    3. 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
    4. 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:
  • 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)

Court/Legal Related:

Business Licenses:

  • 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
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102 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Diane Gingras

    I do not see any provinces , so do you have anything for Canadians ? Or is it only for the U.S.
    Because those rules & regulations wouldn’t apply to us then .

  • Diane Gingras

    Do you have anything / info for Canadians ?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Diane
      We don’t have any summary guides for rental laws in Canada. However, the best practices, tips and advice throughout the site are applicable to renting in any part of the world.

  • becky

    how do I calculate a 1250 dollar security deposit from June 1, 2003 to. June 30, 2015 for Minnesota?

  • Shannon

    I was wondering if there is a law requiring the landlord to shampoo the carpets in between each tenant leaving and a new tenant(with a new signed lease) moving in? My landlord lied to me and didn’t clean ANYTHING in the apartment before we moved in. Even the caretaker of the bldg confirmed that she hadn’t cleaned anything. She told us it was a “take as-is” situation, however there is nothing in our lease that states we can(and did) agree to “take as-is”.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Shannon,

      Not that I’m aware of. But generally speaking, a tenant is only responsible to return the unit to the condition it was in when he/she first moved-in. So, I hope you took lots of pictures in case you need them later to prove the condition.

  • pat

    We had a storm that damaged our almost flat rubber roof end of July. We had it just fixed but it leaked. The tenant called the inspector and he sent a letter to repair in 7 days to stop leaking and have professionally reroofed in 30 days. We replaced a section of rubber roof, tested with a hose, no leaks. At the 7 day inspection it was raining and it was dripping. He posted a do not occupy. The tenant has not paid Aug rent month and was given an eviction prior to the inspector call. Beyond forgiving the Aug rent because of the roof leaking and returning the damage deposit less her damages and utilities, what am I required to do. She is threatening an emergency tenant remedy action.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Pat

      Sorry for the delay in responding. Sorry to hear about the roof. How were you able to go through the eviction court so fast? Do you mean that you terminated the lease for nonpayment and the tenant left voluntarily? Or did the tenant leave when the inspector posted the do not occupy notice?

      I guess either way, if the county has rendered the unit uninhabitable, then it would be on you to provide an alternative dwelling for the tenant, or cancel the lease. But you’d likely have to help relocate them or risk getting taken to court. As for what your actual responsibility is, I’m not sure – I guess that would be for a judge to determine.

      Anyway, sorry I couldn’t help more. Your situation really depends on what your county laws say, and the details of the inspectors orders. A lawyer would be more helpful then I. Good luck to you.

  • Doug

    I know state law says that the landlord cannot keep the security deposit for last month’s rent but we have not had a good relationship with the landlord and want to allow him to keep the security deposit for last month’s rent. Can he do this or do we have to agree with him that he will do this. On the lease if it just says deposit and not security deposit can he keep the deposit for last month’s rent? I want to do the right think and really don’t want to go to court. We have kept the property in good condition with no damage. Was also wondering if he considers the deposit a security deposit if he should have informed us where the money was placed because I assume if it is a security deposit then he also owes us 1% interest?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Doug,

      I do not recommend doing this. If you do, you will be in violation of your lease – because you didn’t pay rent as promised. It becomes a willful violation and most courts don’t look favorably on this. If you kept the unit in great condition, then you have nothing to worry about, and should get the deposit back quickly. If the landlord wrongfully withholds any of the deposit, then you could take him/her to small claims court.

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice. Cheers.

  • Kristie Bunch

    Useful discussion . I am thankful for the info ! Does someone know if my company can locate a blank Sample Residential Lease Form example to type on ?

  • Gabrielle

    Hello. I’ve lived in my apt 6 1/2 yrs never late even once on rent. Have been signing one year lease agreements yearly. No problems as far as my being a bothersome tenant. Each prior year rent increase has been around $12. Just received my renewal and the rent increase is $60 for one year, $80 for 6 months. Is this legal? No updates to units or property. Is there a statute or law that explains acceptable or unacceptable rent increases when a tenant, such as myself, has always signed one year agreement and pays on time every month for as long as I have? I am appalled at the audacity of them to raise my rent by $60 to $80!
    Thank you for your time.
    Gabrielle D.

  • abe ruiz

    Hello, I need your assistance. I signed a lease effective November 17th in MN for a 9-month lease. On Friday, Nov.20th, my company informed me of a relocation to another state. I immediately called the landlord and informed of such. The landlord stated today that there is no way out of the lease unless I spend a minimum of 3 months + a 2 month notice to get out. My question is, since it was only 3 days after lease signature, isn’t there a grace period to break the lease? Would appreciate your guidance here. thank you.

  • Denise Smith

    There is a tenant that lives next door to me..for the last year and a half we have had to call police for disturbing the peace! She is slamming doors and banging on walls knocking things off my walls and management continues to let her live here!!! Yesterday morning my neighbor came up and knocked on my door showing the notes this lady left and they were on my door too asking to get building mgr because she is not feeling good…some notes were not understandable . Our building mgr takes this lady to the bars ! The main management is in a another town and when I called they told me I complain too much and that I should move!!!! I can’t afford to move I’m a single mom with a autistic daughter or I would! What should I do???

  • Ryan Latta

    I’m a landlord and I have an 18 month lease signed, with a tenant, we are now in the final 6 months and I need to list the property for sale. Is it too early for me to list it, do I need to wait until a certain date? In my lease it says I can show it with reasonable notice.

  • Jim Hager

    How long is landlord required to store tenants belongings after an eviction in MN?

  • Daniel Schultz

    The lease is signed with the outstanding point of clarification where a number was wrong so the lease was sent back for my initial on this point, ($1695 should have been $1745 for continuation of rent once lease has terminated). The tenants are scheduled to take possession in 6 weeks. Can I not go forward with this lease, or can I still modify the lease to give me more flexibility, or are there any other options?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Daniel

      If it’s clearly a clerical error, and the tenants admit it, then I suggest just creating an addendum for them to sign. But if they seem confused and think the price is actuall less, then you’ll have to look at the lease to see if there is conflicting language that proves it was just an error. If you can’t prove it, then you might have to move forward and then down the road, just increase the price with standard proper notice.

  • Daniel Schultz

    Can I break a lease before the tenants take position with at east a 1 month (6 week) notice?

  • Nickole

    What is the law regarding a home that is being rented and considered a rental buy without a lease or rental license in MN? Thank you.

  • Gary Olsen

    Can some one be evicted from having the police called to many times? What would the statue be?

    • Lucas Hall

      That sounds like a lease violation, or at least a nuisance issue. Once the lease is terminated with proper notice for a violation (see above), the tenant must leave. If the tenant doesn’t leave, the landlord can file an eviction action with the courts and have the tenant removed by force if he/she wins the judgement. I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice.

  • Danielle Rajewsky

    Can a landlord require you to add a relative staying with you for more than 15 days to be added to the lease in MN?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Danielle,

      I don’t see why not. However, any changes to an existing lease (other than at renewal time), must be approved by both parties since it’s a change in contract.

      I hope that helps. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Annie Gouge

    Is there a grace period for when rent is due? So it is due on the first of the month. Everyone tells me they have til the 5th before they are charged a late fee. We only have til the first then a 8% late fee is due. Is there a grace period or not. When I first moved in we had until the 3rd now we have no have grave days

  • Lynn Ruiz

    Is it a state law in minnesota that a landlord be liscensed to rent and if so what are the consequences if the lanlord is not registered and is it public knowlege to see if my lanlord is registered?

  • Jacob

    I paid pay $950 in rent; which doesn’t include electric or internet. My toilet didn’t work properly for over 2 months and I couldn’t poop without it clogging. The only other bathroom is a community one in a different building. I’m completely paid up in rent and have ended my lease a week ago. I’ve been told I have a case for rent abatement ($ refund). How much is reasonable to ask for? We requested a $250 “concession” but it was declined and we were offered a measly $50 gift card.

  • joe

    Who is liable if damage is caused by emergency medical response teams. Like a door being kicked in. Is it the tenant or the landlord that needs to pay for repaires? Could you include a link to the relivet information in your response.

  • Rhiannon

    Is there a law in MN where rental units have to be provided with air conditioning?
    I’m from California and there it’s a law but I’m not familiar with the laws here yet and well it’s just as hot here as it is in California due to the humidity

  • Kate

    Hello, can a landlord increase the monthly rent payment any amount if a tenant extends his or her lease for a new term? Thanks

  • Tabitha Villnow

    My apartment flooded yesterday, i called the landlord right away and they stopped by this morning. They did not come in but just asked me if the water had stopped coming in. When i told them it was still slowly seeping in and the carpets were still pretty wet, all they said was to keep vaccuming and have a fan blowing on it. They said nothing about fixing the carpet when i asked. There is also water damage to the walls in several places. What are my rights and what are they required to fix?

  • Jeff Abrams

    My wife & I sold out home and leased a 3 BR apartment in Bloomington, MN. Our 28 ear old son is getting married and will be moving back to live with us for about 10 months. Out apartment Manager is telling us that our son also needs to sign the lease and be responsible if there ever was a situation where we died or something. I think this is illegal because we are leasing the apartment and if we want to have our child live with us that is none of their business. I feel like they are trying to scam my son. Do they have the right to do this?

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