New Landlord-Tenant Laws in Minnesota: What You Need to Know

Navigating the rental market can be a daunting task, with both landlords and tenants seeking clarity on their rights and responsibilities. Minnesota has recently introduced new landlord-tenant laws aimed to enhance the rights and protections for both parties involved in the rental agreement.


Pet policies

Good news for pet owners! If you are renting a place in Minnesota, your landlord cannot demand declawing or devocalization of your furry companions.This ensures that pet owners can access housing without having to put their pet through an unnecessary and potentially harmful (and expensive!) procedure.

Your Right to Move-in/Move-out Inspections

Before moving in or out of a rental property, tenants now have the right to request inspections. This not only ensures transparency but also allows both tenants and landlords to document the condition of the rental property, helping to avoid disputes over security deposits down the road. So don’t hesitate to ask for the inspection-it’s in your best interest!


Transparent Fee Disclosure

Say goodbye to hidden fees! Landlords are now required to disclose all non-optional fees in addition to rent in the form of a “total monthly payment.” This transparency ensures that tenants are fully aware of all the costs associated with their rental agreement upfront. No surprises, just straightforward and honest dealings.

Minimum Heat Standards

Nobody likes shivering through the winter months. Thanks to the new law, landlords must ensure that heating is provided- maintaining a minimum temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit from October 1 to April 30. Allowing tenants to remain comfortable during the chilly Minnesota winters without having the crank up their own heaters.


Fair Eviction Practices

If you are facing financial difficulties and are at risk of eviction due to non-payment of rent, landlords are now required to send a letter at least 14 days prior to filing an eviction action. This will give tenants a fair chance to address issues before facing eviction proceedings.

Advance Notice for Entry

Under the new law, landlords must provide at least 24 hours’ notice for non-emergency entry into the rental property. Additionally, entry may only occur between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., allowing tenants to plan and prepare for any necessary access by the landlord.


Lease Renewals

Planning ahead is crucial, especially when it comes to where you live. Landlords are now prohibited from forcing tenants to renew a lease more than six months before the current lease expires. This allows tenants to make decisions based on their changing circumstances without feeling pressured.

These new landlord-tenant laws are designed to create a more fair and transparent rental market for everyone involved. They aim to foster healthier landlord-tenant relationships and protect both parties from legal risk. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, it’s essential to stay informed about your rights and responsibilities under these new regulations.

If you have concerns about a rental agreement, or are a landlord looking to protect their property, don’t wait! Take the time to review your rights and obligations under these updated regulations-and don’t be afraid to reach out to Wagner, Falconer & Judd to help you simplify the process!

Common Myths about the Security Deposit

Security Deposits in the residential setting are often misunderstood. Tenants sometimes leave before the lease term is up, pinning the landlord with unpaid bills and property damage. On the other hand, landlords sometimes incorrectly use the deposit to improve or upgrade their property.

In Minnesota, statute 504B.178 contains the most guidance on the appropriate use of the deposit. It expressly states that a landlord may keep portions of the deposit to account for unpaid rent or fees. In addition, the legislature has adopted an “ordinary wear and tear” standard, which states that a landlord may use the deposit to repair any damage that is beyond such ordinary wear and tear. However, “ordinary wear and tear” has been ill-defined, and over the years has been open to interpretation. This has led to many myths and misconceptions. Here are some of the most common:

As a landlord, I can keep the tenant’s security deposit to update my property.
False. It is inappropriate to use a deposit to pay for anything other than repairs beyond ordinary wear and tear. A common example is replacement of flooring. The landlord may charge the tenant for damage that was directly caused by the tenant, such as pet damage or scratches. However, all flooring needs care or replacement from time to time. If the kitchen linoleum has simply seen too many years, the landlord must pay for the cost of replacement. Unless otherwise agreed to, updating or upgrading a property is always the responsibility of the landlord.

A landlord can’t use a security deposit to cover cleaning costs.
False. A landlord can use a deposit to cover the cost of cleaning an unusually dirty home. Most leases require the tenant to do a thorough cleaning prior to move-out. If the tenant fails to clean adequately, and the landlord is forced to arrange for cleaning, that cost may be deducted from the deposit.

A landlord can’t deduct utility bills from a tenant’s security deposit.
False. A landlord may deduct any unpaid bills, including rent, late fees, or key replacement fees, from the security deposit.

As a tenant, I can use my security deposit as my last month’s rent.
False. The purpose of the security deposit is to insure the landlord against property damage caused by the tenant. If the deposit is spent on the tenant’s last rental payment, there is often nothing left to cover the cost of repairs. Unless expressly written in the lease or otherwise agreed, a security deposit may not be used to pay the last month’s rent.

The security deposit is the only way the landlord get the tenant to pay for repairs.
False. If the deposit is inadequate to cover the cost of any repairs to the property, and if the damage was directly caused by the tenant, the landlord has a right to bill the tenant for the additional costs. If necessary, the landlord can sue the tenant in conciliation court to recover the costs of the repair.

It’s important to remember that whether the landlord intends to keep the deposit or not, the landlord must notify the tenant in writing or return the deposit within 21 days after the end of the tenancy.

Whether a landlord can keep a security deposit always depends on the individual circumstances. To learn more about how the law affects your unique situation, contact our team.

Written by WFJ | Posted April 2, 2020