Landlord Rights: Dealing with Problem Renters | Attorney Aaron Hall

Landlord Rights: Dealing with Problem Renters

Minnesota landlords have legal rights when dealing with difficult tenants: renters who violate their lease, don’t pay rent, damage the property, or otherwise break Minnesota landlord-tenant law. The article below discusses landlord’s rights when dealing with problem renters.

Are you a tenant? Contact Homeline, a Minnesota nonprofit organization that helps residential tenants with rental problems.

Minnesota Month-to-Month Lease a.k.a. Tenancy at Will

Landlords may allow a tenant (i.e. a renter) to stay in their home after the lease (rental agreement) expires. When this occurs, the landlord and tenant have a month-to-month lease, which is called “Tenancy at Will.” Tenancy at Will is covered under Minnesota Statute section 504B.135:

Minnesota Statute section 504B.135 – Terminating Tenancy at Will

(a) A tenancy at will may be terminated by either party by giving notice in writing. 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.

(b) 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.

As you can see, the statute requires landlords and tenants to give 30 days notice, but if a tenant isn’t paying rent, the landlord may terminate the tenancy by giving only 14 days notice.

Automatic Renewal of Leases is Prohibited in Minnesota

Some residential landlords have drafted lease agreements that say the lease will automatically renew for one year if the tenants fail to give them notice that they are ending the lease. Minnesota Statute section 504B.145 expressly prohibits an automatic lease renewal of over two months unless certain statutory procedures are followed:

Minnesota Statute section 504B.145 – Restriction on Automatic Renewals of Leases

Notwithstanding the provisions of any residential lease, in order to enforce any automatic renewal clause of a lease of an original term of two months or more which states, in effect, that the term shall be deemed renewed for a specified additional period of time of two months or more unless the tenant gives notice to the landlord of an intention to quit the premises at the expiration of the term due to expire, the landlord must give notice to the tenant as provided in this section. The notice must be in writing and direct the tenant’s attention to the automatic renewal provision of the lease. The notice must be served personally or mailed by certified mail at least 15 days, but not more than 30 days prior to the time that the tenant is required to furnish notice of an intention to quit.

Minnesota Renters Cannot Use a Security Deposit for Their Last Month’s Rent

Tenants may tell the landlord to use their security deposit to cover their last month’s rent. This obviously undermines the purpose for a security deposit, which is to provide the landlord with some “security” or money in case the tenant leaves the property and the property is damaged. Thus, Minnesota law protects landlords and provides a penalty for tenants who don’t pay their last month’s rent.

Minnesota Statute section 504B.178, Subdivision 8 – Withholding Rent

No tenant may withhold payment of all or any portion of rent for the last payment period of a residential rental agreement, except an oral or written month to month residential rental agreement concerning which neither the tenant nor landlord has served a notice to quit, or for the last month of a contract for deed cancellation period under section 559.21 or a mortgage foreclosure redemption period under chapter 580, 581, or 582, on the grounds that the deposit should serve as payment for the rent. Withholding all or any portion of rent for the last payment period of the residential rental agreement creates a rebuttable presumption that the tenant withheld the last payment on the grounds that the deposit should serve as payment for the rent. Any tenant who remains in violation of this subdivision after written demand and notice of this subdivision shall be liable to the landlord for the following:

(1) a penalty in an amount equal to the portion of the deposit which the landlord is entitled to withhold under subdivision 3 other than to remedy the tenant’s default in the payment of rent; and

(2) interest on the whole deposit as provided in subdivision 2, in addition to the amount of rent withheld by the tenant in violation of this subdivision.

As you can see, this Minnesota statute provides a serious penalty for tenants who fail to pay their last month’s rent. The law says that if a tenant fails to pay the last month’s rent, the law assumes that the tenant intended to have the security deposit used for the last month’s rent. After the landlord sends a written demand for payment, the tenant who fails to pay will be liable for an amount equal to the security deposit, plus interest on the deposit, plus the amount of unpaid rent.

Landlords have 21 Days to Return a Renter’s Security Deposit

Landlords are required by law to either

  1. return a renter’s security deposit or
  2. provide to the renter, in writing, a statement showing the specific reason for the withholding some or all of the deposit.

The landlord must mail this statement first-class within three weeks after the tenancy ends, as long as the renter provides a forwarding address. See Minnesota Statutes section 504B.178 subdivision 3:

Every landlord shall: within 3 weeks after termination of the tenancy . . . and after receipt of the tenant’s mailing address or delivery instructions, return the deposit to the tenant, with interest thereon as provided in subdivision 2, or furnish to the tenant a written statement showing the specific reason for the withholding of the deposit or any portion thereof.

So if a renter has not received a security deposit or written explanation within 21 days after the tenancy ended, plus a few days for mailing, then the renter should consider taking legal action to get

  1. the security deposit,
  2. a penalty equal to the security deposit, and potentially
  3. a $200 bad faith penalty, all of which a renter is entitled under Minnesota law.

See Minnesota Statutes section 504B.178 subdivision 4.

A landlord must return the entire security deposit except for an amount reasonably necessary to cover amounts owed under the lease or for damage to the property, excluding ordinary wear and tear. See Minnesota Statutes section 504B.178 subdivision 3(b).

Common Landlord Questions & Attorney Answers

Can I recover attorney’s fees from my tenant?

As a general rule, you may only recover attorney’s fees in a lawsuit if your lease specifically allows for it (this is one reason it is important to have an attorney draft your lease).

How do I calculate interest?

Interest on late rent is calculated based on the interest rate in the lease (this is one reason it is important to have an attorney draft your lease). Interest on the security deposit held by the landlord is one percent (1%). Here are the details from Minnesota Statutes section 504B.178 subdivision 2:

Any deposit of money shall not be considered received in a fiduciary capacity within the meaning of section 82.55, subdivision 26, but shall be held by the landlord for the tenant who is party to the agreement and shall bear simple noncompounded interest at the rate of three percent per annum until August 1, 2003, and one percent per annum thereafter, computed from the first day of the next month following the full payment of the deposit to the last day of the month in which the landlord, in good faith, complies with the requirements of subdivision 3 or to the date upon which judgment is entered in any civil action involving the landlord’s liability for the deposit, whichever date is earlier. Any interest amount less than $1 shall be excluded from the provisions of this section.

 Does the tenant owe the statute’s penalties for not paying the last month’s rent immediately or only after going to court?

On this point, the statute is not clear. As a practical matter, it normally does not matter because, after receiving the landlord’s notice, the tenant either (1) pays the last month’s rent so the landlord does not sue or (2) refuses to pay the last month’s rent so the landlord sues for the last month’s rent plus penalties. I would generally recommend that landlords notify the tenants of the penalties, but only seek to recover those penalties if they go to court. The reason is this: if a tenant pays the last month’s rent after the landlord gives notice of the statute, the tenant should not be liable for penalties.

Minnesota Landlord Rights Attorney

I am experienced in representing landlords and tenants in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the Twin Cities suburbs drafting Minnesota lease agreements, negotiating landlord-tenant disputes, and representing clients in lawsuits involving residential and commercial leases. I am available to meet with people facing lease disputes, analyze their lease, and explain their legal rights and options. This can usually be completed in a one-hour meeting, which can be done by phone or in the office. Usual hourly rates apply to this legal work.

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About the Author Aaron Hall

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225 comments
Joy Driscoll says November 16, 2010

Aaron,

I have a unique situation in that I’m renting from my mother who owns the home, we have had our differences and she served me with a 30 day notice to move. We have never signed a contract and I started paying her Rent when I got a job last May. When my mother purchased the house, I was in the process of loosing mine and moved a nice size play house to her backyard of her new house. What rights do I have to sell the playhouse before my 30 day notice?

Harun Rashid says November 16, 2010

Joy:

Since you don’t have a written lease agreement, it appears that you have “Tenancy at Will,” which is a month-to-month lease. Tenancy at Will is covered under Minnesota Statute section 504B.135:

Minnesota Statute section 504B.135 – Terminating Tenancy at Will

(a) A tenancy at will may be terminated by either party by giving notice in writing. 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.

(b) 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.

Regarding the play house, this is presumably your personal property. Think of it like a car you parked in the driveway. You have a right to sell your property or take it with you when you move.

Aaron

Adam says November 23, 2010

Hi Aaron,

I have a very unique situation. A have a bare-bones handwritten lease with a tenant. She violated that lease. I had her sign a K stating that she would move out by the end of this month. It also stated that she was relinquishing any right to an eviction proceeding or any other legal remedy if she fails to move out. The K explicitly stated that I could a) have a sheriff come to remove her, b) have animal control come to remove her dogs and c) that I could change the locks at noon on the last day of this month. She owes $88.00 in unpaid Xcel charges that she recognized as a true and correct debt via text message. I guess my question is two-fold: 1) do I have any remedy to force her to pay the outstanding Xcel bill, perhaps by refusing to return personal property she stored in my apartment upstairs? 2) Can she really contract out of having an eviction or legal remedy available to her. Keep in mind, both sides did have consideration to contract because I dismissed a full months rent to entice her to sign the contract. Will a sheriff be willing to force her to move out pursuant to the terms of a K to Vacate? I have a new tenant set to move in on Dec. 1 and I’m concerned the current tenant will stall and not move out by the end of the month. Thanks for your help. It’s truly appreciated! Happy Thanksgiving!

Adam

Harun Rashid says November 24, 2010

Adam:

You have a remedy to force her to pay the outstanding Xcel bill. The remedy is a lawsuit, presumably in conciliation court (small claims court).

People can contractually waive their rights, such as an eviction hearing. This is similar to people waiving their rights to a court hearing, instead having their case resolved by arbitration. However, from a practical perspective, you will have to go to an eviction hearing to force her out (because you can’t physically remove her yourself). Generally, a Sheriff will only enforce a court order. A sheriff generally will not enforce contracts.

Since you have tenants scheduled to move in, if I were you, I would immediately file for an eviction proceeding (some counties have a specific “housing court” for this). If your place isn’t ready for the new tenants to move in when your lease states they can move in, you will be in breach of your lease with the new tenants.

Aaron

Adam says November 25, 2010

Hi Aaron,

Thank you for the quick reply. I understand everything you said and I assumed the sheriff would not enforce a simple K to vacate. However, I have a couple more questions. First, since she contracted to be out by noon on the 30th, can I simply change the locks at 12:01 p.m. Nov. 30th to deny her further access to the property that I in fact own? Am I able to deny her access to the property after the date and time she agreed to move out? To me it seems more than reasonable to change the locks and deny her access to the property based on her valid, signed, contract supported by consideration. Second, if I can, what are my responsibilities concerning her personal property? Can I withhold returning any of her property that is in the unit she rented until she pays me in full? What about personal property she left in my own personal unit (the one I pay for separately that she has no legal right to access in the first place)? Am I able to deny her access to my own unit to retrieve her personal property?

My desire (and plan) is to change the locks at 12:01 p.m. on Nov. 30 regardless of whether she has moved out. I then plan on storing her property, if any, in a storage shed, clean the unit, and provide the new keys to the new tenant. Based on my stated desires, will I be running afoul of any Minnesota statute?

I understand I’m asking several specific questions and that this is a unique situation. That said, I think there are other landlords in Minnesota that would find this information useful. Thanks again for your help in answering these questions. It is truly appreciated! Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

Truly yours,

Adam

Adam says November 25, 2010

Oh, and in addition, the current tenant (and believe me, this is no joke or exaggeration):

1) is a stripper at a strip club downtown; and
2) brings back guys she meets at the club for “personal time” in the unit I rent to her; and
3) has been asked by me on numerous occasions to stop bringing gentlemen home from the club for “personal time”; and
3) is an active heroin user; and
4) has invited her heroin dealers to live in the unit that I rent to her for the last two weeks; and
5) has been told on numerous occasions to not allow her dealer-friends to stay overnight in the unit. She continues to ignore this demand.

Aaron, I promise you that none of the above is a fabrication, an exaggeration, or a lie. She has either admitted to the above or I know it from personal knowledge or observation (remember, I live upstairs). It is the complete truth. Now you probably understand why I want her gone so bad.

Thanks again,

Adam

Harun Rashid says November 30, 2010

Adam:

No, you can’t change the locks on her. That is a clear violation of Minnesota Statutes. If you don’t use the eviction process, you could incur serious liability.

If you enter the premises and take her personal property while you are there, your actions would constitute criminal theft and civil conversion. (It is a separate matter if a tenant leaves property after moving out.)

Again, your only option to remove a tenant after the tenant has no legal right to stay (this is called a “hold over tenant”) is the eviction process. The eviction process was partly established to prevent “self help.” “Self help” is when people help themselves to what they feel they are entitled to under the law. “Self help” is disfavored because it often leads to physical violence or other fights. The fight should be in the courtroom in the eviction hearing.

Aaron

Adam says December 1, 2010

Thanks for your help with this, Aaron. It’s greatly appreciated. So you know the end of the story, she moved out without incident, so none of the above became an issue. I do appreciate you taking the time to provide clear answers to my questions. If I ever find myself in need of a lawyer, I now know what firm to use!

Thanks again!

Adam

dawn says January 10, 2011

Good morning Aaron,
On 12-16-10 the condo that we were renting was flooded from broken water pipes from the vacant unit next door making our residence unlivable. That day the individual that we were renting from stated that she would let us out of lease, return our damage deposit and return the rent in which we paid but were unable to stay in the residence, use the garage for storage as long as we needed along with the mailbox. On 1-18-11 I received a certified letter that she would not return our damage deposit due to supposed damages which were documented by herself after she changed the locks on the residence without an U.D., demanding we remove our belongings from the garage or she would charge us storage.
I guess my question would be in the cause of where a place of residence is uninhabitable do oral agreements take presidence. Currently the condo is still uninhabitable and I have picture documentation of the day we removed our belongs in to the garage of the condition of the condo.
Thank you for y0ur help,
Dawn

dawn says January 10, 2011

I apologize Aaron, it was 1-8-11 that I received the letter.

Harun Rashid says January 10, 2011

Dawn:

Since you are a tenant, you can contact http://www.homelinemn.org/ to get free legal advice available to tenants. I recommend you have an attorney analyze the specific facts of your case.

The remainder of this response deals with general questions you raised, but may not be applicable to your circumstances (so contact an attorney before relying on this).

The first issues is whether a landlord can keep a security deposit after a tenant is required to move out because the residence is uninhabitable. The answer depends on the type of damage that resulted in the landlord keeping the security deposit. For example, if a tenant had to move out because of water damage in the basement, the tenant would still be liable for causing a cracked bathroom mirror upstairs.

You asked “are oral agreements enforceable?” Oral agreements are enforceable, but they are difficult to prove in court.

Aaron

Glenda says January 17, 2011

Hi,

I have a situation where my tenant did not pay January Month’s rent and we got a court documents that he had filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy document mentions not to call the rentor. I have some questions
1. What are our options
2. Can we evacuate the rentor. If yes, after how many days
3. Under bankruptcy, should rentor pay the rent to stay in the house?

Harun Rashid says January 17, 2011

Glenda:

Here are the answers to your questions:

1. During the bankruptcy, you cannot contact the renter but you can contact the renter’s bankruptcy attorney. For example, you might tell the renter’s bankruptcy attorney that you are going to (1) move to lift the automatic stay and then (2) evict the renter, unless the renter signs a reaffirmation agreement and pays money to continue under a rental agreement.

2. You cannot evict the renter unless eviction is allowed under your rental agreement (lease). If the lease allows you to evict the renter, you cannot evict the renter until after you file a Motion with the bankruptcy court to lift the automatic stay and the court does in fact issue an order lifting the automatic stay. If the court lifts the automatic stay, you can immediately proceed with an eviction action in your local court.

3. After a renter files for bankruptcy, the renter cannot live in your home for free. You need to work out whether the renter will be evicted or resume a rental arrangement.

There are a number of complex legal issues here, such as (1) does your lease permit you to evict the renter, (2) filing a motion with the bankruptcy court, (3) filing the eviction action (unlawful detainer) in your county court, and (4) not violating the bankruptcy laws. For these reasons, I recommend that you consult with an attorney.

Aaron

Judy says January 18, 2011

Hi, Aaron

I have a rental duplex with one tenant in. each unit. Both have a month to month agreement. After years of them being chronically late with rental payments and many times accruing up to thousands in arrears, I would like to now change the rental agreement to include a 1% late fee per day of the impaid balance. I would ask them to sign this agreement. I will also give them time to get caught up first. Am I allowed this change and can I terminatetheir tenancy if they don.t agree?

Harun Rashid says January 21, 2011

Judy:

You can always ask someone to modify an agreement. If they agree to the modification, you simply write it up and both parties sign it.

You can only terminate their tenancy if they violate the current lease. You cannot terminate the tenancy simply because they won’t sign a new agreement.

Aaron

Sarah says February 2, 2011

Hi Aaron,

We originally signed a one year lease with our renter on August 1, 2010. In late August, we received several reports by the other condo residents via the condo association: a broken light fixture in the hallway during move-in, question of whether there were too many people living in the unit, repeated noise complaints (including during the lease stated quiet hours of 10pm to 8am), and complaints of trash left in the hallway. We addressed these issues with our renter via email and in-person, and she agreed to comply by the rules. We wrote that “failure to correct these issues after this warning could lead to eviction.”

In November, our renter was approved for Section 8 housing assistance, so we signed a new lease to reflect the payment changes. This lease states the terms of the lease as 9 months from November 1, 2010. Yesterday, we received a letter from the condo management company. The condo board of directors has reported that our renter has been the subject of many additional complaints in recent months: excessive noise and late night disturbances, littering the outdoor common area and front lobby, and most recently several police responses to disturbances in the unit. They attached a file with three police reports, of which I can’t really understand the details. The board believes they should not be allowed to continue as residents, and advises us that we are responsible for the violations and that they will use their full legal resources to ensure compliance with the rules.

Among other things, our lease states a few items that may be helpful: “Tenant shall not use the premise in any way that is unlawful, illegal or dangerous.” “Tenant shall read the condo handbook prior to starting date and adhere to all rules.” “Tenant shall respect quiet hours between 10pm and 8am.” “Failure to abide by the terms of this agreement may result in the tenant being evicted. Tenant and landlord will make all reasonable efforts to remedy the situation prior to eviction.”

We are wondering whether it is appropriate/wise to simply approach our renter and tell her that we need her to move out because she has continued to be a disturbance and break the rules after our first warning. Or do we need to take formal legal steps and start right away with an official eviction notice? Do we have grounds to evict her based on the information I have provided? Are the police reports of any importance if we are not aware whether they led to any charges?

I GREATLY appreciate any advice you might have. Thank you so very much in advance.

Harun Rashid says February 11, 2011

Sarah:

One of the challenges of this blog is to provide educational information to people without providing legal advice for their situation. If I provide legal advice, I need to know all the circumstances and analyze the full lease agreement to ensure that my legal advice is accurate and comprehensive. That usually requires a conversation with a client, not just a blog comment. Thus, questions with lots of details are difficult to answer here. Single questions about the law are much easier to answer her.

That said, here are some general points of law that may be useful for your situation. However, as usual, I recommend that you consult with an attorney before relying on anything on this website.

1. There is generally no problem if you negotiate a resolution with a tenant to which they agree. To preserve a record of the agreement, you should put the agreement in writing, preferably signed by both parties.

2. The process you follow in dealing with a problematic tenant must comply with federal law (for example, nondiscrimination laws), state law (for example, state statutes governing landlord and tenant relationships), and the lease between you and the tenant. If your lease is enforceable under the law, you can simply look to the lease. For this reason, it is difficult for an attorney like myself to advise you without analyzing your lease.

Thus, to answer your question, whether you can evict your tenant depends on your lease. Likewise, your approach when evicting a tenant must be in accordance with the lease.

3. You can avoid many problems with tenants by having a strong lease. For my landlord clients, I have developed a lease over the years that has integrated the best of all leases I see. I also continue to modify it as the law changes. Then I customize it for each landlord. There is an old saying: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Landlords can avoid significant legal expenses and problems by having a strong lease that gives landlords great control and strong rights if the tenant engages is bad conduct.

Aaron

Brenda says February 26, 2011

Hi Aaron,
I own a condo and rented it on a month to month. The first month rent was 25 days late, this month (its the 26th) rent has not been paid. The lease says if she does not pay within 7 days the lease can be cancelled. I gave her a 7 day notice to vacate. She says I have to give her 30 days since its winter and she has 2 children under 18. So if I give her 30 days notice to vacate, she gets to live there for free for this and next month? After the 30 days is up can I change the locks?
thanks

Mareike says February 26, 2011

Hi Aaron,

we rented out one of our rental units to family who received BICAp assistance. They have lived in the property since Ausgust 2010 and were late for the first time in January. We contacted them multiple times and were told that they were in financial distress and we assumed that they may overspent on Christmas gifts or something. We were told we were going to get paid and then February came around and we still did not get paid from the renters, however BICAP paid a portion of their payment both month. March is just around the corner and my husband aksed again if we were going to get paid and he told them that if they don;t pay we will have to ask them to leave.

We provided BiCAP and the tenants with a letter stating the amount of past due rent. This weekend we noticed a moving truck infront of our Rental home and our tentants were in the process of moving out despite the fact that they told us the day before we were going to get paid. Today my husband stopped the house and noticed that the renters were gone and they also took out dining table and couch. My husband immediately filed a police report. What else can we do and what are our chances of getting our money and our furniture back?

Thank you so much.

Mareike

Mareike says February 26, 2011

Or to keep things educational. What are our rights in this situation?

Harun Rashid says February 28, 2011

Mareike:

If you still have contact information for your tenants, you can try to work out a resolution. If that doesn’t work (and it normally doesn’t), you can sue them for breach of the lease and taking your property (which is called “conversion”).

Aaron

Harun Rashid says February 28, 2011

Brenda:

You can never change the locks on a tenant who is living in the property. The only way to evict a tenant is through an eviction hearing with the court.

Under Minnesota Statutes section 504B.285, “The person entitled to the premises may recover possession by eviction” when a tenant is no longer lawfully permitted to be in the property. However, the question of what your rights and options are would depend on an analysis of your full written lease. I’m sorry, but I can’t be more specific without analyzing your lease.

Aaron

Jen says March 15, 2011

Hi Aaron,

My husband and I own a duplex and we rented out the upstairs on July 1st, 2010 and there is 3 adults and 1 child living there. The 3 adults are on the lease. About 2 months ago(end of January) they had a friend staying with them, and 1 week later I asked our renter when is he leaving and she told me that he was leaving on the weekend. Here it is about 2 months later and he hasn’t left yet. What is our legal right? If he is here for that long can we have him pay rent also? Could you please give me some advice with this matter.

Harun Rashid says March 16, 2011

Jen:

I would need to know more about the situation to advise you on your particular circumstances.

However, in general, without a written lease, the relationship is a month-to-month lease and a landlord is entitled to be paid for all months when the tenant has possession of the property.

Regarding kicking them out, as long as a landlord follows the Minnesota Statutes, especially the statutes applying to month-to-month leases, a landlord can file a motion for eviction with the court. Assuming the court grants the motion, the court would issue a “writ” that directs the sheriff to remove the tenant, with force if necessary.

If you are curious, when I have done this for clients in the past, the attorney’s fees have been around $1500. Many landlords prefer to let an attorney take care of evictions because of all the statutory requirements and legal procedures that must be done correctly to succeed. However,

Aaron

Jen says March 16, 2011

Aaron,

We have a 1 year lease agreement with our tenants, my question is they have a friend that has been staying with them who is not on the lease who has been here for about 2 mos.
They keep telling me that he is going to leave but he hasn’t yet.
Do I tell them that he has to be out in a couple of days?
Thank You

Harun Rashid says March 21, 2011

Jen:

This should be handled in accordance with your lease and Minnesota law. In other words, I can’t advise you on this without analyzing your lease. We would need to (1) verify that having a guest is a breach of the lease and then (2) follow the procedures in the lease for breach of this part of the lease (assuming those procedures do not violate Minnesota law).

Ultimately, this is not the type of question that can be resolved on a blog—it requires meeting with an attorney to analyze the lease and circumstances. Blogs are great for explanations about the law. However, blogs are not very useful when an analysis of the lease is required.

Aaron

Michele says March 25, 2011

Background History to question: A friend of the family gained her mom & dad place through the departing of both. They where in the nursing home and she owes money to MN state. So she listed the house for sale at a high amount to satisfy the state. It has not sold. So to help in paying the taxes and utilities she agreed to rent the house out to my daughter for $250 plus utilities. My daughter had her boyfriend move in also. The friend did not know the boyfriend. Well now they have broke up and also in the meantime the friend has raised the rent to $500 including utilities (the most amount paid for the winter in utilities was $324) and has said whoever can pay this rent will be the one to stay. Well my daughter has found a girlfriend that would like to share the place and the boyfriend to leave but the friend will not allow my daughter to do this as she stated she does not know her girlfriend. Can she do this and tell my daughter she will have to be the one to leave?

Michele says March 25, 2011

Also, in the process this house still has all of her parents housewares etc in the house and can only use one bedroom, kitchen & living room and that is it. My daughter could not get a certificate of rent paid because the friend has not reported the place as a rental. But now she will be making an income, plus she has not reported any previous rent to the state. So if she is going be not a friend to us or my daughter, who do I report her to about how she is handling the house. State is not getting there money.

Harun Rashid says March 25, 2011

Michele:

There is a lot going on in your situation, involving a number of legal issues. This is far more than can be adequately analyzed and diagnosed on a blog. I recommend that you meet with an attorney who can spend the time necessary to fully understand the circumstances and advice you on your legal rights and options. (You are welcome to contact my office if you would like to schedule a meeting at our usual attorney rates.)

Aaron

Mark says April 11, 2011

Aaron,
We have rented our house to a family for 1 year, This was done with a written lease. Everything was sign by the other party. They agree to a 1year lease. After 5 month he lost his job. We got a phone call about 1 week before the rent was do. The husband said that they had to pack up and leave cuase he hjas no job and couldn’t pay rent. I told him I couldn’t just let him out of the lease. He said he has no choice and has to go back to the state where he lived before coming to minnesote and get his other job back. They packed up and left and said they would stay in contact. What legal paper work do I need to send them.

Mark

Harun Rashid says April 11, 2011

Mark:

Are you wondering what legal paperwork is required
(1) to keep the security deposit,
(2) to protect your right to bring in new tenants without the old tenants claiming you wrongfully entered the property, or
(3) to get the money owed to you for breach of the lease?

Aaron

Tim says April 13, 2011

Hi Aaron,

We have tennants who are about to break a written lease and refusing to pay the $1,500 break-lease fee. We currently live outside the USA (we use a MN-based Management Company for rent collection etc) and have no plans to return to MN in the near future. So, my question is – what avenues, if any, are open to us to get the break-lease fee enforced and paid to us? Can we file all relevant paper-work from a distance etc. If there is any requirement that we actually attend any court hearings or anything then it immediately becomes financially not worth it due to air fare costs etc.

Thanks in advance – great blog by the way, very helpful.

Regards
Tim

Harun Rashid says April 14, 2011

Tim:

If you can’t get the tenants to pay what they owe under a lease, the process is (this is the short version) to (1) sue them, and assuming you win, (2) collect on the judgment using garnishment and related collection methods. If you sue them without an attorney, you would be representing yourself in court, so you obviously would need to attend the hearing before the judge. If you have an attorney represent you, if the case goes to trial, you would probably need to be available to be a witness—this can be done by video conference, with the court’s permission.

The problem you have here is that you are seeking a $1500 break-lease fee. If there are no other damages or amounts owed, you are only seeking $1500. It will cost you more than $1500 in court filing fees and attorney’s fees to bring a lawsuit against the tenant. So if you are only owed $1500, I suggest you wait until you are back in Minnesota and sue the tenant then, by representing yourself in Conciliation Court in the county where the property is located. Keep in mind that there are statutes of limitation that apply to cases like this, which means you must bring the lawsuit within a certain period of time. To be on the safe side, you should have the lawsuit started within three years from the date the tenants broke the lease.

Aaron

Tim says April 15, 2011

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for the very informative reply. One follow-up question if you don’t mind. If they don’t pay the break-lease fee then surely they are still liable for the remainder of the rent (10 months @ $1,200 a month). The lease calls out specific steps they need to do to break the lease – 2 months notice, proof of purchase of home and payment of break-lease fee), if they don’t do ALL of those things then they are simply delinquent in rent aren’t they? If so, when would we take them to court for the delinquent rent – at the end of the lease agreement or can we do it before that? At some point it probably would make sense for us to sue them and hire an attorney ($12k is a decent amount of money, at least for me).

Thanks in advance for your reply.
Tim

Terri says April 21, 2011

Hi Aaron,

I have a situation that I have no idea what to do. My mother passed away 5 years ago and she left me as owner of her house. Her wishes were to allow my brothers and sister to remain in the house. So, I did. One brother was unemployed, one had jobs off and on and my sister was working. The agreement was for them to live there, find jobs, pay for all the bills (utilities, taxes, etc.) and eventually I would charge them token rent to pay for the insurance on the house. This was going well for a while. The brothers never did find jobs, my sister lost hers and found another one that did not pay as well. I recently found out that the bills were not getting paid and that the xcel bill was still in my deceased father’s name, which I was not aware of. My sister recently moved out after a fight with my brothers and now xcel will be disconnecting their power by the end of the month. I don’t know what my responsibility in this matter is. Is there somewhere for them to get help…..one brother has many medical problems and is trying to work with the county now. I don’t want to throw them out on the streets, but I also can’t afford to pay for them to live in that house. Help!

Thanks for your help,
Terri

Harun Rashid says April 21, 2011

Terri:

To answer your question, you are liable for the debts of the property. If you don’t pay those debts, a lien can be put on the property for the amount of the debts. The challenge for you is to decide what you want to do. It sounds like you know your legal options (evict the tenants or let them stay).

As for the tenants, I’m not sure which nonprofit organizations or government agencies would be equipped to help them, it depends what their problems are.

Aaron

Wes says April 29, 2011

We moved into our duplex June 15, 2009 Our lease began on July 1, 2009 the lease calls for 60 days notice to move. It is a 12 month lease. We have been here for nearly 2 years and now want to move. Are we tenants-at-will? And must we give 60 days notice? Or is 30 days ok as our rent period runs month to month. Please help and thanks.

Harun Rashid says May 3, 2011

After your 12 month lease expired, you are probably tenants-at-will. However, it’s difficult to say with certainly whether you are tenants-at-will without analyzing the lease.

As you know, there are many circumstances that are unique, so there is no replacement for legal advice from an attorney who analyzes your particular situation. This blog covers general legal concepts, but it would take a Minnesota attorney talking with you about the particulars of your situation to provide legal advice to you that you could rely on.

Aaron Hall, Minneapolis Minnesota Attorney

Kevin says May 26, 2011

Hello Aaron,

We have a term lease with our tenants. One tenant is going to school to be a lawyer and has told us that it is the law that they be present during the final inspection. I did not see anything on the MN AG website on this. Is there any truth to this, and if so would a request of this nature need be done in writing?

We would prefer that they were not present during the final inspection, as our lease states that the property be in the same condition as it was at the start of the lease, with exception to normal wear & tear.

Thank you for your help.

Harun Rashid says May 26, 2011

Kevin:

Tenants do not have a right to be present during your inspection unless the lease gives the tenants that right. However, as you know, tenants have a right to receive from the landlord “a written statement showing the specific reason for the withholding of the deposit.” See Minnesota Statutes section 504B.178 subdivision 3.

Aaron

Kim & Kevin says June 3, 2011

Hi,

We let our nephew and his friend rent our house since Sep 2 2010. We never thought about getting a rental dwelling license since he is our nephew. We also did not check their credit. They had a copy of terms for lease agreement, but never sent back to us. Thus the agreement was never signed. The house was built in the 1960, now the sewer can’t take paper towel or toilet paper very well. We told them not to put paper down the toilet period. We also allow no pets in the house. They reported water back up in April. We had my brother went to the house and snaked. He found roots and paper. On 5/22/2011, we went to the house without notice and saw a big dog, the basement has mold. We told them to leave and we are using their deposit ($800) to remove the mold. The quote to remove the mold is $4000. Now we have to tear the whole basement. We just want them to leave so we can remove the mold, so we told them either they move out or we raise the rent from $800 to $1200. Now they want their renter credit and refuse to move out or the rent. They even threaten us that they are going to pursue a legal action against us. What right do we have? What should we do? We just want our house back. We do appreciate you taking the time to provide clear answers to our questions.

Thanks

Harun Rashid says June 3, 2011

Kim and Kevin:

Since there is no signed written lease, the lease is month to month, so you can raise the rent. If you want to evict the tenants, you need to file for an eviction hearing and convince the judge that the tenants breached the lease. The breaches could be non-payment of the new lease amount, having pets in violation of the oral lease agreement, allowing damage to the property, etc.

There may be an issue regarding the lease not being signed. Without analyzing the lease, I don’t know whether you are better off arguing there was a written lease or arguing that there was just a month to month oral lease. The general rule is that the lease is month to month unless there is a written lease to the contrary. It may be to your advantage to have a month to month lease because then you can raise the rent. If you want, you could argue that there is a written lease that was accepted by the tenants, as evidenced by the tenants moving in, even though it is unsigned.

Regardless of whether there was a signed written lease, if the tenants breached the oral lease by having pets or allowing damage to the property, you may be able to convince the judge that you are entitled to an eviction.

Aaron

Todd says June 3, 2011

Hi!

My father is on a lease and asked the landlord permission to let me stay with him.
She agreed verbally and I lived there for 2 years not on a lease.

The landlord for unapparent reasons decided to have me removed. With no notice or warning she called the sheriff deputies who told me they were serving me a verbal trespass notice and they told me I would be arrested if I did not leave immediately.

Do I have a conciliation court claim against the landlord and/or the sheriff deputies?

Harun Rashid says June 3, 2011

Todd:

Yes, under those circumstances, you would probably have claims against the landlord. However, the legal concepts here are a bit complex (estoppel, waiver, etc.), and your damages would probably be limited to one month of rent at another location.

It would be a waste of time to pursue the sheriff’s deputies because they have immunity for these acts. However, you are not trespassing if the tenant permits you to be on the premises and your presence is not in violation of the lease.

Aaron

Todd says June 3, 2011

1) Not familiar with estoppel, waiver or the etc you refer to. I was under the impression that conciliation court was simple and was meant for laymen to be able to easily file claim without an attorney. Would you recommend handling a situation like this myself? If the damages are limited to one months rent at another location then I would be paying more for an attorney than the settlement would be worth. If this is too complicated to file for a layman, can you recommend a pro-bono lawyer?

2) I agree it is not trespassing because I have permission from the leaseholder but does that mean I can simply return to the property and if arrested for trespassing then would it be malicious prosecution? How should I deal with this? I still have the key and was never formally charged with trespassing as there was no paperwork.. no court date… no record at the sheriff office… etc.

3) Getting thrown onto the street with nowhere to go stinks! Are there any other possible damages I could claim for like damaged personal property from having to hastily move some of my personal belongings or emotional distress for having to sleep in my car for weeks? The place I am staying now is with a friend. I pay cash for renting 1 small bedroom and there is no lease and no receipt. My belongings are in an unlocked garage at my fathers home and nobody is there because my father has recently went to the hospital.

Harun Rashid says June 3, 2011

Todd:

Here is a brief answer to your questions.

1. I agree that an attorney would be too expensive. I don’t know of any attorney who will do this pro bono. The key will be convincing the judge that the landlord orally said you could stay there and did not give you reasonable notice to leave.

2. Legally, you should be permitted on the property based on the facts you have presented. Practically, going against law enforcement is not advisable.

3. Calculating damages is a complex legal topic. But practically speaking, if you go to conciliation court, emotional damages are highly unlikely, but financial reimbursement for actual expenses is possible.

Aaron

Todd says June 5, 2011

So in essence you are saying that I just have to “sign up for court” and tell my story to the judge, and if I can convince the judge that I was allowed to stay there then the judge will figure out what laws were broken, and how much compensation I am entitled to? I am unsure if my income is too great to qualify me for a waiver for the filing fee (25-35 hours per week at minimum wage) and I am contemplating whether to file at all. I do not know what I would put on the form. My actual damages include driving expenses (gasoline) and my time ($250 per hour sounds reasonable) and some damaged property (priceless) from having to move my personal property hastily, and rent I have paid at my current, temporary residence. A few million should just about cover it. (comic relief)

It bothers me, and probably most Americans when legally my rights are being violated by the same people who are supposed to protect and enforce them. At some point you need to change your definition of “practical”, because after all if anyone imposes authority over you other than god, it is your right to AT LEAST question that authority! After being forcefully removed from your home without any paperwork while you are keeping the peace, you might change your opinion. These are gestapo tactics! I was not breaking the law and this was a civil matter.

This has happened to me one too many times. Who do you call when the police break the law? As for immunity from their actions, I disagree unless you could explain further. Police are not accountable for breaking the law? What about the Nuremberg trials? You cannot just “follow orders” if those orders are illegal, and not be held accountable for following those illegal orders. Extreme example perhaps but it is the same concept.

Brother Joe says June 8, 2011

Hi Aaron,

My sister is renting an apartment month-to-month, and there has been water damage to their bathroom in their apartment. The cause, faulty water lines in the unit above, has been fixed and documented by the landlord. However, since this was a slower leak over time, there is extensive water damage to the surrounding walls and the walls must be repaired.

There is an emergency notice issued by the city to have the landlord either repair the walls according to Rochester City Ordinance 35.03 & 35.06, or notify the tenant to vacate the apartment because of inadequate bathroom facilities according to RCO 37.01, and to “relocate the tenant to another apartment within the building if available.”

This notice states that the landlord must comply with one of these options by 3PM June 10th, and it appears the landlord has chosen to vacate the apartment. There is no other available apartment in the building, so the landlord has basically stated they need to move everything out by 3PM on Friday. Is this emergency notice from the city similar to obtaining the legal writ to vacate a tenant from the apartment, or does the landlord still need to go through the main eviction/vacating legal medium to enforce the notice?

I know there are certain nuances that cannot be confirmed since there is no lease information here nor the exact wording of the city ordinances, but ultimately, is a city emergency notice from the Building Safety Department enough to enforce the desire of the landlord to vacate the apartment? This was just presented to the tenant Wed, June 8th, and while they would be willing to relocate, moving all their items into storage and finding another place to live, short term and long term, are quite difficult with such short notice. They are seeking help locally, but additional education is always a good thing!

Harun Rashid says June 9, 2011

Brother Joe:

A city’s notice is not the equivalent of a court’s writ for eviction. As you know, the parties should seek help from attorneys because this sounds messy.

Aaron

Meagan says July 5, 2011

Hi Aaron,

I have a unique situation that I am hoping to get some assistance with. Thank you in advance for any help you may be able to provide.

I have been living in my house for 13 months. The lease was only one year, so we are holdover tenants now. The landlord has been in default on the mortgage for about 10 months of that time and we have received multiple default notices. We have also had multiple debt collectors at the door because the landlord is still claiming to live here. She does not have a rental permit.

Anyway, after denying that the house was in default for many months, she finally “fessed up” and said that the house would be listed as a short slale with a Realtor. When the Realtor called to arrange a time to list the house, we made an offer on it. So, we are now in a purchase agreement to buy the house. The landlord and the bank have approved our offer on the short sale, and we are scheduled to close before July 29.

We asked the landlord if she would return our damage deposit by waiving July rent. We even offered to put the July rent in an escrow, which would be paid to her at closing as long as she returned y damage deposit. She refused, citing that the reason she has to short sell the house [she is $100k underwater on and defaulted on months ago] is because of the damage our pets have caused. Really weird! The offer we made was really “fair market” value for the house and it looks pretty good to me.

Basically she has refused (in writing) to return the damage deposit she is contractually obligated to return to us. Due to the nature of the fact that our house is a short sale, we have agreed to purchase it “as is”. We are thinking about withholding rent from her. The way we see it, by the time she evicts us, we will own the house anyway. Furthermore, if she decided to sue for the last month’s rent, we could just counterclaim for our damage deposit and certainly win anyway.

Please, please tell me if you think I sound unreasonable. I know that people can oftentimes overlook the fact that they are being unreasonable, and I honestly want to know if I am.

Faiza says July 5, 2011

Hi Aaron,

I have a tenant in which, through email we agreed to renew. However, no lease agreements were signed. As per the lease they have 60 days before they must vacate. Is it possible to withdraw lease renewal if we add another month to their lease term, as to give them the 60 days notice?

Harun Rashid says July 5, 2011

Faiza:

The answer to this question would depend on the circumstances and the terms of the lease agreement (if any). I’m sorry, but this is not the type of question I could answer on a blog. A meeting and analysis of your situation would be needed.

Aaron

Todd says July 6, 2011

Aaron are you aware of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ?

Harun Rashid says July 6, 2011

Todd:

Yes, I have some experience with the 1983 Act. 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides:

Every person who under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, Suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable.

Aaron

Todd says July 6, 2011

You said: “It would be a waste of time to pursue the sheriff’s deputies because they have immunity for these acts”. But clearly according to section 1983 they are not immune. I just would like a clarification.

42 U.S.C. § 1983, popularly known as “Section 1983,” is a federal law that allows lawsuits for violations of constitutional rights.

Section 1983 establishes a cause of action for any person who has been deprived of rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States by a person acting under color of state law.

Harun Rashid says July 6, 2011

Todd:

Despite the 1983 Act, police have qualified immunity. Here is a summary of qualified immunity law:

Governmental officials, performing their specified functions, are afforded qualified immunity from liability stemming from civil damages suffered by others to the extent that the officer’s actions “does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” Secondly, qualified immunity protects “all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.” Lastly, a federal court ruled that law-enforcement officers are protected from “bad guesses in gray areas” and liable “for transgressing bright lines.”
Source: http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~uofla/Summer99/Brown.html

Cases against law enforcement under the 1983 Act are expensive and difficult, so as a practical matter, I do not believe it would be worth pursuing. However, I encourage you to meet with an attorney if you want to pursue it.

Aaron

Todd says July 6, 2011

You said: “Generally, a Sheriff will only enforce a court order.
A sheriff generally will not enforce contracts.”

They enforced a contract, and enforced their judgment against the wrong party as clearly the Landlord was violating the contract by not giving proper notice.

The police do not qualify for immunity in this, or any case simply because of their position. We are all equal and there is no second class citizens. I have the SAME POWER of citizens arrest that the police use. you are being citizens arrested when a police officer arrests you. I also have the same responsibility and liability.

“does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”

It was reasonable for them to know, because I specifically told them and asked them if they were unsure to check with their superiors and they refused to even call them. On top of that this was a civil matter where there was no breach of peace. they had ZERO jurisdiction. That was incompetent and clearing breaking the law when I tell them what the law is, not that I should need to.

“Cases against law enforcement under the 1983 Act are expensive and difficult, so as a practical matter, I do not believe it would be worth pursuing.”

And that is what it all boils down two. Rights for the rich and no rights for the poor. If your rights have been violated you should be able to sue them for free… especially when it is the state who violated those rights! If you call 911 because someone is breaking into your house do they ask for your credit card information or do they immediately send a patrol car to the scene? Why when the state violates my rights do I have to pay to sue them, and also pay for their lawyers with my tax dollars when I can’t even afford my own lawyer?

This would be like the police telling you they were not going to arrest the burglar and telling you that you need to come up with money to file a lawsuit against him after he just robbed you.

And people wonder why they never get any real answers….

Harun Rashid says July 6, 2011

Todd:

I don’t want to argue with you. I sympathize with your frustration. We can respectfully disagree regarding the law.

Again, I encourage you to contact an attorney if you want to pursue this matter. Still, I’m concerned that the substantial cost of legal fees will be greater than what you could win.

Aaron

Meagan says July 6, 2011

Aaron,

Thank you for your feedback. The only problem I have with the idea that I have a “claim” for my damage deposit is that the “claim” is not worth as much as the paper it is printed on if the landlord is financially insolvent. Based on the fact that my landlord has two houses in the process of foreclosure, financial insolvency appears to be a valid concern here.

I have “won” two different “claims” against a former landlord. It cost me hundreds of dollars to “win” and I walked away with exactly zero dollars because she lost the house – this means no lien for me!

Is this a case you would be interested in representing me on? Understanding that my strategy would be, of course, to create a strong likelihood of settling outside of court quickly. These people do not have any money to pay me out on “claims” that I may have.

Harun Rashid says July 6, 2011

Meagan:

You sound like a reasonable person. However, your proposal to not pay the last month’s rent is in violation of the law. The penalty is equal to the amount of the last month’s rent, plus possibly some other penalties, in addition to having to pay the last month’s rent.

If the landlord fails to comply with the law regarding your security deposit, you will have a claim for that. You might also have other claims. Your situation is complex, and I would highly advise that you consult with an attorney about the rental situation and the purchase of the home.

Aaron

Michelle says August 6, 2011

Hi Aaron

I run a wellness center and am the sole lease holder of the unit. In the unit there are 4 rooms and an open bay. Each tenat is a sublet on a month-to-month verbal contract. I have one tenant that I would like to give a 30-Day notice. She won’t sign an agreement without her mother approving the contract (even though the tenant is in her 30’s). All my other tenants and their clients have complained about this particular tenant. I would like to draft her a 30-day notice to leave, however, I don’t know what to put in it. I do know she will not take kindly to the notice. Is there a Minnesota law I can put in the notice. I read on another site:
By Minnesota law, a rental agreement does not have to be in writing but it usually is in the form of a lease. If the lease is an agreement to rent the property for an unspecified length of time, it is considered a periodic tenancy, or month-to-month lease. Either the tenant or the landlord may end this type of lease with a one-month notice. A lease that specifically states the amount of time for which the lease is good is called a definite term lease. By law, if the duration of this type of lease is for more than a year, it must be in writing. Often, a tenant will be required to provide a written notice to end the tenancy.

Is this true. I would like to do this immediately. Please respond any advice is welcomed.

Frustrated…..

Harun Rashid says August 8, 2011

Michelle:

If the tenant is expected to pay on a monthly basis, your notice could say something like this: “Under Minnesota Statute section 504B.135, you are hereby notified that your lease will terminate 30 days from today.” You might also add something like this: “Please contact me to coordinate the logistics of you moving out.”

Aaron

James says August 22, 2011

Mr. Hall,

I was wondering what your opinion is on this situation. I will try to be as brief as possible as there are many details and I am a detail oriented individual 😉

My family and I rented from a landlord in the state of MN.

We moved out at the end of June (July 1st was the end of our lease) and upon moving out had the carpets cleaned and returned the premises back to as good if not better cleanliness when we moved in.

When we signed our lease we initialed a provision on the lease that stipulated that we would receive a check in and check out sheet but upon checking in or out NEVER received this form. The landlord even was present at our “check-in” but only dealt with the departing tenants and never even came into the apartment with us. He dealt with the other tenants outside and before we knew it he had departed without our knowledge.

When we checked out we had set up a check out time where the landlord failed to attend. He stated that he got “tied up” at work and was unable to be there. He looked through the premises and told us via phone an hour after our initial pre arranged time as to what needed to be cleaned a “little better” and everything would be good. I recleaned the items he indicated and photographed the premises via my Blackberry phone so the pictures are not as crystal clear as I would like them to be. I took approximately 40 photographs of the premises upon my final departure.

On the 14th of the month the landlord called me and left a voicemail. He stated that I needed to return to the premises because there was a strong smell of pet urine in the apartment. Our pet incidentally NEVER urinated in the apartment EVER. He stated that he wasn’t sure but thought that the carpets would have to be replaced up stairs and down because of the smell. This was not because of stains because there were none as I inspected after the carpet cleaners were there.

I returned a call to him and let him know that I would not be able to meet him at the premises as I worked nights and that was what the check out that we were both supposed to attend on the 30th was for NOT 14 days after we surrendered the premises back to him.

He then called me on approximately the 19th and stipulated that the carpets would need to be replaced because the urine smell could not be removed. He stated that I could come over and witness it That was the purpose of the check out on the 30th and I don’t think it would have been anything other than a he said she said confrontation.

I sent our landlord a five day demand for deposit on approximately the 25th of the month after the 3 week window had passed per MN SS 504B.178 (we still had not received anything from him in written form. He also had our new address and regardless could have sent any correspondence to our last previous known address and it would have been forwarded to us, none of which happened) We received a letter back from him on the 28th, certified mail sent on the 27th per the certified postage stamp on the envelope. The letter inside of it was dated the 21st which I believe showed he knew the state statute of sending correspondence with 3 weeks.

I have filed a suit in conciliation court and also have spoken with and have subpoenaed one of the tenants that lived in the residence prior to us. Curiously, I also have the former tenants check out letter where the landlord charged the previous tenants for repairs to wall damage that he never made the repairs to. I also have photographic evidence of this damage showing that the landlord DID NOT make the repairs to the damage he charged the previous tenants for.

Please give me your thoughts and FYI I have filed for the deposit and also the bad faith clause. In addition I am suing for the max $500.00 in punitive damages in addition to all of my court related costs.

I wouldn’t have done this if he would have returned my deposit or at least followed the rules of the game and communicated with me within the stated mandated time frame. Incidentally in his letter dated the 21st that he did not send until the 27th he never did give an accounting of what the deposit was used for but rather what he would be countersuing for if we chose to litigate the issue. He simply gave us an approximate amount he would seek if we didn’t drop this “stinky issue”

Thanks so much for your time and attention to this and any input is MUCH appreciated!

James

Harun Rashid says August 23, 2011

James:

Unfortunately, it is difficult for me to fully analyze your legal situation on a blog. To adequately advise you, I would need to meet and ask you follow-up questions to fully understand all the important facts. I would be happy to meet with you if that interests you (my usual hourly rate would apply).

Aaron

Terry says August 24, 2011

I had a renter who I evicted due to non payment. I never had him sign a lease or pay a damage deposit. He left on July 22nd and left all his stuff behind. It has been over 30 days since I have heard from him, how long must I keep his stuff for him? I already have another renter who has basically moved in around my former renters stuff.

Donna says September 3, 2011

I have a tenant not willing to pay rent stating that ther is mold in the house. We have responsed to the notification timely and we are in the process of getting it inspected. I am assuming rent is still due given we are responding timely?
Also we have given him 60 notice that his lease will not renew at its experation date. We want him to keep the house presentable so we can find a replacement tenant. What is his responsibility? Thanks

Harun Rashid says September 3, 2011

Donna:

The tenant’s responsibility is defined by the lease, so I would need to analyze the lease to answer your question.

Aaron

AL BATES says September 21, 2011

My son & I own and operate a Group Residential Housing facility in Minneapolis. We provide board and lodging on a daily bases. We receive payment from the State of Minnesota at the end of each month depending on the number of days we provide service for each client. Some clients have resided in our facility for months and a few for years. We sometimes need to evict clients if they become violent and a threat to the others. What governs all rights.

Harun Rashid says September 22, 2011

Al:

I’m not sure I understand your question, but I’ll try to answer. Under the law, all rights are governed by the various legal authorities. Specifically here, landlord and tenant rights are governed by applicable Minnesota Statutes, case law, and the contract/lease between the landlord and tenant.

Aaron

Matt Janes says October 5, 2011

Question regarding section 504B.145. So my landlord gave my girlfriend papers on renewing her lease. Due to being out of town, she did not open them within the window of opportunity, and when she did she was had less than 60 days before her original lease would expire. The landlord is claiming that because she did not give her notice, that she is bound to them for another year (and rent increase). So in this case, would an automatic lease renewal be enforceable in Minnesota? Or would she have any sort of course of action to get out of her lease?

Harun Rashid says October 5, 2011

Matt:

On technical issues like timing, a detailed analysis of the lease and facts is necessary. I recommend that your girlfirend meet with an attorney to advise her based on a careful analysis.

Aaron

Leah Biezuns says October 5, 2011

Hi Aaron,

I am writing on behalf of my boyfriend. He was renting his place out for the past year and according to the lease the renters had agreed to a month to month lease after the year lease had expired. They failed to pay their last month of rent before moving out and said that they do not owe it. They will not answer their phones and have left messages from an unknown number. He is out 1,000 $ and would like to pursue action on these people. What is the next step?

Thank you for your time,

Leah

Harun Rashid says October 5, 2011

Leah:

The next step is to file a case against the tenants in Conciliation Court.

Aaron

tamara says November 1, 2011

Our lease ended on september and we even gave 30 days notice to move out,but we recieved a letter stating that we cannot move out until end of september according to the winter clause,but the winter cluase starts from december, so if we move out in middle of november,do we still have to follow the winter clause.would be wonderful if you could advise in this.

Harun Rashid says November 1, 2011

Tamara:

This is a great example of how the smallest details in a lease can make a big difference. The only way I could answer your question is by analyzing the lease.

Aaron

Sheena says November 2, 2011

I currently own a townhouse in MN that I am renting. I currently reside in NY as my work has me here.
The tenents that I have now did not pay rent for July and August. I sent a pay or quit notice which they received. They have been in my house for about 3 years and have been basically good renters always paying rent. I made a decision about letting them stay till at least the end of their lease as they were trying to get help and he said that I should get the money in September. This did not happen.
I did get paid Oct rent. The check was returned NSF, I did redeposit and was able to get paid on 10/25. I have not gotten Nov rent yet.
On 10/26/2011 I sent an email asking that they move out by 11/30/2011. I followed up with an overnight letter signature required upon receipt that they would have received on 10/29/2011.
I am now trying to show the townhouse to a new potential renter and I have emailed 2 times and called and left voicemails 2 times.
My questions –
1. Can my father (who is managing this process for me as I am in NY) go into the house on Saturday even though they did not respond back to me?
2. How do I get the back rent from them?
3. Do you know about getting a POA? If I have to go to court, I am going to need a POA for my father to represent me. I am in NY and can do it here but need to know if it will work in MN?
Thank you so much for any advisor or input that you can give me.

Harun Rashid says November 2, 2011

Sheena:

I can give general information on this blog, but your situation has many details that need to be analyzed and discussed more thoroughly than a blog permits for you to get reliable legal advice. You should meet with an attorney to discuss the specific facts of your situation and determine the best options for proceeding.

Aaron

Sheena says November 2, 2011

Hello
I have a townhouse in MN that I am currently renting. I have had the same tenants for about 3 years. I am currenlty living in NY as my work has me here.
The renters that are in my house had a lease that expired on 10/31/11. We did not sign a new lease.
In August I sent a pay or quit notice to the house as they had not paid July or August rent. I decided after discussing this with them to let them finish the lease. This was my first mistake, I know. I was told that I would get the money for July and August in September, this did not happen.
I did get Sept rent and then October rent on 10/25/2011. On 10/26/2011 I emailed asking them to please be out NLT 11/30/2011. I sent a letter to them as a follow up on 10/28/2011 for overnight delivery with signed receipt. They had notice left and have not picked this up from the post office.
I want to show the townhouse and they are not responding to email or voicemail.
Can my father, in my place, enter the house as they are not responding to my requests? What actions can I take at this point?
THank you in advance for your help.

Harun Rashid says November 2, 2011

Sheena:

In general, it is improper for a landlord (or an agent/friend/family member) to enter the home without the tenant’s permission. You must get a court order for this.

Your situation is complex and you should consult with an attorney about how to handle it.

Aaron

Ali says November 3, 2011

Hi Aaron
I have an issue with my landlord. I recently received a letter from my landlord claiming that my rent was late a day. I am 100% sure that I put the check in their mailbox on the 2nd. There system is very simple unfortunately might cause confusion. We take a check and place it in the mailbox hanging by the management office. There is no receipt given nor any form of identification that a check has been put on a certain day. They charged me 50 dollars and claim that it’s up to 136 now with interest. I ignored them an told them that I did put the check in time. I have been here for 7 years and had one late payment due to misunderstanding how weekends work. The second was on a sunday so I put it on Monday which was the 3rd. So they eventually waved it. Yesterday she any me a letter saying that if 136 is not payed she will file an unlawful detainer. I ended up payin it but I just believe that my right have been violated and they either did not see the check or they are unfortunately just crooks. It’s not about the money in this situation but the concept is what’s killing me. Why do We believe that the landlord is right and we are liars? Because they are a corporation? Please let me know what can I do and how should I deal with this case. Thank you so much

Harun Rashid says November 4, 2011

Ali:

The short answer is that you can resolve any disputes in court if you and the landlord cannot resolve them yourselves. However, sometimes a credible threat of legal action from an attorney can help avoid legal action. For tenants, especially those with low incomes, HOME Line is a great option. HOME Line is a nonprofit Minnesota statewide tenant advocacy organization. They offer free legal help to most tenants (low income). Here is the HOME Line contact information:

HOME Line
3455 Bloomington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55407-2216
Metro Area: 612-728-5767
Greater MN: 1-866-866-3546
http://www.homelinemn.org/

Kayti says November 12, 2011

Aaron,
Please help me out in anyway possible! Here is the general synopsis:

I own a house. I had a renter, whom I had a verbal agreement with paying $600/month (biweekly) for rent. We never signed a lease. She was always consistently late with rent and I was very lenient with her. She uses a land line for work and I put her phone plan on my comcast bill. She was suppose to be paying me $30/mo for that and I have not seen any of it for the last five months. A Month ago she told me that her job had made a mistake on her paycheck and she couldn’t get me rent yet, I told her I would give her some time and borrow the money from my father to pay my mortgage. (I have two jobs and go to school, typical poor college student.) She then told me should would have the current rent for me last Friday. I told her she had until this Friday to get me the late rent. She agreed. Saturday I had a party at my house. I had asked her permission to have the party a month prior and she agreed. The morning after the party she claims that she just had happened to have $650 in cash in her purse and left it near the stairs in her living area upstairs and that someone stole that and ‘everything else worth value’ from her living area-she has totaled this to $1150. (She has two rooms upstairs) Nothing else was stolen at the party (including two laptops that were easily accessible, numerous purses, cell phones, etc) and I think that she is lying. She should have had the rent to me on Friday regardless. She is claiming now that I am liable for her stolen things. She packed up and left yesterday while I was at work with ABSOLUTELY no warning!!! She says we should call it even because all of these things were ‘stolen’ from her. She still has things here and my keys! I’m not sure what I can do?! I need a new roommate asap, and have one lined up. I am completely irate and would like to know if my case would likely stand in court? I really need the money and am very upset that she left the house with no warning and left me without being current on rent or paying the phone bill. I have emails between she and I discussing rent. I have facebook messages discussing her being late with rent. I have never dealt with the legal system and can not afford a lawyer. Please give me your opinion! Thank you so so so very much!

Kayti says November 12, 2011

** Also she still has my keys…legally am I allowed to change the locks? Can I move her things? At least into the garage? I don’t trust her but don’t want to do anything illegal! Thanks!!

Harun Rashid says November 14, 2011

Kayti:

Landlords are typically concerned about two main things when dealing with bad tenants:
1. getting back in the property
2. getting money owed to them

If a tenant has left for good, the landlord is entitled to re-enter the leased property, change the locks, and lease the space to someone else. If the tenant has not permanently left the property, the landlord must get a court order before permitting the landlord to enter the leased space.

As for the money owed to a landlord, the landlord can pursue this claim in conciliation court. Just go to your county courthouse, ask for conciliation court, and the clerk there can explain to you the process.

These are the general rules. I realize I have not given you specific advice about your situation, but that isn’t feasible on a blog when the situation is as detailed as yours. For a more detailed analysis, you should consult with an attorney.

Aaron

Carmen says November 29, 2011

Mr. Hall,
We rented our home for one year while my husband went on military duty for a year. We were not aware of lead paint in the home. Our tenant has had the paint chips tested and they contain lead. How can we best move forward?
Thank you.

Harun Rashid says November 29, 2011

Carmen:

What is your legal question?

Aaron

bliss says December 1, 2011

I am in Minnesota for a work assignment and decided to rent a room which required a “damage deposit”. The deposit is the same amount as the monthly room rental. I moved in on 11/15/11 without a lease agreement and the landlord did not state that I needed a written notice. Therefore, there were no terms given. Last night, 11/30/11, I informed him I will move out on 12/15/11 to spend my last month of my assignment living alone. He stated he was under the impression I would be in his home until the end of my work assignment which is 1/15/11 and he doesn’t have to give my deposit back. He stated if he did give the deposit back then he felt it should only be half. I advised him the “damage deposit” is for damages beyond normal wear/tear and the bedroom nor bathroom is damaged? Will I have to settle this in small claims court? Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

Brenda Solis says December 9, 2011

Several months ago I moved in with a friend being that it would be of benefit to us both. I would in turn have a place to live and he would have some money in his pocket being he had no income at the time. Everytime there is a disagreement he tries to pull the “Landlord Card” and make the sitution into something that had never been stated upon the decesion of me moving in. Does he have the right to do this and if so would if be considered retaliation? He is quite apt in his so called dealings as a landlord being that is his living. So I guess what I am really saying is because what he hoped would turn into a relationship hasn’t can he do this to me when is was like I said all done in friendship?

Thank You

Harun Rashid says December 9, 2011

Brenda:

I would need to discuss a number of details to advise you on this.

Aaron

Molly says December 10, 2011

My husband and I have a single family home. As a favor to a friend, we allowed a young woman to move in and rent one of our bedrooms, share the kitchen and 1/2 of our basement she uses as her own living room. There is no signed lease, just a verbal agreement on the amount of rent. We no longer get along so my husband said she had to find a new place to live and asked her to leave within the hour. He had already changed the locks. She left and we didnt hear from her for a little more than a week. She says she has rights as a tenant and that it was illegal for us to change the locks. Is she right? Someone told me she could break a window to get in and if the police were to come that she would not get in trouble since she still lives there (even though we have not seen or heard from her for days). We did not give her a specified day or date to be completly moved out. What rights does she have and us too?

Molly

Vicki V says December 21, 2011

I purchased a house the end of Oct 2011, it had three non-related adult tenants in the house upon purchase. I gave them the option of continuing on a month to month, or drafting a 6month or 1 year rental agreement. They chose to continue with the month-to month. Rent is due on the 1st and is paid thru the end of month.

One gentleman is unhappy that I raised his rent effective 1/1/2011 and indicated in an email on 12/09/2011 that he would be vacating, as soon as he found another place. I responded on 12/09/2011 offering that if he wanted to vacate on 12/31/2011 there would be no financial reprisals and that he would be released from any financial responsibility for 01/01/2012 rent. I then gave him notice that I was terminating our rental agreement effective midnight 01/31/2012 and asked that he vacate the premises by that date and time. He agreed, verbally and in writing.

I want to show the room, and based on my interpretation of MN Statute 504B.211, Subd 3(1), I have the right to do so during the notice period. I gave the tenant notice on 12/19 (personally delivered to him) that I would be showing the room on 12/21/2011 for a specified period (3pm-6pm).

The tenant believes that I am in violation of his rights, and that the landlord can only show the room during the rental period from Jan 1 to Jan 31, 2012.

Can you please clarify?

Thank you,
Vicki

Harun Rashid says December 22, 2011

Vicki:

Under Minn. Stat. 504B.211 subdiv. (3)(1), a landlord can enter the premises to show the unit to prospective residential tenants after giving reasonable notice of the landlord’s intent to enter the premises. In other words, the “notice” is notifying the tenant of your intent to enter the premises for a lawful purpose, not your notice to end the lease. Thus, you don’t have to wait until January 1. In fact, you could have showed the property to a prospective tenant in October if you wanted.

Aaron

Heather says December 25, 2011

I have three interrelated questions:

What legally constitutes the end of a tenancy? I was under the impression that at the point a tenant moves out and delivers the keys to the landlord, the landlord/tenant relationship is over. Is this true in Minnesota? Is there a statute which defines the end of a tenancy?

Secondly, does a tenant who has moved out and delivered the keys to the landlord have a right to (i) keep a key, (ii) re-enter the property, or (iii) provide or have an agent provide a city building inspector access to the property, during a month for which they have not paid rent?

Lastly, what requirements does a city building inspector have to meet to ensure that the person providing access to a private property has a legal right to be on the property themselves?

Thanks for any insight you are able to provide.

Heather

Harun Rashid says December 26, 2011

Heather:

1. Your first question about the “end of tenancy” appears to be asking about when the tenant has vacated the property, surrendered it to the landlord, and has no further right to access the property. This would depend on all the facts and circumstances. For example, if the tenant said “I’m moved out, here are the keys,” the tenant has communicated that the tenancy is over, the property is vacated by the tenant, and the tenant has surrendered the property to the landlord. After that point, a tenant normally has no legal basis for re-entry to the property. The tenant may still owe rent until the landlord releases the property.

2. In general, a tenant who has moved out and delivered the keys to a landlord does not have a right to (i) keep a key, (ii) re-enter the property, or (iii) provide anyone access to the property.

3. In general, a building inspector has no legal duty to verify that someone providing access to the property is the current person in legal possession of the property.

Aaron

Heather says December 29, 2011

Aaron,

Thank you so much for your quick response. I like all of your answers other than #3!

If I can take it a step further: In general, does a building inspector have an unlimited right to enter private property without the knowledge or consent of the owner, when that property is vacant? What evidence must a building inspector have to justify condemning a property?

I ask these questions because, as a landlord, I have become a victim of the current “mold scam” being perpetrated by tenants. In my case, the tenant moved out without giving any notice whatsoever and was told that her security deposit would not be refunded. In retaliation, she made a false report of mold to the city. She then changed the lock and kept the key, locking me out of the property.

When I was able to gain entry, the house reeked. I discovered two garbage bags filled with something foul and removed them. The following day, my former tenant’s father admitted a building inspector onto my property. Smelling the foul odor, he jumped to the conclusion that my property had a mold problem and condemned it.

A subsequent inspection by a Certified Residential Mold Inspector verified that there was no mold problem. I provided a copy of the report to the City Attorney, who nevertheless insists there IS a mold problem and I must abate it before the condemnation is lifted. In the meantime, I’m going broke maintaining a vacant property.

I believe there’s no question that I have a legitimate case against my former tenant, but do I have any cause of action against the City?

Thanks so much for your help,

Heather

Harun Rashid says December 31, 2011

Heather:

I building inspector has a duty to act as a reasonable person would when entering the property. If the person showing the property to the inspector breaks a window, enters through the window, and opens the front door for the building inspector, the building inspector should question whether the person is actually in legal possession of the property. But if the person has keys, the building inspector can reasonably assume the person is the rightful person in possession of the property. You can imagine how difficult it would be for inspectors to demand proof of legal possession every time they enter a property—that just isn’t practical.

As for your situation, your circumstances are complex, additional information is needed, and a legal opinion on your situation goes beyond the scope of this blog. For these reasons, I recommend you contact an attorney to analyze your situation for you.

Aaron

Jan Detmar says January 3, 2012

I own property and a tenant broke her lease (moved out after 6 months of a 12 month lease). Can I use her security deposit to cover one month of lost rent?

Harun Rashid says January 3, 2012

Jan:

Yes.

Aaron

Katie says January 25, 2012

I have a tenant who was renting out one level of our house and has just moved out. While everything is moved out and there is no clutter, there is A LOT of cleaning to be done. The bathroom is disgusting (I’m talking soap scum buildup so bad that the formerly white bathtub is now brown), the fridge is nasty, the sinks and counters haven’t been clean. The floors are dirty, etc. I had mentioned this several times before the tenant moved out. Is this considered beyond ordinary wear and tear? Am I legally allowed to charge an hourly rate for cleaning and deduct from the deposit?

Harun Rashid says January 25, 2012

Katie:

Cleaning is considered “ordinary wear and tear,” and thus, you cannot charge the tenant for it. In fact, many judges consider having to repaint walls to be “ordinary wear and tear.” The idea is that it is ordinary and expected to have to clean a living quarters, which can be done by the tenant or landlord.

Aaron

Justin Beck says January 28, 2012

If you pursued the renters to sign a new lease but they never got around to it, you have rights to evict within 30 days after the former lease ended and no new one was signed.

Harun Rashid says January 29, 2012

Justin:

No. If the tenant is on a month-to-month basis, you must give one month’s notice before bringing an eviction action. That is, the month starts from the date of your written notice, not the date the former lease ran out.

Aaron

Mary says January 29, 2012

Can a landlord keep the security deposit for labor costs that were done himself? He is charging $8500 for labor to replace carpet, re-paint walls and ceilings, and other misc. re-pairs and updates. He is charging more for the actual replacement items and he did not itemize his labor costs…just a lump sum charge of $8500. We dispute all of his claims as normal wear and tear based upon a five year lease period with a family of five. Upon leaving the premises, the carpets were cleaned by us. Are there any previous cases that have this issue? Thanks so much.

Jessica says January 30, 2012

If a pipe bursts at a rental property, who is responsible for the cost of the damages — the renter or the landlord?

Harun Rashid says January 30, 2012

Jessica:

The first step would be to see if the lease says anything regarding who is liable for a burst pipe.

In general, a landlord is liable for a burst pipe unless the lease says otherwise. If the tenant did something to cause the damage, the tenant may have liability.

Aaron

Harun Rashid says January 30, 2012

Mary:

Off the top of my head, I don’t know of a specific case addressing whether a landlord may charge for his time, and what a reasonable rate would be. This is something we could research for a client, but there is a fee for it.

As a general rule, whether the portion of a security deposit withheld by a landlord is reasonable will greatly depend on the circumstances. If you received a written explanation and you disagree with your landlord’s reasons for keeping the deposit, you can sue your landlord for return of the deposit. Your landlord will have to prove that the money was used for repairs. You can bring these types of cases in Conciliation Court if your claim is for less than $7,500.

Aaron

Jeffrey says February 15, 2012

I have renters who have hardly ever paid their rent on time. I allowed them to pay a few weeks late all the time. Now they are breaking their 3 yr lease after one year. They have mentioned that they want the security deposit to be used as last months payment. I directed them to the lease where it specifies that is not allowed. They got mad and are telling me that they are moving out two weeks earlier than what they originally told me. They do not want to meet me on the day they move nor will they give me a forwarding address as it states in the lease they must do. It seems to me they are setting me up to skip out on the rent. Do I have the right to just show up on the day they are moving? Since I allowed them to pay late before, does that now give them the right to pay late the last month too, or can I demand the rent on time and then if it is not paid make them pay the late fee too?

Harun Rashid says February 16, 2012

Jeffrey:

Your rights are largely dependent upon the language of the lease. So to answer your question, I would need to analyze the lease. You are welcome to schedule a meeting with me if that would interest you.

Aaron

Jeffrey says February 16, 2012

Thank you Aaron. I will be giving you a call around the 1st of the month, after I find out if they are standing by their decision to withhold the rent. One more question I do have though, If I send them an email stating again that I will not accept their offer to have the security deposit count as rent, would that be considered a written demand, or stand up in court. Do I need to send them a certified letter. Even if I go there and hand it to them, they could claim I never gave it to them. Thanks and I will be contact with you in a few weeks. Jeff

LW says February 26, 2012

My husband and my 12-month lease will be expiring soon and we want a month-to-month lease. Landlord is okay with it, but his terms seem questionable.

1. He said the lease would be month-to-month from March 1st until November 1st because it is “hard for him to find renters from November to March.” This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me because if someone is looking for a place and they want it, they’re going to rent it regardless of the time of year.

2. He wants us to give a a 58-day notice prior to vacating on a month-to-month lease, which usually requires a 30-day notice.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks in advance.

Harun Rashid says February 27, 2012

LW:

This isn’t as much a legal question as it is a question about what type of terms you are willing to accept. The law permits you to negotiate these terms. I think you are in a better position than me to determine whether these terms are reasonable based on your circumstances.

Aaron

AB says March 4, 2012

I have a tenant who signed a 1 year lease. They are now trying to break that lease. What laws are there to protect me against having a vacant property (without payment) when they move out.
Thanks!

Harun Rashid says March 5, 2012

AB:

Minnesota contract law would provide legal rights to you for breach of a lease.

Aaron

Amanda says March 7, 2012

Hello! We have a landlord that has been giving us a lot of trouble. We moved out of the property a couple months early because I am expecting around the day the lease was supposed to be up and we needed a bigger place. She was understanding and agreed. However, we were there for 2 years. The original lease had expired. She dropped off a new copy that me and my boyfriend both signed. She never came back to pick up the new copy and she never signed it. Calls were made, text messages were sent, and she never came to pick it up. I still have the copy. A month-to-month agreement was never made for us to be staying there as well. But we continued to pay rent without an official lease. We moved out in the middle of February. I stated to her that we would not pay the other half of February because we were not going to be living there. She agreed to this. When we moved out, we spent a couple days cleaning carpets, bathrooms, the whole place pretty much. She sent me an email stating that she was going to keep $700 of our $1225 deposit because she hired cleaners to clean the place and they charged her $300. So she stated she was going to charge us half. Then she said that we didn’t pay the last half of February so she was going to take that out as well. We fought with her for hours about this issue because we were unsatisfied with the outcome. We are wanting to take her to court. Would this be a case to get the rest of our deposit and maybe get back for all of the months we paid her for not having a lease, but she knew we were living there? During our time there, she never responded with any issues we had, and had to pay for a lot of the damage ourselves that went wrong. Pipes bursting, gas leaks, problems with the AC. We had to fix all of that because she never got back to us about those issues. What are your thoughts?

Darrell Boeckel says March 7, 2012

Hi Aaron,

I have a renter that has two years left on her lease.
She is now six days late on her rent but has emailed me and stated that she is sorry and the rent is in the mail.
In her email the tenant informed me that she has been a little behind in her utilities and that she has filed for chapter 7. My question is do I have to worry about the utilities from the home as they are not in my name and also my rent payment under her contract.

Thank you
Darrell

Harun Rashid says March 7, 2012

Darrell:

Most utilities can be charged to the property owner, so you should worry about whether they are paid.

Aaron

Harun Rashid says March 7, 2012

Amanda:

There are too many issues here to respond on a blog. Also, it would be better for you to get advice from an attorney in a confidential environment. Our firm offers a 1-hour meeting with an attorney at usual hourly rates if you would like help with this.

Aaron

Lorelee says March 14, 2012

Hello,
I have a tenant who has signed a one yr lease however it is not working out can i give her a 31day notice to vacate?

Thank You
Lorelee

Harun Rashid says March 14, 2012

Lorelee:

Whether you can give your tenant notice to vacate (and whether 31 days is the correct period) completely depends on the terms of your lease.

Aaron

Nicholas says March 14, 2012

Aaron,

I have signed a year lease that expires at the end of May. Our landlord just contacted us today about our situation for the next year. He said that he expects an answer in one week, at which time we have to sign a new lease with him. My question is can he make us sign it so early (2 1/2 months early)? Don’t we technically have up until the lease expiration date to make up our minds?

Nicholas

Harun Rashid says March 15, 2012

Nicholas:

The general rule is that, unless the lease says something to the contrary, the landlord can request a commitment from you or anyone else to lease the property when your lease is done. You are entitled to refuse signing a lease renewal, but the landlord is entitled to offer the property to others.

Aaron

Susan says March 15, 2012

I have a tenant who has not paid rent for 3 months. He says he is going to move out, but hasn’t. I am broke and cannot really afford the court costs for eviction. But now I am determined to take him to claims court for repayment of rent. He has played me and the system for months. He has received help from various social service organizations, but now it is apparent that he has no intention of trying to pay rent or that he is even grateful for my tolerance of late payments earlier in the lease. I need him out. Can I change the locks if I have not evicted him??

Harun Rashid says March 15, 2012

Susan:

No, you cannot change the locks on a tenant without a lawful eviction. You are exposing yourself to legal liability if you lock a tenant out without either (1) the tenant agreeing to leave or (2) a court order and sheriff’s removal of the tenant.

Aaron

Katie says March 20, 2012

Aaron,

Can my landlord charge me for carpet cleaning at the end of the lease when I cleaned the carpets when I moved in?

The lease does state “Carpet cleaning and all applicable cleaning charges will be deducted from the deposit at end of the lease” but I had to clean the carpets when I moved in and there was no damage beyond normal wear and tear when I moved out. “Normal wear and tear” is fairly loose terminology but I left the property in the same condition as I moved in.

Katie

Scott says March 21, 2012

If a tenant moves in to take over a 1/3 of the rent for the 7 months remaining on a 1-year lease, pays a deposit and rent for the 1st 3 of those months, then decides to leave without having signed the lease given to him, could he be considered having entered into an oral agreement, even if he never signed the lease?

roderic says March 22, 2012

Question: I have a tenant that moved in about a year ago. At that time she was not going to be storing any thing in the basement. Another tenant informed me that she had begun to store items in the basement. Also, when she moved in she was to be living alone. Now she has her son living in the residence as well.

Can I charge her extra rent for the addtional person and the use of the storage space?

I am a bit concerned that the stuff in storage might be left after she moves and I will have to pay to have it taken away. I want to either use the damage deposit for this purpose or charge a monthly supplement.

Landlord says March 24, 2012

My husband and I are renting out our home to a small family. They gave us verbal notice they are moving out, but have yet to give us written notice. I looked at the lease and though both my husband’s and my names are typed in the lease, only I signed the lease as landlord. My husband’s signature never got on it. We are listed as joint tenants on our house title. Can this make the lease void if only one of the owner’s signatures is on the lease and not the other? My husband never signed in agreement to the terms of the lease and he is one of the owners of the property.

Aaron Hall, Minnesota Lawyer says March 27, 2012

Landlord:

What matters on a lease is whether the parties, who you are trying to hold to the lease, signed it. If you have the lease signed by the tenants, and the tenants moved into the property, they cannot avoid liability under the lease because one of the landlords accidentally failed to sign the lease. The landlords obviously accepted the lease agreement by the fact that the tenants moved into the property.

Aaron

Me Too says March 28, 2012

Dear Aron:
I have a tenant that is withholding rent for no reason. She has not informed me of any repairs needed and I’m not aware of anything that needs to be repaired/replaced. Is withholding rent, when no repairs are needed, a misdemeanor offense?
Please feel free to email a response to me.
Thank you.

Aaron Hall, Minnesota Lawyer says March 28, 2012

Me Too:

Withholding rent is not a misdemeanor offense or a crime. It is a civil matter: breach of contract. I recommend you start the eviction process to limit your losses.

Aaron

Sher Peters says March 28, 2012

My son was occupying an apartment with a friend. They are both over 18. The lease is in his friends name. My son is not on the lease. His friend moved out of the apartment and my son stayed and planned to take over the lease on March 1st. I live in one of there buildings as well and when I saw the office manager in the beginning of the month he told me they decided to ask him to leave instead and would be giving him notice to be out by the end of that week (which would have been 2-3 day notice). Because of this he did not pay his rent and just waited for the notice which never came. Neither of us has heard any more on the matter from the office manager or landlord. They came up to his apartment today and tried to walk straigt in, then pounded on the door and when my son answered they told him that he was suppose to have moved out and the apt was suppose to be vacant. My son said he had never gotten any notice and they said I was suppose to give him notice. I am a real estate agent and have rented apartments for this company but am currently not involved in renting for these buildings. They did not ask me to give him notice, they just told me that they intended to do so. Now they are telling him that he has to be out tomorrow or they will start eviction. My question is Can they give a 1-2 day notice to vacate? And can they do that verbally with nothing in writing? In this situation where he is not on the lease but they have been aware that he has lived there (lease began sept 1, 2011) and I paid half the deposit on the apartment when they moved in, but March rent has not been paid….how many days notice do they legally have to give him to vacate and does it need to be in writing? Can they file an eviction without giving him proper notice to vacate? Thanks for any answers you can give!

Aaron Hall, Minnesota Lawyer says March 29, 2012

Sher:

I can’t advise you on this matter without spending some time analyzing additional details. For that, you are welcome to contact our firm to schedule a one-hour attorney meeting (at usual attorney rates). You may also contact http://www.homelinemn.org/, which is an organization that gives free legal advise to tenants (not landlords). I’m sorry I cannot be of more help.

Aaron

Sher Peters says March 29, 2012

I didn’t realize this site was just for landlords……figures. Thanks for the home line info.

Sher Peters says March 29, 2012

P.S…..the homeline also charges. Only the rich slumlords seem to get free help in this city.

Aaron Hall, Minnesota Lawyer says March 29, 2012

Sher:

Legal help isn’t free for the landlords; they must pay as well.

Aaron

J says April 1, 2012

Hi Aaron. Thank you for this website.

I am in a difficult situation with my renters. My wife is currently pregnant and we are in the midst of adopting two other children. We are needing to move back into our house since our move from out of state back to Minnesota requires an updated home study for our adoption in the residence where we will live when our children arrive home. Without completing this home study immediately, our adoption could be jeopardized. However, our renters have a lease through June 30th and are refusing to leave because it’s just not convenient for them.

We have offered to find them housing comparable in cost and size, assist them with moving, and even provide a cash incentive for them to move out. They have done quite a bit of damage to our carpets and walls (including drilling holes into both our interior walls and garage walls). We have pictures of the damage but did accept a rent check after seeing the pictures.

Do we have any rights here to get back into our house, or can we evict based on damage even if we accepted a rent check after seeing the damage? We have always been reasonable and generous landlords, but we’re running into some serious issues. Also, several months ago, they were nearly 30 days late on rent and refused to pay their late fee. We came to an “agreement” which was basically no agreement other than “if this happens again, you will be charged a late fee.”

Thank you in advance for your help.

Aaron Hall, Minnesota Lawyer says April 2, 2012

J:

The short answer to your question is there may be a way to terminate the lease and evict the tenants, but I would need to analyze your lease to figure out your options. Whatever language is in your lease, the legal question is whether the tenant’s breach is material, whether the lease’s language permits you to terminate for untimely payments, whether “time is of the essence,” or some other provision lets you terminate the lease. Our firm charges normal attorney hourly rates for this lease analysis, which includes a meeting or phone call with you to discuss your legal rights and options. Feel free to contact us to schedule this.

Aaron

Tepy says April 3, 2012

Hi,

I have a tenant that have been given me a headach with paying her rent. Monthly rent is $1405, and gave me $600 on 3/30/12 and promised to pay the rest on 4/2/12 which was yesterday. I drop a letter off last night with her tenage daught because she was at work saying that she need to pay the past balance of $1292.15 from March by 12:00 pm on 4/3/12, otherwise I will file eviction on 4/4/12. As of now I have not hear or received any thing from her yet. Will have a right to evict her? Can I do it my self? and how much will it cost? Will I be able to collect March and April rent from her if evict her?

Your adivise will be greatly apreciated.

Regards,

Tepy

Aaron Hall, Minnesota Lawyer says April 3, 2012

Tepy:

You can evict a tenant only if your written lease permits to you evict based on the payment problems. If you are not sure, you can hire an attorney to analyze your lease for you. You will usually pay for one hour of attorney time to analyze the lease and discuss it with the attorney.

You can file an eviction action with the court yourself. The court can tell you how much the filing fee is. Our firm currently charges a flat fee of $1,500 to do an eviction hearing in court.

An eviction hearing is separate from seeking damages (money) for rent owed. You need to sue someone separately for that, generally in Conciliation Court in the county where the property is located.

Aaron

Tepy says April 3, 2012

Aaron,

Thank you for your advise. In my lease addendum, if the full payment is not received by the 30th of the month, the eviction will be filed without any notification. Is this enought to evict her? As of now she owe $1292 for much and April is here, another $1405. In total, she owes $2697. I just don’t want her to get behind any further.

Tepy

Tepy says April 3, 2012

Aaron,

How much will you charge for one hour to look into my lease agreement?

Thanks,
Tepy

Wren says April 3, 2012

I have a couple who started to rent from me feb. 1 st…..no rental agreement was written…they never payed rent and now refuse to leave. What can I do? They refuse to let me in my basement. They called the cops and said I Broke in! HEIP

Aaron Hall, Minnesota Lawyer says April 3, 2012

Tepy:

We currently charge $250 to $290 to analyze a lease agreement and advise our clients on their legal rights and options during a one-hour meeting.

Aaron

Aaron Hall, Minnesota Lawyer says April 3, 2012

Wren:

It’s unclear whether these people are renters without knowing more about the situation. If they are renters, you need to do an unlawful detainer / eviction action in your local court. If they are not renters, law enforcement should be able to remove them for trespassing.

Aaron

kimberly says April 5, 2012

I have a rental house where I am letting my nephew live with a roommate this roommate has a girlfriend who is under 18 still in school tells me what I can and cannot do with the house cuz it isnt her style screams at me finally I said I didnt want her there anymore she makes my nephew stay in his room when she is there. she doesnt pay rent and is not on the lease and will never be on one with me..what are my rights this kid signed a 6 mo lease just started 3/1/12 already threatening to move..I am getting harassing phone calls from this girls friends…tired…live in minnesota please help me..

blaine says April 10, 2012

I am currently living in my own house in which I decided to get 2 friends and person I didn’t know to move in to help pay my mortgage. The guy that moved in that I didn’t know moved in on Jan 1 and paid rent through april but only paid utilities through february. There was no lease signed just verbal commitment to pay $425 for a bedroom plus split the utilities among the 4 of us. It came to the end of march and I asked him for his share of utilities and he said he is not going to pay me, because he said I told him rent would be for the whole basement, which isn’t what was said. I know its a he said she said thing, but he says he is taking me to court. what should I do legally just to get him out so I dont have to deal with him? he just came up and told me he is moving out the end of april! should I still issue him a 30 day notice. Just curious on your thoughts. thanks
Blaine

Frank says April 18, 2012

If the landlord serves notice to terminate a lease before end of lease (due to tenant breaking the rules of the lease) and notice only provides the tenant 17 days to vacate before being evicted; is the landlord entitled to the damage deposit and next months rent?

Aaron Hall, Minnesota Lawyer says April 19, 2012

Frank:

Whether the landlord is entitled to the damage deposit and next month’s rent is not affected by the landlord serving a notice to terminate the lease before end of lease. Whether the landlord can keep the damage deposit and next month’s rent is subject to (decided by) other terms in your lease.

Aaron

Aaron Hall, Minnesota Lawyer says April 20, 2012

Joe:

Yes, you can allow your real estate agent, as your agent, to enter the property on your behalf as permitted by the lease. To the extent the lease permits you to enter the property, your agent can enter the property.

Aaron Hall
Attorney in Minneapolis

joe says April 20, 2012

Aaron,

I have a unit currently rented that we are listing for sale. The current renter has 3 months left on their lease and we are intending to honor that committment. However, they are also refusing to accomidate the listing process. They wont allow photographs of the unit to be taken and are being extreemly difficult about scheduling showings. I know that I can enter the property after proper notice is given even if the tenant is not home at the time. Can I also allow my Real Estate agent acting as my agent to enter the property under the same circumstances?

-Joe

tanya defreitas says April 22, 2012

can the landord kick me out if there was a electrical fire in the pilet down stairs in a duplex house

Minnesota Landlord, Tenant, Rental Attorney says May 10, 2012

[…] on tenants’ rights and how to fight landlords, not landlord’s rights. Unfortunately, dealing with tenants isn’t always that easy. Attorney Aaron Hall is available to advise landlords regarding their […]

betty benson says June 26, 2012

Own a town home my son and daughter-in-law rent from me. They are getting a divorce and she won’t move out due my daughter-in-law feels that my grandaughter deserves to stay in the home. This is a very ugly situation and i just want to sell the place. It has become very stressed and I don’t like to be involved in their disputes. They have been late in rent, or not paid it several times. It has become a financial burden to me. What can I do?

Thompson Hall Santi Cerny & Dooley says June 26, 2012

Betty,

We would be happy to help you. As you know, your situation is complex and there are many issues and aspects to discuss. An attorney would be happy to analyze your situation’s circumstances and advise you of your legal rights and options. This can generally be accomplished during a one-hour meeting (which can be by phone). Our fee for a one-hour meeting is $290. Is this in line with your expectations?

Kim says July 8, 2012

Can my husband and I charge for our time for cleaning our apartment that the tennants left in horrible condition? If so, how much – we were thinking $25 per person per hour was reasonable for our time and cleaning materials. The condition was left uninhabitable – with tremendous mold growth in the bathroom in the shower and sticky visible messes in the kitchen. It was as if they hadn’t cleaned it for the entire four years. What is the best way to handle this – we have taken several pix to document the grossness and inability to return the apartment to the condition they rented it in. It’s a $600 deposit – we are at about $200 – $250 in cleaning. Thank you!

Aaron D. Hall says July 9, 2012

Kim:

In general, you cannot charge for your own time unless your lease specifically permits an hourly rate for the specific work you are billing.

Aaron

Amber says August 22, 2012

If my notice for terminating a lease on a month to month was late by a couple days, does my landlord have the right to hold my entire sercurity deposit?

Aaron D. Hall says August 22, 2012

Amber:

A landlord only has a right to keep a security deposit for amounts you lawfully owe. Whether you owe money would depend on your agreement/lease. If you have no written lease, then a landlord generally may withdraw from a security deposit the amount of rent owed.

Aaron

Janna says September 15, 2012

Hi, can my landlord refuse to grant me a month-to-month lease if I request one? I have been living in my duplex for just over two years. The lease expired two weeks ago and the landlord didn’t have me sign a new one because he was “being lazy,” and now he wants me to sign a 10-month lease but I want to go month-to-month. He refuses. Do I have the right to month-to-month or do I have to choose between signing his 10-month lease and moving out? Thanks!!

Ann says September 28, 2012

Aaron,
My tenant has not paid all of the final month’s rent. She still owes $885. I advised her of the MN statute 504B.178, Subdivision 8 – Withholding Rent in hopes that she would pay before she leaves but so far no luck. I plan to file a claim in concilation court for the past due rent and damages above and beyond the security deposit. Are legal fees such as your firm reviewing my documents allowable to collect in a small claims court case?
Also in regards to the final rent payment not be paid in full. In accordance with the Statute listed above how do I calculate the interest charges?

Final question.. do i include the penalties for not paying the last month’s rent on the letter when I send in regards to the security deposit return? or do I just list those on the small claims court case?

Aaron D. Hall says September 29, 2012

Ann:

Good questions. I have added a section to the blog post titled “Common Landlord Questions & Attorney Answers” to address your questions.

Aaron

LeAnn says November 2, 2012

Mr. Hall:

Our tenant whom moved in to our property in August now owes $500.00 for the balance of October rent and was supposed to have November rent yesterday. She has some health issues so we have been very patient and understanding however we feel we are truly getting the run around from her. We were told last month five different times it would be at the house for me to pick up, always some reason it wasn’t there (long story), now she was headed to the bank yesterday to have the entire amount owed of $1800.00 for me, now I cannot reach her. I have a very bad feeling about this situation and feel we are just getting the run around. We are on a month to month lease. She cannot continue to live there for free obviously as we are now having to pay that amount out of our pocket to cover the mortgage payment. I cannot pay for two homes plus try to keep my small business up and running!
I am getting very frustrated and really don’t want to make her move but I just don’t know what to do at this point.
Any suggestions?

Kurt Peters says November 28, 2012

I received a security deposit and the person then decided not to move in. Do I need to return the deposit. I held the apartment for this person and took it off the market, thus depriving me of a paying renter.

Maria Rosson says December 19, 2012

I am a MN homeowner that was upside down on my mortage and unable to sell. I rented my home for two years as I needed to assist my ailing parent in CA in order to save yet another home from foreclosure. I rented to a couple that was having a child and getting married. Instead, they broke up and without notice, she moved out and his brother and some friends moved in. They trashed my house. I moved back in on 11/17/2012 and began and very lengthy process of cleaning up. Of course, the clean-up revealed even more damage. My husband was involved in a terrible motorcycle accident, so our finances are limited, and the help he can offer me is limited. He told the tenants they could use a part of the security deposit as last months rent because they had been so late with the previous month, and we were struggling to pay the mortgage. My husband is a patient at HCMC Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic and should not have allowed this, but does not have “good” thinking anymore. The damage far exceeds what is left. It has been more than 21 days (35 at this time). I am still having estimates for repairs done and haven’t been able to come up with final numbers. I think I need help because I need them to pay for the damages and I most certainly don’t want to be penalized for not writing to them with final numbers within a stated amount of time when I don’t have them. I’m not a real landlord and hope I wasn’t too stupid to have rented instead of walking away. Please let me know if you feel you can help me with any advice. Thank you.

Julie Fjetland says January 18, 2013

If a tenant did not pay his december rent but left all his personal items at the property and does not return calls or respond to text messages, what are the laws/process for getting the rent and/or returning their property?

Thank you,
Julie

Diane Odash says January 24, 2013

I was looking for statue on items left for over 180 dsys

mike says February 1, 2013

With regards to statute 504b.145, is a 12 month lease with 2 month notice requirements and month by month automatic renewal clause (having the effect of extending the lease for an additional 2 months at the 12th month) enforceable, considering in the 11th month, 2 month notice would only extend the lease 1 month past its end term date?

Julia says March 4, 2013

What can a landlord do if renters refused to return keys untill the landlord signs rental tax papers.

Konnie Overy says March 5, 2013

Can I evict someone who brought in a roommate without notifying the landlord and not paying extra rent?

Steven P. Katkov says March 5, 2013

Kurt,

Minnesota law allows a residential landlord a modified form of offset, meaning the landlord can only withhold from a security deposit amounts necessary to collect unpaid rent, to pay for damages to the rental unit beyond ordinary wear and tear, or to retain other money owed to the landlord under a written agreement. See Minn. Stat. 504B.178, subd.3(b)(1). In your example, you would only be entitled to retain the security deposit if your written agreement with the potential tenant gives you that right.

Steven P. Katkov says March 5, 2013

Konnie,

Residential lease agreements in Minnesota, like most states, must be in a written document signed by the landlord and by the tenant. One of the public policy justifications for this requirement is to avoid misunderstandings between landlord and tenant. The answer to your question should be found in the lease agreement. If the lease agreement only contemplates a single tenant, you may have legal rights to evict the second tenant.

Steven P. Katkov says March 5, 2013

Julia,

The statute is designed to require at least 15 days advance notice to the tenant that, unless the tenant gives notice of its intention to vacate the premises, the lease will be automatically extended for two additional months. Does your lease agreement contain a provision requiring the tenant to give you notice of his or her intention to vacate? If so, then your notice regarding automatic renewal must be delivered to the tenant between 15 and 30 days before the tenant’s obligation to give you notice to vacate is triggered. The written lease agreement should control these notice mechanisms.

shelbi says March 22, 2013

my landlord wont give keys to my teenage kids who have different schools and schedules at their jobs. can they do this? ive had to miss work to let my kids in and out of the apartment.

Heidi says April 2, 2013

Hi – I received an email from my landlord today entitled “Formal Eviction Notice”. She can no longer afford to keep up the house I rent from her plus the one she is in, wishes to sell hers and move back in here. She says the 1000 pm I pay her isn’t enough to cover the expenses. There is no lease, I have never gotten a form at tax time or anything. She wants me out by May 1st, on which day she states she is having all utilities shut off. I pay rent weekly – raised from 660 pm to 1000 pm the beginning of the year (I didn’t know at the time I shouldn’t have just paid the increase right away). Is there anything I can do about this to give myself more time to find another place to live? I have 4 pets which makes finding a place, plus getting a sizeable deposit together, time consuming. Thanks.

Patricia says April 25, 2013

Can a landlord force you to leave if you live in an income restricted apartment? In other words I moved in 12 years ago meeting the income requirements. Now they want to remodel all the apartments through a special loan whereby I was told the income cap was reduced to $23,000. I was told when I moved in and on other occasions by the property manager that once I’m in it doesn’t matter what I earn that I can remain as it only comes into question upon moving in. I signed a 1 year lease effective Jan 2013 and was told we all making too much would have to move out sometime in October/November 2013 which would violate my lease. Also if I’m forced to leave can I move out early without penalty? Thanks for your response.

Kris says May 5, 2013

Hi,
A developer has made a purchase agreement with my landlord to develop her property. The city’s hearings and decisions will not be until mid or late June. He has informed me informally through an attorney, that if he is granted the permit, he will take ownership on June 28th and wants me out by July 9th. The landlord has likewise told me that unless I give her notice to vacate by May 15th, she will not let me out of my lease, should there be any delays to the developer’s permitting process. I have been a tenant in the building in good standing for 37 years, and am a cornerstone business of the commercial district. Moving my operation requires 4000 boxes, a complex inventory system to maintain, and 320+ fixtures. I don’t have sufficient funds to cover these expenses, much less two rents. Short of lawsuits, what are my rights and reasonable options? I can’t find anything on line.
Thanks!

Steven P. Katkov says May 6, 2013

Kris,

Your circumstances are relatively complex and the consequences of the redevelopment may have profound impact on your business. I encourage you to retain legal counsel to assist you in the matter.

David Breitbarth says May 8, 2013

I have a question , i have a rental property that was rented to a handicap women who without my permission put a handicap ramp on the front of my home , supplied by a special program through the state . however she decided to leave and skip out on rent and large bills , i decided to keep said ramp for colateral .. is this legal or do i have to return it ??

Steven P. Katkov says May 9, 2013

David,

You have raised a very important question; namely, what tenant improvements become property of the landlord? The issue is not easily resolved in this forum, but often the general rule applies here. A permanent improvement made by the tenant typically becomes property of the landlord unless the lease agreement states otherwise. The fact that the tenant made the improvement without your approval works in your favor. An argument can also be advanced that the tenant has abandoned the improvement. One word of caution is due: If the tenant used state funds for the purchase and construction of the ramp, the state may have a continuing interest in the ramp. I’d do additional investigation on this point while giving your tenant written notice of her abandonment of the lease obligations and a demand for unpaid rent and other charges.

Steve

corey says May 15, 2013

I had a home for rent. On May 8th I got a check for a damage deposit to secure home for $900. Along With the check for the first month rent. The renter moved in with the agreement that we were going to sign the lease. He ended up postponing the signing of the lease due to something coming up at work. Then I find out the checks bounce that very same afternoon as he moved in . Now I am stuck with no lease no damage deposit and no rent. Wondering what my rights are? Is he Trespassing. He is avoiding all of our phone calls and we would just like him out of the home asap.

Katie says May 21, 2013

Hi,
I’m still confused after researching the issue we have right now with our lease. Our lease ended about 3 years ago and we never signed another lease with our landlord. Our lease stated “Tenant must give Landlord prior written notice at least 60 days before the lease term ends. If the Tenant does not give the 60 days notice, the Landlord may continue the Lease on a month-to-month basis with 60 days written notice of intent to vacate.”.

We found a new rental we would like to move into in 40 days (July 1st). Is it legal for our landlord to require the 60 days notice, or only 30 days because it is a month to month lease now?

Thanks for your time. I’ve been looking everywhere online and have only found many conflicting answers.

Thanks,
Katie

Thompson Hall says May 21, 2013

Katie,

Our firm would be happy to review your lease and advise you on your issue. Please call us at (612) 466-0010 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Cindy says May 21, 2013

I was renting a townhome in Minnesota, I paid my rent for 2 years in advance + a security deposit of $1500.00. I was traveling the last 6 months of my lease and my daughter was keeping an eye on my house and sometimes her and her family would stay there. My landlord wanted to get into the townhouse to show it. I had arranged to have them get in and the house wasnt as clean as they liked it so they were trying to find all kinds of excuses to evict me. They claimed that my daugher was living there without being on the lease so they considered it a breach of my lease. I moved out March 3rd as per our agreement. I gave up my rent for March and April and now the landlord recently contacted me threatening me about owing them $11000.00 in damages. They have a list of things that they are charging me for. $500.00 for cleaning the carpet. $5300.00 for ripping up the carpet in the living and dinning room and replacing with hardwood floors. $90.00 to replace the locks. $1400.00 for a new hot water heater. +++++ other charges. I have been getting threatening emails and phone calls from them. They never told me withing the 21 days that I wasn’t getting the deposit back or a list of damages. They are just now months later telling me of all the damages according to them. I did take pictures and left the townhouse clean. I don’t want to pay to remodel there townhouse. The lease has been altered with things crossed out and not my initals to acknowledge
the changes. They are telling me that they are now taking me to court but it would be better for me to settle as that would be in my best interest. They are saying this is a a “Statment of Claim and Summons” where judgments can be made for wage garnishment, leins on property and my credit destroyed and they have 6 years to take me to court. Is this true? I have let them have the 2 months of rent of $3000.00 and when they were on vacation a window fell out of the townhosue and I spent over $3000.00 in replacing it. They are now saying that I altered there townhouse by replacing the window. I hired the company that the townhome assosiation recomended I had put in a Pella Window by a Pella installer. They were on vacation when the window fell out in the middle of winter. But my question is can I take them to court for the return of my deposit that I can prove? And is it true that they have 6 years to take me to court? I just want the emails to stop and the phone calls. But I am not going to let them bully me into paying for the remodel of there home. Please let me know what my options are.
Thank you!
Cindy

Dan says June 11, 2013

My wife and I moved out before our lease was up, but had finished paying the lease all the way through to fulfill its requirements. Landlord won’t give the deposit back until 21 days after the lease is up, rather then the 21 days after we moved out and handed our keys in. What technically is the 21 day rule? After the lease is over, or upon moving out and handing everything in? Thanks.

Steven P. Katkov says June 11, 2013

Dan,

Minnesota law grants the residential landlord up to 21 days by which to return the tenant’s security deposit, under Minn.Stat. 504B.178, subd. 3. This period only begins to run from the end of the lease term, provided you were not displaced due to condemnation of the building.

Steve

nancy edwards says June 20, 2013

Last fall, I made a verbal agreement with a man to rent my 2.5-car garage for only $600 a year. He paid half and nothing since. He greatly abused the privilege by packing so many belongings in the space that I can’t even access my few possessions in the garage. My son, I, and a friend who has things in there have left a dozen voice mails for the guy; he refuses to return or answer any calls. Three weeks ago, I mailed a certified, registered letter asking him to vacate the premises and he’s done nothing. What are my rights? I read that he should get a 28-day notice and that his stuff is then considered “abandoned property”, allowing me to dispose, sell, or otherwise do whatever I choose with his property. Does the 14-day notice he’s already received mean that a second notice only needs to be another 14 days? Or, do I have to issue a 28-day notice anyway in just one letter?? Can he sue me after 28 days if I dispose of his stuff?? I’m a senior citizen living alone and very low income and cannot afford a lawyer to deal with this much less risk being sued down the road.

Tammy says June 25, 2013

I rented my house in Scott County, MN for 2 years starting 11/1/2012. Given that the term was for 2 years, I offered a discount. The tenants have been late by 30-50 days every month since January and I’m contemplating an eviction. June’s rent has not been paid yet and we are on 6/25 already. I have a couple of questions:
1- Do I recoup my unpaid money until the end of the term (17 more months) given the breach, and if not do I get compensated for the discount I offered.
2- I’m afraid of a cat-mouse game where every time I bring an eviction, the tenant will chose pay and stay, which will be expensive from my side for legal fees, etc. Is there a limit on how many times you move with eviction?
Thanks

Miss White Bear says August 19, 2013

I and several other tenants have received infraction due to our children playing outside in the courtyard saying they are too loud and are disturbing other tenants,. Our children play outside from any where noon to 9pm, can we receive a infractions due to this?

JoLynn says October 5, 2013

I own a duplex in MN; live in one half. My tenants have family staying for one or more weeks at a time frequently during the year. This brings the occupancy of the rental up to 7 or 8 instead of the 2 adults and 2 children that are on the lease. They pay their own utilities and heat so it does not affect my billings. I do have it in their lease that they cannot use the premises for lodging or boarding. Do I need to address this with them?Also, property taxes, improvements in the rental, and insurance rate increases are here. Once their lease is up, I should be able to increase rent 10% if I wanted and it was reasonable for the amenities, square footage for my area in rentals? Thanks!

Leslie says October 16, 2013

Under their Garage Rental Agreement, do Residents have a right to keep their personal belongings outside of their storage lockers (on the floor inside the garage stall parameters?) For example, can a Resident who pays $50 a month to park their car inside an underground parking garage located at the Apartment complex in which they live, leave personal items outside of their car as long as the items are inside the garage stall or is this a hazard of some kind. Please provide me with proof of the law, if applicable.

John says October 25, 2013

Due to government shut down I informed the property mgmt I was going to be late paying rent for this month I enclosed a letter from Washington stating the facts gov workers were under furlough not getting paid . After 4 weeks I got paid I called property mgmt and emailed them I got paid tske the funds out I owe this month and for next month after checking my mail the same day I got an eviction notice to move out in 30 days. I notified my property mgmt she said to ignore that letter. Is that right to give me a eviction notice without informing me And not giving me a warning in writing. I was a few weeks late paying my rent and communicating eith them

My lease started o1 April 2012 and they agreed I can have my Pomeranian to move in with me. After they met the dog see that dog was safe for the residents they approved it. The first month I moved in I got one complaint that he was barking I corrected it. I did not receive any more complaints When It came time to renew policy they said I can renew policy but the dog can’t stay due to the many complaints from regarding your dog. I had find new owner for my 13 year old relationship I had with him cuz I could not afford to move out st the time. Of my new lease agreement.

Is this legal they are doing to me. I feel harassed

Jen H says November 8, 2013

I am renting and on lease my fiancee lives here to but want added to lease because landlord didn’t want to. He was given a background check and has verbal permission to live in the home. Now landlord wants to get him for trespassing cause they don’t like him. 08d0 they do that legally??

Nate says November 8, 2013

Hello,

I have not received rent from Oct or Nov. Yesterday I received an email from my renters saying they’ve run into money issues and to save me the trouble of evicting them, they up and left. Is this grounds for abandonment? I went to the property and it is a mess. I don’t think they’ve cleaned it in 3 years. Can I send them to collection for cleaning/repair fees along with all missed rent up to the time I fill it with new renters? Can I toss items they left behind?

Thanks.

Robert says December 10, 2013

I am the owner of a house and rent out some it, after the 1 year lease it turned into month to month, so I understand that the renters have to give a 30 day notice, but when is that notice to be given? should the Notice be given on or before the 1st when the rent is due or can it be anytime of the month?

My renters gave their notice to move out verbally 4 December 2013, then gave me written notice 9 December 2013, I thought since they missed giving notice 1 December they actually are obligated to pay rent until 30 January 2014 which would be 30 days from 1 January 2014?

I plan on letting them move out with all rights within 30 days on 4 January 2014 of the Verbal Notice just to keep good relations, they were good renters

any advice will be appreciated,

Ashley says December 14, 2013

My Boyfriend lives with me and we have a daughter. I work and pay for all the bills. I own the house and I have asked him several times to pay me rent to contribute to the household expenses. And he won’t pay me! I have given him a notice saying he has 30 days to either pay me rent or move out and he still hasn’t paid me. Yesterday was pay day and he came home from shopping when I asked about money he said he spent his pay check and doesn’t have anything left! He stayed up all night playing video games and when I got up the kitchen was trashed. I’m so sick of this, I want him out of my house. I am concerned for our daughter because he is angry and wants to make our lives miserable. I want him gone. It December and I am concerned that I can’t kick him out legally because its winter time.

Carey M says December 20, 2013

I have a tenant that give me a notice thaat they were moving out of my house on December 20, 2013. I received the notice on December 7, 2013. The lease is month to month and requires a 30 day notice. Do I have to return the security deposit to the tenant?

I’m new to the landlord thing. Please help!

Rick Cobb says January 1, 2014

were are the laws protecting the landlord from damage due to filing eviction. In short house wrecking party.

kaseeyang says January 3, 2014

Hi i am a renter been living here for 4 years .
my question is the apartment building went threw 2 owner as of Jan 3 2014.. today I’ve call the landlord to come pick up the rent money for January 2014. And she came she handed me a paper saying that they sold the property and now there a new landlord starting Feb 2014 we will be paying to rent to the new land lord … My point is how come there’s was know one came threw this building to look or haven’t seen any inspection came threw to inspect the property for new owner I didn’t even get a call at all NOTHING.. My problem is I gave her JANUARY rent already!
and I haven’t even seen the new owners..what should I do or please help how can I start this, I don’t have any money save. I can’t afford to move either..I don’t want this problem continues and not knowing anything or any changes what else they say I have two move out.. please help I have 2 little one too.. Thank you

MC says January 19, 2014

I am a landlord who has been having problems with a tenant. He has written a bad check to me and has been late with his rent every month. Now he wants to get out of his lease (even though he has told me that he loves the place several times) and he has not paid for January rent , although he keeps promising me that he will drop it off. There have been complaints about him from neighbors so I am thinking that it might be best to try to find a new tenant and just let him leave. I find someone to move in on February 1, how much should I expect the current tenant to pay? If he hasn’t paid the January rent by then is my only recourse to keep his security deposit?

Sherri says February 7, 2014

I allowed my step brother to live in my basement. We had a verbal agreement that he would move out as soon as it was not working out for him to stay. I gave him a notice at the end of December to move out at the end of January. Now he won’t leave and is insisting I have to take him to court to evict him. We never had a lease and he has not paid rent, how can I get him out? Please help!!!

gail says February 24, 2014

Hello, We rented a house from a Vendee in Oct. 2013 we signed a 12 mo lease. In Dec. 2013, The Vendor called us and stated that the Vendee had not made his payments since Oct. 2013. The Vendor wants $800.00/month or he was going to evict us. Our lease states $700.00. Can he do this without giving us notice? And does the Vendor have to follow are lease? The Vendor refuses to cancel the Contract for Deed under MN statue 559.21. We have also had to move our daughter upstairs because we found out that there was no heat system for the basement, and there are broken windows that the Vendee agreed to fix. What are my options?

Jeanie says April 22, 2014

I own and live in one half of a duplex. My current tenants have rented from me for 2 years and are currently interested in signing another one-year lease. I am concerned about excessive noise and being disturbed quite regularly from their kids and friend visitors playing basketball and bouncing balls off walls, windows, etc. and at late times of the night. My second question is are their Mn guidelines for family members staying with tenants? Is there a limit to days staying without paying rent? Bringing Pets?

Bobbie says July 2, 2014

I am new to renting out my home in Dakota County. I have had a couple people tell me that by law, married couples only have to pay one application fee. I want to charge $30 per adult for background, credit, rental history, etc. Is this true for married couples? Thank you

James Lin says July 17, 2014

Hi, we had rent a apartment for couple year in Minnesota, and now we need to move out. But now the apartment landlord notice us that we need to pay for the carpet replacement. So I here wondering after how many years residence the apartment landlord can charge tenant for this replacement payment fee in Minnesota? and I will also need the law reference, thank you so much.

Jon says August 30, 2014

Is interest owed on both the security deposit as well as prepaid last month’s rent?

Pam says September 13, 2014

I had a tenant that rented for 6 months. When they left, portions of the carpeting were urine soaked and stained, dried of course. They left their couch and love seat, the drive way has MANY oil drips as well as a small hole in the wall.
My question is-
Do I need to supply them with receipts of having these replaced/repaired or just the estimates I have received.

I have told them that we didn’t plan on charging them more than their deposit just because we know they could never pay.
She is insistent on only paying for the stained areas of the carpeting and does not believe the drive way should even be an issue as well as leaving the couches.

Any advice would be great!!

Eric says December 24, 2014

I had a tenant leave without paying for a month’s rent and the utilities. There was not a written lease agreement between us. What are my rights in order to recoup the lost rent?

Michelle says February 14, 2015

We did a rent to own the first time we met her is when we signed the agreement. She is the only one on the lease. Now she emailed us stating her husband moved in with her and that was all she needed to due was tell us that. She did not ask nor she said she does not want him on the lease in case things do not work out because they had been separated. Do we not have rights in this? Does she not have to ask and does he not have to be on the lease? She already has pulled other things that we requested her to resolve and has not but she knows we are in a different state and she says she is a paralegal and basically is telling us we have no rights and that she is within her rights.

laurel says February 21, 2015

Can a landlord deduct “rent” from a damage deposit, if the tenant didn’t vacate the property on the date stated, but rather left his things in the unit for an additional ten days without paying? This prevented us from getting into the property to clean and make repairs.

Nancy says March 17, 2015

What does a landlord do when tenants continue to smoke in a building that was made nonsmoking several years ago? Tenant has been notified, signs posted. Other tenants are complaining, have witnessed person smoking, but landlord hasn’t personally witnessed the smoking, although obviously can smell it.

John says March 19, 2015

What can I do if I’m on a month to month and gave my notice im moving out but my roommate isn’t sure what they are doing? Basically they have my 30 day notice and I have a form for my roommate to sign saying he’s taking the lease over and he’s refusing to sign the paper. My landlord is telling me that if he don’t sign it I will still be responsible for rent if he don’t sign it. How is this possible if I’m telling them I want out and we are just on a month to month agreement with them.

nanette says March 23, 2015

3 college girls in Bemidji, 1year lease,one roommate leaves lease gets out of lease by having her mother send an email. Don’t know what was in that e mail but now we are stuck and can’t afford to finish lease we only have April and may to pay the lease is up. The roommate was 21yrs old can her mom really just send an email to break the lease, without any other notice to the staying roommates and in fact no notice to all beforehand that we are aware of?

Chcuk Cameron says April 1, 2015

Lyle Knochenmus
Lives in my mother-in-laws Condominium at 4400 36th Ave N Apt 235
Robbinsdale Mn. 55422.

He moved in and agreed to pay a fee to live there based on the idea he would buy the Condo. He signed a contract.
The Condo is owned by my mother-in-law who is 90 years old and lives in a home with Alzheimer’s disease. He has been late with a few payments over the last few years and now he has decided to live in the Condo for the last month and April without paying any fees. He therefore has decided that it is OK to steal apx. $2,000 from this elderly woman because:
1} He’s feels I’m dumb.
2} He is aware a lawyer will not deal with him because
$2,000 is just too small of a total to chase after him.
3} He has faith that his job is so secure with Whole Foods that he can get away with this “small crime.”
He’s stealing $2,000 From an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s disease.
If he decides to pay up he may also decide to trash the place knowing there is nothing I can do about it.
1} Because maybe I’m a fool.
And 2} because a lawyer would never chase after him for robbing an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s disease, and trash her apartment.
Lee Square Cooperative and their OAK TREE REALTY Company, the other 2 mentioned in the contract also think stealing from Carolyn $2,000 is a crime not worth pursuing.

If you can help me, or the elderly woman; Carolyn Parrish at Prairie Lodge 6001 Earle Brown Drive and stop this small crime I will very much appreciate it.
My daughter Rachel Cameron is getting married at the end of April and this crook is desperately hiding under her skirts because everybody will be paying attention to her and not his theft.

Your friend in Need
Chuck Cameron.

Travis says May 4, 2015

We applied for a town home to live in. They requested $70 for a background check for each of us + $400 security deposit. We sent it off along with the information they asked us to fill out. Called us back 4 days later and stated background check and credit check came back all good.

But, then they requested more information, bank statements, tax information, 401k info, asset info, etc. We filled out those forms and sent to them and we still haven’t heard anything. We sent the security deposit 2 weeks ago so they could do the background check and hold the town home, and we still do not know if we are approved for the town home yet, even though they called and told us that the credit and background check came back good.

I questioned sending a security deposit before being approved, but they said we had to it to hold the town home for us. I just don’t understand why it has to take two weeks to get this all completed?

Tony says August 20, 2015

Question:
I am a (land lord) the renters have moved out. The gas bill and trash bills have been paid. However, the city water bill has not.

When I go to the city (Mound, MN) to change back the utility bill into my name (me; the owner) Until new renters can be found. The City of Mound informs me that there is a 990.71 charge on the bill and the name it is under is not and was not my now gone renters. Never was there name.

I find out that the renters tried to pay the bill and it even shows in the city’s computer they tried. The utility bill was not in there name.
Renters “why should I pay for someone elses bill. I have been paying all this time and they tell (the renter) I owe for someone elses bill”

I go into the City of Mound and find out that the renter is correct. It is not his name and or mine and still here is a 990.71 bill.

Noah (City of Mound official) tells me that the bill goes with the house and that the city of Mound is owed 990.71 and that the bill is now (the home owners responsibility a.k.a. my responsibility)

telling me that they will look into it (Noah, City of Mound) and the third pary company that over-sees the billing who never tells me who they are but they will be in contact with me.
The City of Mound takes my money, of course, and I never hear back.

What are my rights?

If I were the previous renters, I would have not paid the bill either.
The renters still insist that the bill was paid and that they took the phone number to cancel the utility bill right off the bill to pay the final amount.
It even shows in the City of Mound (third party companies) computer that they attempted to pay it.
_________________________________________
I also had to pay the previous owners utility bill when I bought the house over 13 years ago.

Tamalynn says September 17, 2015

Where do I go from here?
My daughter was living in a house I owed. No rent paid. She moved her boyfriend in. Since then she has moved to her brother’s house
Her now Ex-boyfriend now refused to leave. Electric in my name, water in my house. Loan on propoerty in my name.
Hard to evict, he is workimg out of stat. His stuff still I’m house
House empty 3 weeks how

Ardith Grosse says November 6, 2015

My renter decided not to pay rent in Nov,instead to use the damage deposit for the rent. Rent is $650.00 a month, and deposit was $500.00. She claims she can’t afford to pay the whole amount because she only makes $13.00 an hr, and had to get a rental unit.
The Condo has never been clean when I was in there to fix the holes under the sinks per the fire department
She has threaten me with lawsuit because I want full rent>
Sincerely AG

Donna says December 11, 2015

Ok so my daughter lives in my other house and pays the bills. She felt sorry for a family of two adults and three kids and let them stay with her short time to get a place and job. I was not asked and found out. My daughter has been telling them they need to leave. Now they are saying give us thirty day notice. They have not paid a penny to stay there because they are lazy adults sponging off people and trying to get state money too. Soky question is , do a have to give them notice ? Mow i also found out they ripped a screen window to get in house to put a chager on thier car knowing there was a plug outside. Also gas and gas cans have gone missing. Help.

Debra Smith says December 25, 2015

I have a month to month lease with 30 notice to move out required. This is an owner occupied home with the tenant renting a bedroom on 2nd floor next to my room. The tenant works from “home” until 3pm at which time he begins to drink large quantities of vodka. He is an alcoholic, being drunk every day. This drinking is done in the dining room. He has now become verbally abusive several times to both myself and my other renter. I am concerned it will turn physical. I went online and found a Notice to Quit form, giving him 9 days (from date of last outburst) to move out. I had a neighbor serve him with it. The neighbor had a form notarized saying he served it. Am I within my rights to kick him out in this way? That day is tomorrow and he must be out by noon. What are my options if he doesn’t move out? I have become. A sick nervous wreck over this. Thank you for your advise. This is a very upsetting situation.

Dusty says January 16, 2016

In Minnesota what are the guidelines for a tenant that is signed on a lease versus someone who is not on the lease. Do they have the same rights or do the rights go to the tenant on the lease?

Josh wettschreck says March 27, 2016

I am renting out a property that has been foreclosed and our lease is up at the end of the redemption. And there are three people offering me money to leave I don’t know what to do

Ramona Romero says May 2, 2016

So we meet up with the landlord signed a lease and paid full deposit said we will be moving in a week or so after the 1st (which would be a month and week wait for us to move in) he calls me 3 days before the first of the month and tells me that he can’t rent to us because he has a bad feeling? Is that legal

Jim wilson says July 3, 2016

Tenant did not pay last months rent, using security deposit. Left stuff mostly junk in garage. How long before i remove it? I have not heard from tenant and no forwarding address

Terie says September 23, 2016

If a tenant was suppose to pay $300 damage deposite, did not pay it(written lease)
They keep breaking things and plus now not paying rent on time; can I Evict them?
Please help me. Things constantly keep getting busted & im paying for it! Do have 60 day to give them notice. Im so fed up & tired of it. Thank you. Terie

Kevin says October 10, 2016

A neighbor across from my property continually calls police out claiming loud music, suspicious people. She is opposed to their political views.

Long story short, I was served with a Notice of nuisance. And have to gave a PLAN to fix the issue in 30 days.

If I evict them that would make Hennepin county and that neighbor happy but feels wrong. Like I’m allowing a bully to get their way.

Never had to address this before. Any ideas?????

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