State of Minnesota
More about
Attorney General
Lori Swanson


Minnesota Attorney General's Office

1400 Bremer Tower
445 Minnesota Street
St. Paul, MN 55101

(651) 296-3353
(800) 657-3787

M - F 8 am - 5 pm

TTY:(651) 297-7206
TTY:(800) 366-4812

Landlords and Tenants

Rights and Responsibilities

The rights and duties of landlords and tenants in Minnesota are spelled out in federal law, state statutes, local ordinances, safety and housing codes, common law, contract law, and a number of court decisions. These responsibilities can vary from place to place around the state.

Certain rights and duties apply to landlords and tenants everywhere in Minnesota. This handbook attempts to explain those rights. This booklet should not be considered legal advice to use in resolving specific landlord-tenant problems or questions. It is a summary of the laws that govern the landlord-tenant relationship. References to statutes and case law examples appear at the back of the brochure. When references are provided, they are signaled or noted by a number at the end of the sentence. If a cite does not appear, the information is likely derived from common law or case law.

Tenants in federal housing and other forms of subsidized housing have additional rights under federal law not covered in this handbook. Those tenants should check their leases for information.

Minn. Statute § 504B.181, subd. 2(b) requires landlords to notify residential tenants that this handbook is available to them.

Table of Contents:

Entering into the Agreement

  1. INSPECTING THE UNIT BEFORE SIGNING A LEASE
  2. REQUIRED MANAGEMENT BACKGROUND CHECK
  3. SCREENING FEES AND PRE-LEASE FEES
  4. SECURITY DEPOSITS
    Amount of the Deposit
  5. TENANT REPORTS
  6. THE LEASE
    Periodic Leases
    Definite Term Leases
    Length Restrictions for Some Leases
    Sale of the Building
  7. DISCLOSURE TO THE TENANT
  8. UTILITIES
    Single-Metered Residential Buildings
  9. MAINTENANCE
  10. UNLAWFUL DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY
  11. ALTERATIONS
  12. During the Tenancy

  13. THE RENT
    Payments
    Late Fees
    Raising the Rent
  14. TENANT’S RIGHT TO PRIVACY
  15. TENANTS MAY SEEK POLICE AND EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE
  16. REPAIR PROBLEMS
    Calling in an Inspector
    Rent Escrow
    Using the Tenants Remedies Act
    Rent Abatement (return of money)
    Withholding Rent
    Defense
  17. NEIGHBORHOOD ORGANIZATIONS
  18. UNINHABITABLE OR CONDEMNED BUILDINGS
  19. Ending the Tenancy

  20. PROPER NOTICE
    For Periodic Tenancies
    For Definite Term Tenancies
    Holdover Tenants
    Section 8 and Public Housing Programs
  21. RIGHT OF VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE TO TERMINATE LEASE
  22. THREE-DAY NOTICE DURING WINTER
  23. REFUND OF THE SECURITY DEPOSIT
    Interest
    Taking the Matter to Court
  24. Other Important Laws

  25. HOUSING COURTS
  26. EVICTION
    Eviction Actions (Unlawful Detainer)
    Eviction Procedures
    Storage of Personal Property
    To Get the Property Back
    Eviction for Illegal Activities
    Seizure of Property
    Foreclosure/Contract-for-Deed New Owner Evictions
  27. RETALIATION
  28. UNLAWFUL EXCLUSIONS AND PROPERTY CONFISCATION
  29. UTILITY SHUT-OFFS
    Loss of Essential Services
  30. COLD WEATHER RULE
    Disconnection Notice
    Payment Plans
    Your Right to Appeal
    Additional Resources
  31. TENANT’S RIGHT TO A TAX CREDIT (“CRP”)
  32. DISCRIMINATION
  33. HANDICAPPED-ACCESSIBLE UNIT
  34. LANDLORD DISCLOSURE
  35. SUBLEASING
  36. ABANDONED PROPERTY
  37. EXPANDED DEFINITION OF “TENANT”
  38. SMOKING IN COMMON AREAS
  39. MANUFACTURED HOME PARK RESIDENTS
  40. References and Resources

  41. REFERENCES
  42. RESOURCE DIRECTORY
  43. ADDITIONAL CONSUMER INFORMATION
    Consumer Questions or complaints