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. It 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 are available in the "Resources" section. 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.

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

Table of Contents

The following is a table of contents for the Landlords and Tenants Handbook. You may click on the headers for more information on that topic.

Entering into the Agreement

  • Inspecting the Unit Before Signing a Lease
  • Required Management Background Check
  • Screening Fees and Pre-Lease Fees
  • Security Deposits
    • Amount of the Deposit
  • Residential Tenant Reports
  • The Lease
    • Periodic Leases
    • Definite Term Leases
    • Length Restrictions for Some Leases
    • Sale of the Building
  • Disclosure to the Tenant
  • Utilities
    • Single-Metered Residential Buildings
  • Maintenance
  • Unlawful Destruction of Property
  • Alterations

During the Tenancy

  • The Rent
    • Payments
    • Late Fees
    • Raising the Rent
  • Tenant’s Right to Privacy
  • Tenants May Seek Police and Emergency Assistance
  • Repair Problems
    • Calling in an Inspector
    • Rent Escrow Action
    • Tenant Remedies Action
    • Rent Abatement (Return of Money)
    • Withholding Rent
    • Defense
  • Neighborhood Organizations
  • Uninhabitable or Condemned Buildings

Ending the Tenancy

  • Proper Notice
    • For Periodic Leases
    • For Definite Term Leases
    • Holdover Tenants
    • Section 8 and Public Housing Programs
  • Right of Victims of Violence to Terminate Lease
  • Three-Day Notice During Winter
  • Refund of the Security Deposit
    • Interest
    • Taking the Matter to Court

Other Important Laws

  • Housing Courts
  • 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
  • Retaliation
  • Unlawful Exclusions and Property Confiscation
  • Utility Shut-Offs
    • Loss of Essential Services
  • Cold Weather Rule
    • Disconnection Notice
    • Payment Plans
    • Your Right to Appeal
    • Additional Resources
  • Tenant’s Right to a Tax Credit (CRP)
  • Discrimination
  • Accessible Units
  • Landlord Disclosure
  • Subleasing
  • Abandoned Property
  • Expanded Definition of “Tenant”
  • Smoking in Common Areas
  • Manufactured Home Park Residents


  • References
  • Resource Directory

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