Minnesota landlords have rights against renters (a.k.a. tenants) who violate their lease, don’t pay rent, damage the property, or otherwise break Minnesota landlord-tenant law.

This article covers a number of Minnesota landlord rights issues:

A free service is available for Minnesota tenants with questions about their right against landlords. But Minnesota landlords often have questions about their rights. This article discusses Minnesota landlord’s rights when dealing with problem renters.

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

Unfurnished Apartment for Rent by turkeychik

Creative Commons Generic License Attribution Unfurnished Apartment for Rent by turkeychik

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

Question: Can I recover attorney’s fees from my tenant?

Answer: 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).

Question: How do I calculate interest?

Answer: 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.

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

Answer: 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 penaltiies, 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

The attorneys of Thompson Hall Santi Cerny & Dooley are experienced in representing landlords and tenants in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the Twin Cities suburbs. They have drafted Minnesota lease agreements, negotiated landlord-tenant disputes, and represented clients in lawsuits involving residential and commercial leases. The attorneys of Thompson Hall Santi Cerny & Dooley are 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 our office. Our usual hourly rate apply to these client meetings.

Leave a Public Comment

  • gail
    February 24, 2014, 2:14 am

    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?

  • Sherri
    February 7, 2014, 4:40 am

    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!!!

  • MC
    January 19, 2014, 10:52 pm

    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?

  • kaseeyang
    January 3, 2014, 11:48 pm

    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

  • Rick Cobb
    January 1, 2014, 5:14 am

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

  • Carey M
    December 20, 2013, 1:54 pm

    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!

  • Ashley
    December 14, 2013, 7:42 pm

    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.

  • Robert
    December 10, 2013, 5:58 am

    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,

  • Nate
    November 8, 2013, 5:20 pm


    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?


  • Jen H
    November 8, 2013, 4:41 pm

    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??

  • John
    October 25, 2013, 4:40 pm

    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

  • Leslie
    October 16, 2013, 9:25 pm

    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.

  • JoLynn
    October 5, 2013, 11:27 pm

    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!

  • Miss White Bear
    August 19, 2013, 7:14 pm

    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?

  • Tammy
    June 25, 2013, 4:48 pm

    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?

  • nancy edwards
    June 20, 2013, 4:01 am

    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.

  • Steven P. Katkov
    June 11, 2013, 5:13 pm


    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.


  • Dan
    June 11, 2013, 4:18 pm

    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.

  • Cindy
    May 21, 2013, 7:40 pm

    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!

  • Thompson Hall
    May 21, 2013, 2:17 pm


    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.

  • Katie
    May 21, 2013, 11:32 am

    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.


  • corey
    May 15, 2013, 5:15 pm

    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.

  • Steven P. Katkov
    May 9, 2013, 4:02 pm


    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.


  • David Breitbarth
    May 8, 2013, 9:42 pm

    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
    May 6, 2013, 5:12 pm


    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.

  • Kris
    May 5, 2013, 2:05 pm

    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.

  • Patricia
    April 25, 2013, 3:40 am

    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.

  • Heidi
    April 2, 2013, 5:58 am

    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.

  • shelbi
    March 22, 2013, 8:03 pm

    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.

  • Steven P. Katkov
    March 5, 2013, 7:29 pm


    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.

  • Steven P. Katkov
    March 5, 2013, 7:20 pm


    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
    March 5, 2013, 7:12 pm


    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.

  • Konnie Overy
    March 5, 2013, 5:44 am

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

  • Julia
    March 4, 2013, 12:32 pm

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

  • mike
    February 1, 2013, 5:20 pm

    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?

  • Diane Odash
    January 24, 2013, 4:29 pm

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

  • Julie Fjetland
    January 18, 2013, 11:27 pm

    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,

  • Maria Rosson
    December 19, 2012, 10:43 pm

    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.

  • Kurt Peters
    November 28, 2012, 4:23 pm

    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.

  • LeAnn
    November 2, 2012, 4:05 pm

    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?

  • Aaron D. Hall
    September 29, 2012, 1:29 pm


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


  • Ann
    September 28, 2012, 4:26 am

    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?

  • Janna
    September 15, 2012, 9:22 pm

    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!!

  • Aaron D. Hall
    August 22, 2012, 12:10 am


    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.


  • Amber
    August 22, 2012, 12:02 am

    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
    July 9, 2012, 11:12 pm


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


  • Kim
    July 8, 2012, 8:53 pm

    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!

  • Thompson Hall Santi Cerny & Dooley
    June 26, 2012, 1:37 pm


    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?

  • betty benson
    June 26, 2012, 3:39 am

    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?

  • tanya defreitas
    April 22, 2012, 8:02 pm

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