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How do I get my landlord to give me my "certificate of rent paid" form?

Authored By: Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota-Duluth LSC Funded

A legal question and answer column for seniors.

DEAR SENIORS LEGAL LINE:

I sold my house and moved into an apartment several years ago. I like my apartment and the rent is reasonable. However, I now realize that I should have been receiving a certificate for rent paid form (CRP) each year. I contacted my landlord about this and asked him to produce such forms for me but I am still concerned that he will not follow through. I don't know exactly how much I would get from the refund but I certainly feel I deserve this form. What can I do?

Signed, Lucy

DEAR LUCY:

Minnesota gives renters a property tax refund even though renters pay rent, not property taxes. It is called the "renter's refund." The amount of the refund will depend upon your household income and the amount of rent paid. According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, 19% of the rent you paid during the year is deemed the portion of property tax paid. The maximum renter's refund that you can currently receive is $1,400.

For seniors, the current maximum household income that you may have and be eligible for a renter's refund is up to $72,260 with five or more dependents. Furthermore, a renter must rent from an entity that pays property tax to claim a refund. To claim your renter's refund, you must file the CRP with the Minnesota Department of Revenue along with form M1RP. The CRP will list the amount of rent you paid and the amount of property taxes your apartment covered.

The landlord should supply the CRP no later than February 1st of the year following the year in which rent was paid, according to Minnesota Statutes §290A.19. If the landlord fails to provide the required CRP by February 15th, or if there is a disagreement on the amount of rent paid, the Minnesota Department of Revenue encourages you to contact their tax help line so that you can get a "Rent Paid Affidavit" (RPA) from them. If you file the RPA to claim a renter's refund, you will have to provide receipts of the rent you paid to verify your claim. This is one of many reasons why it is important to obtain receipts when paying rent.

Renter's refund returns must be filed with the Minnesota Department of Revenue by August 15th in the year following the rent paid. Returns can be filed up to a year after the due date. For example, the return deadline for rent paid in 2007 is August 15, 2009. After the deadline, you cannot claim the refund. Thus, you still have time to claim the 2006 refund (do so by August 15, 2008) and the 2007 refund (do so by August 15, 2009). Unfortunately, you cannot claim a refund for previous years as you missed those deadlines.

Further questions can be directed to the Minnesota Department of Revenue at 615-296-3781 or 1-800-652-9094. You may want to advise your landlord that it is the landlord's responsibility to provide the CRP on or before February 1st the year following the year in which rent was paid. It can be the duty of either the owner or managing agent of the property, as specified in Minnesota Statute 290A.19. Hopefully, your landlord will comply with the law. If your landlord does not comply with the state law in the future, you may use the Rent Paid Affidavit procedure for filing. I hope this information is helpful.

This column is written by the Senior Citizens' Law Project. It is not meant to give complete answers to individual questions. If you are 60 years of age or older and live within the Minnesota Arrowhead Region, you may contact us with questions for legal help by writing to: Senior Citizens' Law Project, Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota, 302 Ordean Bldg., Duluth, MN 55802. Please include a phone number and return address. To view previous articles, go to:www.lasnem.org. Reprints by permission only.