Questions About Renting
Authored By: Minneapolis - Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
Questions About Renting
What if my landlord won't make repairs? +
File a rent escrow case in court. There are 2 ways to start this.
- Call your local inspection office and ask them to inspect your home. They will order the landlord to make the repairs. If the repairs are not done by the deadline they give in the report, you can file a rent escrow case. OR
- Send a letter to the landlord listing all the problems. Put a date on it and keep a copy. If repairs are not made in 14 days, you can file a rent escrow case.
In a rent escrow case you pay your rent into court instead of to the landlord. This method is safer and better than simply holding on to your rent.
See our fact sheet H-11 Getting a Landlord to Make Repairs.
Can I make repairs myself and take it off the rent? +
No – unless you have a court order that allows you to repair and “deduct.” It is better to file a rent escrow case. If you need emergency repairs, like you have no heat or running water, call your landlord immediately. If the landlord does not fix it you can file an Emergency Tenant Remedies Action (ETRA). See our fact sheet H-12 Emergency Repair Problems.
Can I use my security deposit for the last month's rent? +
No. You must pay the last month’s rent. If you do not, the landlord can evict you and also sue you in Conciliation Court.
Can my landlord enter my home? +
Yes, but only for a "reasonable business purpose" or an emergency. The landlord usually needs to give you notice for a business reason, but not for an emergency.
It is not legal for a lease to say anything about giving up your right to notice from the landlord if he wants to enter your home. If your lease says anything about that, it is not enforceable.
For more information, see our fact sheet H-19 Can My Landlord Enter My Home?
Can I be evicted in the winter? +
Yes. You can be evicted at any time of year.
If I lose my eviction action case, how long until I have to move out? +
Unless you and your landlord agree to a longer time, the court can’t give you more than 7 days to move. If you don’t leave the landlord can ask the sheriff to help evict you. The sheriff will deliver a "writ of recovery" to your home and you will have only 24 hours to move out.
The writ is given to you AFTER you lose the court case. This paper is very different from the summons and eviction complaint you got for the eviction case. The sheriff does not have to give the writ to you in person. They can just leave it in a place where you will see it, usually on the front door of your home.
Can I be evicted for something a visitor did? +
Yes. In general, you are responsible for things your children and your guests do.
Can a friend or relative move in with me? +
If you have a written lease no-one can move in without your landlord’s permission. If you don’t have a written lease, you might not need permission, but it’s smart to get it. If you don’t, your landlord may give you a notice to move out.
I don't have a lease. Can my landlord give me a notice to move? +
Yes. The landlord can give you a written notice asking you to leave at the end of the next month. For example, the landlord can give you a notice in June that he wants you out by July 31. The landlord does not need to give you a reason. The landlord can’t discriminate against you, or retaliate (get back at) against you for complaining about repairs.
What if my landlord is in foreclosure? Do I have to move out before the sheriff's sale? +
No. Generally, if your landlord is in foreclosure both you and the landlord need to keep following all the terms of the lease until the end of the redemption period. This is usually 6 months after the sheriff's sale. The foreclosing bank must give you written notice before you have to move out after the end of the redemption period. You may have other rights as a tenant in foreclosure, see our fact sheet H-14 When Your Landlord Loses the Building.