With a fixed term lease, your rent will usually stay the same for the whole lease period. A written lease might say how and when rent increases happen, if at all. If there is nothing in the lease about rent increases, make it clear in writing when you sign the lease that no rent increases are to happen during the lease period.
If you have a periodic lease, like a month-to-month rental, your landlord may raise your rent by any amount, as often as they want. There is no rent control in Minnesota except in public or subsidized housing. But, there are things a landlord has to do before raising your rent.
You have to get proper notice before a rent increase takes effect. That means you must get written notice no later than 11:59 p.m. of the day before the next rental period begins. The rent increase does not take effect until the second rental period following the notice, unless the notice states that it is effective at an even later date. In the case of a month-to-month rental in which the rent is due on the first of the month, written notice given in December cannot be effective until February.
You can challenge a rent increase in 3 situations as follows
1. The landlord raised rent to retaliate against you for exercising your rights (see the Lead Poisoning: Legal Action and Retaliation section of the Tenants' Rights in Minnesota Booklet)
2. The landlord raised rent to discriminate against you, or
3. The landlord gave improper notice.
If any of the above situations are true, you do not have to pay the increased rent. Also, if you think your rent went up because of discrimination, contact the Minnesota Human Rights Department or your local civil rights department to file a complaint.
Remember, if you do not pay the increased rent, the landlord may file an eviction case against you. But the landlord cannot evict you without bringing an eviction case in court. If the landlord does take you to court, tell the judge about the improper notice or discrimination or retaliation. Be careful. If the judge decides that the landlord was not doing what you claimed, you will have to pay the increased rent and court costs. If you do not pay, you will be evicted.