Landlords and Tenants


From the Office of
Hubert Humphrey III
Minnesota Attorney General

About This Handbook

The rights and duties of landlords and tenants in Minnesota are spelled out in state statutes, local ordinances, safety and housing codes, common law, contract law and a number of court decisions. Landlord and tenant responsibilities tend to 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. This booklet should not be looked to as a final source of legal advice to be used in resolving specific landlord-tenant problems or questions. It is a summary of the laws that govern the landlord-tenant relationship. Statutes and some case law examples are cited at the back of this brochure for further reference. If a cite does not appear, the information is likely derived from common law or case law. As with all documents, clicking on hyper-text will lead you to more information. Clicking on a cite will bring up the text of the law a rule is derived from.

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 this information.

Minn. Stat. §504.22 (1992) requires landlords to notify tenants that this handbook is available to them.

Landlords and Tenants: Rights and Responsibilities is written and published by the Minnesota Attorney General's Office as required by Minn. Stat. §504.22 subd. 4(a) (1992). This edition was written in December 1994 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The on-line edition was developed by Michael Olenick in cooperation with the Attorney General's office. This handbook is available in other formats upon request.

Landlords and Tenants: Rights and Responsibilities

Table of Contents


  1. Inspecting the Unit Before Signing a Lease
  2. Application Fees
  3. Security Deposits
  4. Tenant Reports
  5. The Lease
  6. Disclosure to the Tenant
  7. Utilities
  8. Maintenance
  9. Unlawful Destruction of Property
  10. Alterations


  1. The Rent
  2. Tenant's Right to Privacy
  3. Repair Problems
  4. Defense


  1. Proper Notice
  2. Three Day Notice During Winter
  3. Refund of the Security Deposit


  1. Housing Courts
  2. Eviction
  3. Retaliation
  4. Unlawful Exclusions and Property Confiscation
  5. Lease Violation and Outstanding Rent Cases
  6. Utility Cutoffs
  7. Cold Weather Rule
  8. Tenant's Right to a Tax Credit
  9. Discrimination
  10. Handicapped-Accessible Unit
  11. Landlord Disclosure
  12. Subleasing
  13. Abandoned Property
  14. Expanded Definition of Tenant
  15. Smoking in Common Areas