2010 Tenant Bill of Rights Guide for Minnesota landlords and Property Managers

by Property Management on May 14, 2010

Tenant Landlord

Tenant Landlord

Governor Pawlenty signed HF 2668 on May 11, making the Tenant Bill of Rights the law in Minnesota.   Landlords, Rental Property Owners, Property Managers and Property Management Companies should read up the changes as this law impacts tenant screening fees, late fees, attorney fees and security deposits.

  • Late Fees: Effective January 1, 2011, late fees will be capped at 8% of rent.  The daily late fees cannot be more than 8% of rent.
  • Receipt for Rent: Effective August 1, 2010, tenants will be given a receipt if they pay their rent with cash.  Those paying by money order may use the receipts as proof of rent-paid unless the landlord proves otherwise.
  • Attorney Fees: Effective August 1, 2011 for new leases and August 1, 2012 for renewed leases, if a lease entitles a landlord to have its attorney fees paid when it wins a certain kind of case, tenants will be entitled to the attorney fees in the same kind of case.
  • Limiting Tenant Screening Fees: Effective August 1, 2010, a fair and consistent process will be used when screening applicants for an apartment.  Prospective tenants will also be informed about how their application will be judged.  Upon becoming law, landlords will be required to:
    • provide the criteria upon which they will screen applications (that will keep many tenants from paying an application fee for an apartment they have no chance of getting);
    • process applications for an apartment in sequential order (so that if a tenant’s application fee is cashed, the application will be examined on its own merits);
    • return application fees if they reject a prospective tenant for reasons other than the criteria they provided; and,
    • For Tenants: A prospective tenant who provides materially false information on the application, or omits material information requested is liable to the landlord for damages, plus a civil penalty of up to $500, civil court filing costs, and reasonable attorney fees.
  • Penalty for Improper Division of Utility Costs: Effective on August, 1 2010, if a landlord does not follow the entire law on division of utility charges, s/he is liable to the tenant for triple the damages or $500, whichever is greater.
  • Bad Faith Retention of Security Deposits: Effective on August 1, 2010, the penalty for a landlord not returning the proper amount of a security deposit in bad faith will increase from “not to exceed $200″ to “not to exceed $500.”
  • Renters Living in Foreclosed Property: Effective August 1, 2010, state law will be brought into conformance with federal law.  Tenants living in foreclosed property have the right to the term of their lease or 90 days beyond the redemption period, whichever is longer.
  • Abandoned Property: Effective August 1, 2010, a landlord must hold on to property left behind by a tenant for 28 days (reduced from 60 days).  If a landlord illegally disposes of a tenant’s property, s/he is liable to the tenant for the greater of triple the damages or $1000.  Also, tenants statewide can bring motions for return of property in their evict case, not just in Ramsey and Hennepin Counties.

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