When it comes to renting in Minnesota, it’s important to be aware of the rules and regulations that govern the landlord-tenant relationship. Failure to comply with these laws can lead to serious consequences, including eviction, loss of security deposit, and even legal action. To help you navigate this complex landscape, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 mistakes to avoid when renting in Minnesota.
Not Having a Written Lease Agreement
One of the biggest mistakes that tenants make is not having a written lease agreement in place. A lease agreement spells out the terms and conditions of the tenancy, including the rent, the length of the lease, and the responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant. Without a written lease, it can be difficult to enforce your rights as a tenant.
Failing to Pay Rent on Time
Your lease agreement specifies the day on which rent is due. Failure to pay rent on time can result in late fees, eviction, and damage to your credit score. If you are unable to pay rent on time, you should communicate with your landlord and try to work out a payment plan.
Ignoring Maintenance Issues
A secure and livable living space is a right of tenants. If you notice any maintenance issues, such as leaks or broken appliances, you should report them to your landlord in writing as soon as possible. Ignoring these problems might cause more serious ones in the future.
Not Documenting Move-In Condition
Before you move in, it’s important to document the condition of the rental unit. Take photos or videos of any existing damage and make notes of any issues that need to be addressed. This documentation can be used as evidence if there is a dispute over the security deposit when you move out.
Not Giving Proper Notice Before Moving Out
Under Minnesota landlord-tenant law, tenants must give their landlords at least 30 days’ written notice before moving out. Failure to provide proper notice can result in additional rent charges and damage to your credit score. Make sure to review your lease agreement for any specific notice requirements.
Making Unauthorized Alterations to the Rental Unit
Tenants are generally not allowed to make major alterations to the rental unit without the landlord’s permission. This includes painting, installing fixtures, and making structural changes. Before making any alterations, make sure to get written permission from your landlord.
Not Following Proper Eviction Procedures
If you are facing eviction, it’s important to understand your rights as a tenant. Under Minnesota law, landlords must follow specific procedures when evicting a tenant. If your landlord fails to follow these procedures, you may be able to fight the eviction in court.
Not Getting Renters Insurance
Renters insurance can protect you in the event of theft, fire, or other damage to your personal belongings. In the event that someone is hurt in your rental property, it may also offer liability insurance. While landlords are required to carry insurance on the building itself, they are not responsible for your personal property.
Not Understanding Your Security Deposit
Under Minnesota law, landlords must return a tenant’s security deposit within 21 days of the tenant moving out. The landlord can deduct from the deposit for unpaid rent or damages beyond normal wear and tear, but they must provide an itemized list of deductions. Make sure to review your lease agreement for specific details on your security deposit.
Not Providing Proper Notice Before Entering the Rental Unit
Landlords are generally required to provide at least 24 hours notice before entering the rental unit. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as in the case of an emergency. If your landlord enters your rental unit without proper notice, you may have legal recourse.
Renting in Minnesota can be a complex process, but by avoiding these common mistakes, you can protect yourself and your rights as a tenant. Remember to always have a written lease agreement, pay rent on time, report maintenance issues promptly, and document the condition of the rental unit before moving in. Additionally, be sure to review your lease agreement carefully, understand your security deposit, and obtain renters insurance to protect your personal belongings. By staying informed and aware of your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, you can have a positive and successful renting experience in Minnesota.