Most residential leases and rental agreements in Minnesota require a security deposit. This is a dollar amount, usually one month's rent, that's intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear, and to cushion the financial blow if a tenant skips out early on the lease without paying. Here’s a summary of Minnesota landlord-tenant laws that cover the use and return of security deposits.
Does Minnesota law limit how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit?
No. In Minnesota, there's no statutory limit on security deposits at the state level, but check your city and county laws to see if your municipality has set a cap on security deposits for residential rentals.
To learn more about steps that tenants can take to protect their security deposit after they've paid it, check out Nolo's article Protect Your Security Deposit When You Move In.
What about when a tenant moves out? What is the deadline in Minnesota for returning a security deposit?
Under Minnesota law, a landlord must return the tenant's security deposit within three weeks after the tenant has surrendered the rental property to the landlord (that is, returned the keys and vacated the property) and the landlord has received the tenant's forwarding address; but within five days if the tenant must leave due to building condemnation.
Learn more about tenants' rights and landlords' obligations when it comes to the return of the security deposit in Nolo's chart Cleaning and Repairs a Landlord Can Deduct from a Security Deposit and Nolo's article Get Your Security Deposit Back.
Is there additional information that Minnesota landlords must provide to tenants when it comes to security deposits in Minnesota?
Yes. Landlords in Minnesota must, before collecting rent or a security deposit, provide a copy of all outstanding inspection orders for which a citation has been issued, pertaining to a rental unit or common area, specifying code violations that threaten the health or safety of the tenant.With some exceptions, a Minnesota landlord who has received notice of a contract for deed cancellation or notice of a mortgage foreclosure sale must disclose this to a tenant before aceepting a security deposit.
Landlords in Minnesota must also pay 1% simple noncompounded interest on the security deposit per year.
Where can I look up Minnesota law on security deposits?
If you want to go right to the source and look up Minnesota law on security deposits -- or if you're writing a letter to your landlord or tenant and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at Minnesota Statutes Annotated §§ 504B.175 and 504B.178. Your city or county might have different landlord-tenant and security deposit laws than those at the state level in Minnesota. For tips on looking up Minnesota state and local laws, check out Nolo's State Laws & Legal Research section.
You may also find useful information in the state tenant guide available at http://www.ag.state.mn.us/consumer/housing/lt/LT1.asp#TheLease.