Most of the time, landlords are reasonable, law-abiding property owners who treat their tenants with fairness and respect. However, there are times when a landlord may try to circumvent the law for their own benefit.
If you have a landlord you believe is breaking the law or the terms of your rental agreement, the Edina real estate lawyers at Morris Law Group is here to help you. Integrity and trust is the foundation of our practice. Our passion for client success is matched only by our experience, our reputation for excellence, and our deep understanding of each client’s individual needs.
Morris Law Group’s three Edina real estate lawyers offer Minnesotans 65 years of combined experience throughout the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. The firm has a reputation for diligence, affordability, honesty – and a high success rate.
From renters and landlords to business owners to the commercial investors, the Edina real estate lawyers at Morris Law Group provides large legal resources and assistance with a personal touch.
Minnesota law is specific when it comes to the rights of tenants. However, understanding how to make those laws work for you can be overwhelming. We aunderstand that not all tenants are irresponsible. Our real estate attorneys are prepared for different circumstances and situations. We have represented tenants’ property rights in lease agreements, evictions, lease modifications, property maintenance, repairs, safety, housing discrimination, and more. Let us help you. For more information or to arrange a free consultation, call us today at 952.832.2000 or visit morrislawmn.com.
“My landlord is trying to evict me. What can I do?”
Minnesota law is very clear on this. Landlords cannot forcibly remove tenants. A landlord first has to bring what is called an “eviction action” — a legal proceeding that takes place in court — against the tenant. And there must be a valid legal reason for it. In Minnesota, those reasons can include nonpayment of rent, breach of the lease, refusal to vacate after notice has been properly served and the last day of tenancy has been passed. In general, if a tenant does not pay rent on the due date stipulated in the lease, a landlord can bring an eviction action immediately (unless there is an arrangement otherwise provided for in the lease).
If you’ve been served with an eviction action, give the Edina real estate lawyers at Morris Law Group a call at 953.832.2000. We help tenants fight unfair eviction notices.
There are a number of steps both landlords and tenants must take in an eviction action:
- The landlord must file a complaint against the tenant in district court. At least seven days before the court date, the landlord must have someone else serve the tenant with a summons that orders the tenant to appear in court. This notice period is mandatory and an important procedural step for the landlord.
- A court hearing must take place within 7 to 14 days after the court issues the summons. At the hearing, both the tenant and the landlord can present their side of the case. As with any legal proceeding, it is better to have an attorney who specializes in your type of case to fight for your side. The Edina real estate lawyers at Morris Law Group are ready to do just that. We are problem solvers and experts in landlord-tenant disputes.
- Once each side has presented their case, a judge will render a decision. If the judge decides the tenant has no legal reason for refusing to leave or pay the rent, the judge will order the tenant to vacate the rental unit, and they generally will have only 24 hours to do so. (It is important to remember only a law enforcement officer can physically evict a tenant.) Depending on the case, a judge may order a law enforcement officer to force the tenant out. If the tenant can show immediate eviction will cause substantial hardship, the court can allow the tenant a reasonable period of time — typically up to one week — to move.
If the eviction action has been brought only because the tenant owes rent, and the landlord wins, the tenant can still “pay and stay.” In that situation, the tenant must pay the rent that is past due, plus applicable interest, along with ancillary fees.
If the eviction action has been brought after the tenant withheld the rent due to unit disrepair, a judge may order the tenant to deposit the rent with the court. If the tenant wins the action, a judge may order that the rent be reduced in part or completely. Also, a landlord may not obtain a judgement for unpaid rent in an eviction action. To obtain a judgment for unpaid rent, a landlord must bring a separate action in conciliation court or district court.
“I’ve moved and my previous landlord still hasn’t returned my security deposit.”
Under Minnesota law, a landlord must return a tenant’s security deposit within three weeks after the tenant has returned the keys to the landlord and vacated the rental property, and the landlord has received the tenant’s forwarding address; but within five days if the tenant must leave due to building condemnation.
In most cases, landlords can use a tenant’s security deposit for any cleaning or repairs. Landlords may not, however, use the deposit to cover the costs of ordinary wear and tear. Some examples of tenant-created damage include:
- Cigarette burns in curtains or carpets
- Broken tiles in bathroom
- Large marks on or holes in wall
- Lots of picture holes or gouges in walls that require patching as well as repainting
- Rips in carpet or pet stains
- Water stains on wood floors and windowsills caused by windows being left open during rainstorms
- Missing mini-blinds
If you believe your landlord is withholding your security deposit for unlawful reasons or to cover repairs that are not tenant-created or specified in your lease agreement, the team at Morris Law Group can help you. Check us out online at www.morrislawmn.com.
“I’ve asked my landlord to fix an issue in my rental unit repeatedly, and it still hasn’t been fixed. What can I do?”
If you have tried — and failed — to get your landlord to fix the problem in your rental unit, contact the Edina real estate lawyers Morris Law Group for a free consultation! It is important to make it clear with your landlord that you are serious about correcting any issues and many leases provide for coverage of attorneys’ fees in this type of situation.
If the problem you’re dealing with is a violation of Minnesota or city/county housing laws, you may have to contact the municipal agency that oversees that service such as housing or health agencies or the local fire department. In most cases, an inspector will investigate and give the landlord a notice of violation and a deadline to correct the problem. A landlord’s failure to abide by the correction order could lead to fines and possibly jail time.
If your unit isn’t livable and your requests for repair or attention have been ignored by your landlord, you have the right to move out. You can also move out if the landlord has tried but failed to fix the problem. For example, if your unit or building has an ongoing mold issue, you can leave, even if the landlord has tried their best to fix the issue. Especially in these types of situations, keep a record of all communication with your landlord, including your notice of the situation and intent to move-out.
If you feel your landlord is being unreasonable, contact us for a free consultation to get answers fast. Our offices can be reached at 952.832.2000.
We are Morris Law Group.
Integrity and trust is the foundation of our practice. Our passion for client success is matched only by our experience, our reputation for excellence, and our deep understanding of each and every client’s individual needs.
At Morris Law Group, we don’t just counsel our clients. We invest in them.
We’ve been serving the Edina and Twin Cities communities since 2002. Our attorneys provide personalized legal services to clients seeking help in real estate, business development, commercial litigation, and other matters.
Our experienced Edina attorneys – Founder Richard L. Morris, Lillian Ballard, and Nicholas Henry – believe that relationships matter, whether a client is trying to navigate a purchase agreement, get a business off the ground, or dissolve a partnership. Our lawyers appear regularly in state and federal court, in administrative hearings, and in various alternative dispute resolution forums, including mediation and arbitration.
Morris Law Group is the best Minnesota law firm for all of your real estate and business legal needs. We advocate for our clients with professionalism, empathy, and with a results-driven approach.