Landlords Beware: MN Landlord Tenant Law Update

Following this past legislative session, numerous and significant changes will take place in Minnesota landlord-tenant law, most of which become effective on January 1, 2024. These updates include sweeping changes to evictions, eviction notices, tenant privacy rights, early lease renewals, cannabis regulations in renting, and many other landlord-tenant matters.

While some of these changes have been in the works for years and thus are more widely known, others might catch uninformed landlords by surprise.

This summary provides a quick review of the most substantive changes made to Minnesota’s landlord-tenant statutes in 2023. In addition, we have highlighted several potential pitfalls that landlords may face in the coming months and years as these changes come into play.

504B.268: Right to Counsel in Public Housing

On the first page of an eviction complaint in public housing cases, landlords must now include the following notice in bold 12-point type: “If financially unable to obtain counsel, the defendant has the right to court-appointed attorney.”

For those landlords who utilize standard eviction complaints, this language should be included generally and only omitted on a case-by case basis, after a careful review demonstrates that a case does not involve public housing.

504B.285, subd. 5: Combining Allegations

For residential evictions, courts hearing eviction actions may no longer require tenants to pay money to the court, post a bond, make payment directly to a landlord, or post other security. A court may still, however, require the posting of security if the “final disposition” of the eviction action may be delayed for more than 10 days.

504B.321, subd. 1(a): New Eviction Notice Requirement

Historically, landlords could bring an eviction action for nonpayment of rent as soon as rent was due. However, they will now be required to provide a detailed and specific “pre-eviction notice” prior to filing an eviction for nonpayment of rent. This notice must be issued at least 14 days prior to filing an eviction, which will delay eviction commencement.

Landlords seeking eviction for nonpayment must provide a written notice “specifying the basis for future eviction action” and including the following information:

  • the total amount due;
  • a specific accounting of the amount of the total due from unpaid rent, late fees, and other charges under the lease;
  • the name and address of the person authorized to receive rent and fees on behalf of the landlord;
  • the following statement: “You have the right to seek legal help. If you can’t afford a lawyer, free legal help may be available. Contact Legal Aid or visit to know your rights and find your local Legal Aid office.”;
  • the following statement: “To apply for financial help, contact your local county or Tribal social services office, apply online at or call the United Way toll-free information line by dialing 2-1-1 or 800-543-7709”; and
  • the following statement: “Your landlord can file an eviction case if you do not pay the total amount due or move out within 14 days from the date of this notice. Some local governments may have an eviction notice period longer than 14 days. The notice must be given at least 14 days prior to filing an eviction based on nonpayment. Local municipalities may require longer than 14 days advance notice.

504B.321, Subd. 6: Eviction Records Not Public

Eviction records will not be accessible to the public until the court enters a final judgment. The only people who will be able to access it until then will be the parties to the case and the licensed attorneys assisting the parties in the case.

504B.291, subd. 1, Action to Recover/ Right to Recover

Subdivision 1 has been amended to include language explaining that if the landlord brings an eviction based on nonpayment of rent, tenants have the right to redeem the property by providing a written agency guarantee.

Many landlords already provide this type of remedy to tenants during their eviction process, however the codified inclusion of such redemption did not exist in previous versions of this statute.

484.014: Eviction Expungement

Eviction records serve as a key record that landlords review when deciding whether to accept or deny a tenant application. Under the newly drafted language of this statute, tenants will find it much easier to obtain an expungement. The court will no longer require motion by a tenant prior to making its decision, instead the court has discretion to find that expungement is warranted by weighing the “the interests of justice” and “the public’s interest in knowing about the record.”

Tenants may also be entitled to a mandatory expungement, requiring no motion or further analysis by the court, if: (i) they prevail on the merits of the eviction action, (ii) the court dismisses the plaintiff’s complaint for any reason, (iii) the parties have agreed to an expungement, (iv) three years have elapsed since the eviction was ordered, or (v) the case was settled and the tenant complied with the settlement terms.

504B.335 Scheduling Trial

In the past, eviction trials were scheduled within six days of the initial appearance. However, under the most recent update to this statutory provision, trials could be scheduled much later.

Courts will be required to schedule the trial at a date “that allows for a fair, thorough and timely adjudication of the merits of the case, including the complexity of the matter, the need for the parties to obtain discovery, the need for the parties to ensure the presence of witnesses, the opportunity for the defendant to seek legal counsel and raise affirmative defenses, and any other extenuating factors . . .”

504B.211: Tenant’s Right to Privacy

Landlords must now provide a residential tenant with “not less than 24 hours advance notice” before entering the property and may only enter between the hours of 8:00 am and 8:00 pm.

The landlord must also provide the tenant with an anticipated time or window of time of entry. Although a tenant may agree to allow the landlord to enter sooner than 24 hours, the tenant cannot waive this right as a condition of entering into or maintaining the lease.

The penalty term of this statute was also increased from $100 to $500 for each violation and now includes reasonable attorney fees.

504B.171: Limitations on Criminal Activity and Marijuana Possession in Rental Properties

Effective June 1, 2024, this statute will be amended in two significant ways:

First, under the new language of subdivision 2a,  landlords may no longer seek eviction for conduct of a tenant, household member of the tenant, or a guest of the tenant that occurs off the premises or curtilage of the premises “unless (1) the conduct would constitute a crime of violence against another tenant, the tenant’s guest, the landlord, or the landlord’s employees, regardless of whether a charge was brought or condition contained or (2) the conduct results in a conviction of a crime of violence against a person unrelated to the premises.

Second, subdivision 1(2)(c) has been added to address Minnesota’s legalization of recreational marijuana. Under this new subsection, landlords are no longer able to prohibit their tenants from possessing marijuana. However, landlords may still prohibit tenants from “smoking or vaping marijuana” on the property. Specifically, landlords can prohibit tenants from consuming cannabis products “by combustion or vaporization of the product and inhalation of smoke, aerosol, or vapor from the product.”

It is important to note that landlords can nevertheless be held liable for failing to enforce a lease that prohibits smoking and vaping cannabis under this same subsection. However, enforcement such a prohibition could prove to be difficult for many landlords without further legislative guidance.

504B.114: Pets Declawing and Vocalization Prohibited

Residential landlords may no longer advertise in a manner that discourages renters from applying for housing if their pets have not been declawed or devocalized. Residential landlords may also not discriminate or refuse to rent to persons based upon the pet’s declawed or devocalized status nor can they require a tenant’s pet be declawed or devocalized.

504B.120: Disclosure of Prohibited Fees

Landlords must disclose all “nonoptional fees” on the first page of the lease agreement moving forward. The new legislation does not, however, define “nonoptional fees.” Accordingly, landlords should err on the side of caution when describing any amounts tenants will be required to pay.

The first page of the lease agreement and any advertisements for the unit should therefore list the Total Monthly Payment and include both the total sum of the rent plus all nonoptional fees. Additionally, both the lease agreement and unit advertisements must disclose whether utilities are included in the rent amount.

504B.182: Initial and Final Inspections Required

Landlords are now required to give written notice to tenants of the option to request inspection of their unit both at the beginning and before the end of their tenancy. A tenant may request an inspection for the purpose of identifying existing deficiencies in the rental unit to avoid later deductions to the security deposit.

If requested, the move-in inspection must occur “within 14 days of the residential tenant occupying the unit” and the move-out inspection must occur earlier than “five days before the termination of the tenancy.”

While both the landlord and tenant may waive these inspections or agree to allow the landlord to provide photos or video of the unit in lieu of the move-in inspection, the landlord’s obligations under this statute cannot be discharged or waived under a lease provision.

504B.161: Implied Covenant of Habitability (Temperature)

For any rental unit that does not have an individual thermostat, the landlord is required to “supply or furnish heat at a minimum temperature of 68°F from October 1 through April 30.”

Like all covenants of habitability, the tenant cannot waive this requirement.

504B.375: Unlawful Exclusion or Removal

Previously, a tenant could only bring their landlord to court and petition for relief in emergency situations such as a loss of running water, hot water, heat, electricity, sanitary facilities, or other essential services or facilitates that the landlord was responsible for providing.

Under the updated provision, tenants can bring their landlord to court and petition for relief for all the previous reasons and the following additions:

  • When a unit of government has revoked a rental license, issued a condemnation order, issued a notice of intent to condemn, or otherwise deemed the property uninhabitable;
  • If there is a serious infestation;
  • If the unit’s refrigerator is nonfunctioning;
  • If the air conditioner is nonfunctioning, if applicable;
  • If the elevator is not functioning, if applicable; and
  • Any other conditions, services or facilitates that pose a serious and negative impact on health or safety.

504B.135: Terminating Tenancy at Will

Previously, if a tenant neglected or refused to pay rent due on a tenancy at will, the landlord had the option to terminate the tenancy upon a 14-day notice.

This language has been removed from the statute and what remains is that a tenancy at will may be terminated by notice “at least as long as the interval between the time rent is due or three months, whichever is less.”

504B.144: Early Renewal of Lease

This newly added statute will require a landlord to wait until “six months from the expiration of a current lease” before requiring a tenant to renew the lease if the lease is for a period of ten months or longer. Nevertheless, landlords may wait until closer to the expiration of the lease to ask a tenant to renew a lease.

504B.266: Termination of Lease upon Infirmity of Tenant

Tenants are now able to lawfully terminate their lease for medical reasons, provided they meet several qualifications, which include:

  • A medical professional – a physician, an advanced practice registered nurse, or a mental health professional – must find that the tenant needs to move into a medical care facility;
  • The tenant requires assistance with activities of daily living due to medical reasons or a disability;
  • The tenant must necessitate the level of care provided by a nursing facility;
  • The tenant has a disability or functional impairment in three or more areas, see Minn. Stat. 245.462, Subd. 11a, and due to their mental illness, their ability to be self-sufficient is greatly reduced; and
  • The landlord is unable to provide an accessible unit in the same complex where the tenant currently resides within two months of the request that would meet the accessibility needs of the tenant.

To give notice to terminate the lease under this statute, the tenant must give at least two months written notice, to be effective on the last day of a calendar month, and it must be either hand-delivered or sent via U.S. mail, with prepaid, first-class postage.

The notice must also include a copy of the medical professional’s written documentation of the medical diagnosis and documentation showing that the tenant has been accepted as a resident or has a pending application at a location where the medical professional has indicated that the tenant needs to move to.

During this notice period, the tenant is still responsible for rent and any other regular fees and will be subject to the move-out procedures in the same way that they would be if their lease had run its full course.

Bottom Line:

It is imperative that Minnesota landlords thoroughly review and understand the recent changes made to Minnesota’s landlord-tenant statutes and make sure that they comply with these changes to avoid expensive or time-consuming mistakes.

For questions about these new legislative updates or other concerns regarding residential or commercial leasing, please contact a member of our Business & Commercial Litigation Practice Group.