• Rights and Responsibilities

    Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants

    Payment of Rent:

    • It is your responsibility to be sure your rent is paid in the full amount agreed on in the lease and by the date agreed on in the lease.
    • You may be evicted for failure to pay your rent.
    • If you move out of the property before you lease is up, you remain responsible for payment of your rent.

    Property Damage:

    • You are responsible to pay for any damages to the rental property.
    • A landlord has the right to file a lawsuit against a tenant for willful and malicious destruction of residential rental property.
    • You should take care of your rental property like it is your own.


    • When you require a repair, contact you landlord right away.
    • Be sure to keep a written log of things in need of repair and when and how the problems were resolved. If there are any concerns in the future regarding issues, you will have a log of the problems.
    • DO NOT stop paying your rent if you have repair problems.
    • You may have standing to take legal action against your landlord under certain circumstances regarding failure to resolve repair problems.
    • If you feel your landlord is not fulfilling his legal obligations, you can contact your legal aid office.

    Hamline Students Suggest:

    • Keep a detailed record each time you contact your landlord about repairs.
    • Stopping by your landlord’s office will often not be enough to resolve repair issues.
    • It is most beneficial for you to call your landlord or put your needs in writing in the form of an email or a mailed letter.

    Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords

    Certificate of Rent Paid:

    • Your landlord must give you a Certificate of Rent Paid by January 31 or each year.
    • This may allow you to receive a partial refund for the property tax paid.


    • The rental unit must be fit to live in.
    • The rental unit must be kept in a reasonable repair.
    • The rental unit must be in compliance with the state and local health and housing codes.
    • If it is not up to code and the unit is inspected, the Fire Marshal may force the renter to move out of the property immediately.

    Housing Codes:

    All rental properties must be up to code including:

    • Basic requirements for the maintenance of the exterior and exterior structures.
    • Extermination of rodents and insects.
    • Compliance with fire and safety codes.
    • Weatherization of rental units.

    The information above has been gathered with permission from, “Student Legal Services Tenant Resource Guide”, a resource produced by University Student Legal Services at the University of Minnesota. 

    Right to Privacy

    A landlord may only enter a unit for reasons including:

    • Showing the unit to prospective tenants.
    • Showing the unit to prospective buyers or insurance agents.
    • Performing maintenance work.
    • Showing the unit to state or local authorities (for example, the Fire Marshal).
    • Checking on a tenant who is causing a disturbance.
    • Checking on a tenant who is believed to be violating the lease.
    • In cases of emergency.
    • If there is no business or emergency reason to enter, a landlord must give you a “reasonable notice” to enter your unit.
    • Remember that sexual harassment by a landlord, caretaker, manager, or security guard is illegal.
    • You have the right to feel comfortable and safe in your home.

    Lock-outs and Shut-Offs:

    • If your landlord wants to evict you, he or she must serve you an eviction notice and allow you time to correct whatever problem exists.
    • He or she must then file an eviction action with the local court.
    • Under Minnesota Statute 504B.225, a landlord may not unlawfully lock a tenant out of a property or shut off electricity, heat, gas, or water.
    • If you have been locked out of your rental property, call your landlord and explain that his or her behavior is unlawful.
    • If you are being evicted or need legal assistance on the matter, call your legal aid society as soon as possible. You can visit the Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid website for information.
    • An eviction action can be filed against you if you fail to pay your rent on time, break the lease, or stay in the renting unit after notice to leave was given.

    Please Keep in Mind:

    • If you are lawfully evicted, your eviction records are public and can be used against you when you are looking for a new place to rent.
    • A record of your eviction can be expunged only if you win or settle an eviction dispute.
    • If a landlord decides to use a tenant screening company and you have a record with an eviction listed, you have the right to explain why you were evicted.

    The information above has been gathered with permission from, “Student Legal Services Tenant Resource Guide”, a resource produced by University Student Legal Services at the University of Minnesota.