Minnesota Security Deposit Laws and Procedures

Almost all leases and rental agreements in Minnesota require a security deposit prior to renting. 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.

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 if the landlord collects a “pre-lease deposit” and subsequently rents to the tenant, the landlord must apply the pre-lease deposit to the security deposit.

Reasons for a Landlord to Keep the Security Deposit

A residential landlord may be able to keep all or a portion of a tenant’s security deposit for the following reasons:

  • To cover unpaid rent
  • Damage in excess of normal wear and tear
  • Other breaches of the lease agreement

Walk-through Inspection

In Minnesota, a walk-through inspection is not required 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.

How must a security deposit be returned?

The landlord must return the tenant’s security deposit, less any allowable deductions, along with any interest that has accrued on the deposit. The deposit must be sent via first-class certified mail to the forwarding address that the tenant has provided or must be delivered to the tenant in person.

Wrongful Withholding

Landlords who fail to return a tenant’s security deposit according to these rules or who wrongfully withhold a tenant’s security deposit could be liable for up to twice the amount wrongfully withheld and any interest that has accrued plus $500 in damages. If a tenant believes his/her landlord is wrongfully withholding a security deposit contact an attorney immediately.

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