Emergency Repairs for Tenants

As a tenant, you will have reasonable requests in regard to maintaining your habitability of the property you are renting. Unfortunately, some landlords do not make the necessary or adequate repairs they are required to do so by law. Below is a “how to” on how to make sure your landlord makes the repairs you deem necessary.

What is Required of my Landlord?

Residential landlords owe certain obligations to their tenants regarding a leased residence.

  1. Landlords must keep the premises being rented “in reasonable repair” and “fit for the use intended by the parties”.
  2. Landlords must keep the premises in compliance with state and local health and safety laws.
  3. Landlords must do everything they promised to do in the lease.
  4. Landlords must make the premises reasonably energy efficient.

What is Defined as an Emergency Repair Problem?

An emergency repair problem means you as a tenant do not have one of the following:

  1. Running water
  2. Hot water
  3. Heat
  4. Stove or oven
  5. Electricity
  6. Bathroom use
  7. Basic services or facilities, like a missing front or back door or lock, or missing windows

What if I have an Emergency Repair?

The state of Minnesota provides a quick remedy for severe problems that make the premises unlivable. When faced with such problems, tenants can file an Emergency Tenant Remedies Action (ETRA).

I Know I Have an Emergency Repair, What Should I do Next?

Call your landlord immediately. If the landlord will not or does not make the repair or fix the problem causing the emergency, you can file the ETRA. An ETRA is also called an emergency relief action. Please contact a lawyer specializing in this area right away. Your lawyer will,

  1. Give the landlord notice 24 hours before filing the ETRA.
  2. If the emergency is not fixed within those 24 hours, the ETRA will be filed with the appropriate court.
  3. A court hearing will be given to you within 3-7 business days once the ETRA is filed.

In my Hearing, What Can I Ask of the Court?

  1. Order the landlord to make the repairs right away.
  2. Let you make the repairs and take the cost off the rent.
  3. Choose someone else to make repairs or manage the property.
  4. Reduce the rent until repairs are made.
  5. Make the landlord pay for a motel, or pay you back, if you need to stay somewhere else.
  6. Make the landlord give you a different place to stay or pay your costs to move somewhere else.
  7. Money damages.

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