All You Need To Know About Breaking A Lease In Minnesota
Most apartment lease terms are one year, which doesn't seem that long--until your landlord makes a habitability violation or you experience a hardship that prevents you from being able to pay rent. Unless you read your lease carefully, research your rights as a tenant, or seek advice from an attorney, you could be subject to hurting your credit and owing money (with possible interest) to debt collectors.
Again, making sure you understand the lease is important when considering vacating an apartment--whether you are breaking the lease or not. Sometimes we sign month-to-month leases, which typically require a 30-day notice.
However, most of the time, we enter a definite term lease, which is when the length of tenancy is written into the language. These leases can be difficult to break, as the law states tenants must pay the entire term no matter when they leave. With that said, there are valid legal reasons to break a lease--they just aren't written or disclosed anywhere. Luckily, DoNotPay understands tenant-landlord laws when it comes to breaking your lease in Minnesota and can help you avoid owing money.
Tenant Rights and Responsibilities in Minnesota
When it comes to periodic tenancies (month-to-month leases), the law states that the tenant or landlord must give notice of vacating at least one day before the last rental payment is due.
For example, if you pay rent on the 1st of each month and want to leave on February 1st, you must let your landlord know on or before December 31st. There is typically a lease breakage fee written in the language for definite lease terms. Depending on the landlord, this could be two months' rent and security deposit. You will also want to consider 'automatic renewals,' which take effect if you do not give the notice to vacate at the end of your lease. Often, these are higher monthly payments since they will technically be month-to-month. While this information is the law, it's important to remember that ultimately breaking a lease in Minnesota and any penalties you pay comes down to the lease provisions.
When Breaking a Lease is Justified in Minnesota
It's important to seek legal advice when it comes to a scenario that causes you to believe you are entitled to vacate an apartment early. Specific timelines and documentation have to be given from a tenant to landlord, and they vary between each justified reason.
- Domestic Violence. Minnesota law states that victims of domestic violence, criminal sexual conduct, stalking, or those who fear imminent violence against the tenant or the tenant's minor children may terminate their lease under certain conditions. Along with the written notice, you must provide proof of the no-contact order or qualified statement from a court official. You will be responsible for that month's remaining rent as well as forfeit the deposit.
- Uninhabitable Living Conditions. If the living conditions in the apartment have not been kept up with repairs and codes or Minnesota health and safety laws, the tenants have the right to break their lease. Landlords may also be subject to fines from the state for not keeping the building up to code. They should also provide reasonable energy-efficient accommodations, such as caulking door trim.
- Landlord Violations. If your landlord is entering your apartment without reason or retaliating against you, you may be entitled to break your lease early. Landlords can enter the apartment unannounced. However, they must disclose they have entered by writing it down in a visible spot to the tenant.
- Active Military Duty. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects anyone on active duty in the military from eviction and any penalties that accrue if they were to break their lease due to deployment. Again, there are specific timelines and documentation needed to file this properly.
Lease Termination Notice Requirements
Generally, the regulations for ending tenancies are written into the lease. As mentioned above, the lease typically states the amount of notice you need to give if you decide to move out at the end of it. See the chart below for the length of notice required in Minnesota.
|Rent Payment||Notice Time||Statute|
|Week-to-week||Notification must be at least as long as the interval between the time rent is due or three months, whichever is less.||Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.135|
|Month-to-month||Notification must be at least as long as the interval between the time rent is due or three months, whichever is less.||Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.135|
What Happens if I Illegally Break a Lease in Minnesota?
Before you resort to up and leaving your apartment, you should review your lease and talk to your landlord. They may understand your circumstances and allow you to go without any fees, or at least put you on a payment plan. If your lease does not specify whether or not subletting is allowed, then the tenant has the right to sublet.
However, it's important to remember that if the new tenant fails to pay rent, it comes down to the original tenant. If you have no other choice but to vacate, you could be subject to paying a breakage fee and sent to a collections agency. Some agencies even collect interest, but either way, this will be detrimental to your credit and go on your record. Finding a new apartment with an eviction or owed money on your rental history can be challenging.
How to Break a Lease in Minnesota on Your Own
It will be tough to break your lease with no fees if you simply want to move to a new apartment. Unless you are experiencing one of the above four reasons for breaking your lease, your best bet is to ask about subleasing.
Also, it's important to note other ways to resolve an issue that could cause you to break your lease. For example, if your landlord fails to make necessary repairs that affect your health or well-being, you can call a city inspector or even hold your rent in an escrow account and ask a court administrator to order the landlord to make the repairs.
Depending on the justification for breaking your lease, you will likely be required to give your landlord written notice, wait for court approval, and pay rent on time. DoNotPay understands the court system and what documentation is required for each case. Here is how to get started:
- Search Break My Lease on DoNotPay.
- Prepare a signed copy of your lease that you can use as a reference and enter the state the lease was signed in.
- Let us guide you through the 4 potential options.
- If you're a uniformed servicemember breaking a lease to fulfill your service obligations, we'll send your landlord an SCRA Protection Letter.
- If you're breaking your lease for a reason protected by your state's tenant laws, we'll write your landlord a letter detailing your protections for breaking the lease under the relevant law.
- If your reasons for breaking your lease aren't protected by federal or state law but you'd like to try to convince your landlord to let you break the lease through mutual agreement, we'll draft a hardship letter making your case to your landlord.
- If there are no remaining options for breaking the lease with protection but your state requires landlords to mitigate damages to tenants who break their leases, we'll notify your landlord of that obligation and minimize the remaining rent you have to pay.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
DoNotPay has a wide array of capabilities and knowledge of anything and everything legal. Often, we are put off by the inconvenience of:
- Drafting letters.
- Speaking to automated machines.
- Trying to decipher legal jargon when it comes to retrieving money owed to us, especially with complicated scenarios like filing property taxes and understanding the laws regarding power of attorneys.
DoNotPay has the customer in mind and may even introduce you to consumer rights you were utterly unaware of. Try it today!