Minnesota has clear and detailed landlord/tenant laws, which makes it easy for you to create a rental application that is legal and valid.
Still, people often misunderstand some parts of the rental application process in Minnesota. These details include application fees and conducting background checks.
Landlords should use an attorney-drafted rental application to properly vet potential tenants before offering a lease agreement in Minnesota.
Minnesota Rental Application Fees
Fees are often a part of the rental application process. Collecting these fees can protect you and increase the chances of securing good and reliable tenants.
Minnesota rental application fees, which you charge upfront when the applicant turns in the form, have quite a few stipulations (Minnesota Statutes Section 504B.173).
You can only ask for payment if you know there is a rental unit available for rent or one will be available soon, and you can only use this fee to pay for screening the potential tenant.
You must provide the applicant with a receipt for the fee paid upon request of the applicant.
In addition, you must disclose specific details to the applicant, including the screening service you will use, the background checks you will do, and how you will use that information to make the rental decision.
The law requires you to hold the money until you screen each applicant. If you reject the prospective renter, you must notify the applicant within 14 days and give the person an explanation of why you denied the application.
You also need to return any portion of the money you didn’t use for screening costs.
You can legally collect a security deposit, including one for pets (Minnesota Statutes Section 504B.178). The law does not limit how much you may charge.
You must return the security deposit, including annual non-compounded interest, within three weeks after the end of the lease.
You are permitted to keep some or all of the deposit to cover any damages caused beyond normal wear and tear or to pay outstanding utility charges or rent.
Authorization for Background Check
Along with a rental application in Minnesota, you should conduct a background check on the applicant. The inquiry may include looking at the person’s credit, criminal, rental, and employment histories.
You should notify the applicant you will do this and secure their consent to the background check.
How To Conduct an Eviction Record Search in Minnesota
Part of the background check should include looking at the applicant’s past eviction records. You can do this in several ways.
- Perform a public records search on Minnesota Court Records Online (MCRO). You can search using the person’s name for any court documents dated after July 1, 2015.
- Some case information may also be available using Minnesota Public Access (MPA) Remote. To use this system, you will agree to the terms and conditions, select the location, choose the type of record, and then enter the applicant’s name.
- You can also access statewide records at your local district (trial) courthouse. You will use a terminal to search eviction records using the information provided by the applicant.
Other Resources for Landlords in Minnesota
As a landlord, you can access the state’s fair housing law (Minnesota Statutes Section 363A.09) to ensure you comply with all legal requirements when choosing renters and creating your rental application in Minnesota.
The Minnesota sex offender registry is another handy resource. You may wish to provide this to your renters so that they can check the area for any offenders who may live nearby.
How to Write a Rental Application
Follow the steps below to write a rental application in Minnesota.
Step 1 – Fill in Property Address Information
Write the date of the rental application and the address of the rental property.
Step 2 – Collect Basic Rental Applicant Information
This section provides the applicant(s) basic identifying information about themselves.
Step 3 – Collect Applicant’s Residence History
In this section, the applicant(s) provides their residence history including addresses, dates of residency, and reasons for moving.
Step 4 – Gather Applicant’s Employment History
This section is for the applicant(s) to provide current and previous employment information and other sources of income.
Step 5 – Gather Applicant’s Financial History
This section is for the applicant(s) to provide bank account and credit card information.
Step 6 – Collect References
The applicant(s) provides personal references’ names and contact information in this section.
Step 7 – Additional Questions and Verification
This section contains additional questions to determine more information about the applicant such as smoking or pets.
Sample Minnesota Rental Application Form
Download the sample Minnesota rental application form below for free. You can also use our document builder to create your custom application.