Can I Sue My Landlord for Unfair Pricing?

One of the biggest expenses residents in Minnesota face is rent. You need to know your rights before moving into a rental space. There are certain circumstances that make it illegal to raise rent amounts. The rights and duties of landlords are formed based on many factors such as federal law, state statutes, local ordinances, as well as safety and housing codes and court decisions.

When determining whether you can sue your landlord for unfair pricing – you can, but only in certain situations – we need to look at rental pricing overall.

When can a landlord increase rent?

You should know how much your rent payments will be before you sign a contract with a landlord. The landlord can legally raise the rent, but how they do so depends on the type of lease you have.

Periodic Lease

A periodic lease is one which is set for an indefinite period of time. We often see this type of lease used when a fixed-term lease has expired and moves into a periodic lease. With a periodic lease, the landlord can raise the rent by any amount and as often as they want. Minnesota offers no rent control except in situations where the rental in question is public or subsidized housing.

However, the landlord must give written notice no later than 11:59 p.m. of the day before the next rental period begins. The rent increase will not take effect until the second rental period following the notice.

Fixed-Term Lease

A fixed-term lease is one in which the terms of the rent amount are laid out and set for the entirety of the lease agreement. The lease agreement must lay out exactly how and when the rent increase will happen, if one is agreed to at all. If there is nothing in the agreement about a rent increase, the landlord cannot increase the rent. However, they do not have to continue to lease the property to you after the end of the agreement, at which time they may ask for more rent to continue the rental arrangements.

When can a renter challenge a rent increase in Minnesota?

We want to discuss a few of the ways a renter can challenge a rent increase in Minnesota because this is where a lawsuit may come in.

Your rent was raised due to discrimination

The Minnesota Human Rights Agreement (MHRA) says that it is illegal to discriminate against a person in a housing situation due to their:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Creed
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Sex
  • Marital status
  • Familial status
  • Disability
  • Public assistance
  • Sexual orientation

If you think you have been discriminated against by your landlord because of any of those factors, secure an attorney to help you immediately. You have one year after the discrimination happened to file a complaint.

Your rent was raised to retaliate against you for exercising your rights

Your landlord cannot raise your rent in retaliation against you for exercising your rights as a renter under Minnesota law. This includes reporting instances of discrimination, unsafe living conditions, complaining about privacy concerns, calling the police to your property, or other lease violations. Retaliation is illegal, and you may be able to file a lawsuit if this occurs.

Your landlord gave an improper notice

You could challenge a rent increase if your landlord failed to give the proper notice before raising the rent.

Please take the steps necessary to protect your rights. Know what your lease says before you sign and never accept discrimination or retaliation from your landlord.