Recently there have been some significant changes to the Landlord/Tenant statute that was enacted at the end of May. As a courtesy to our clients and friends of the firm, we wanted to be sure you knew about these. Below are some of the highlights.
Retaining abandoned personal property(504B.271). For years, Landlords have had to retain personal property abandoned by tenants for at least 60 days before the landlord my sell or otherwise dispose of the personal property. This 60-day period has now been reduced to 28 days from the time of abandonment.
Punitive damages related to personal property (504B.271). In the past, if the Landlord failed to retain personal property for the statutory period, or failed to return personal property upon demand, then landlord was liable for actual damages and also punitive damages of up to $300. The punitive damages component has now been increased to twice the actual damages or $1,000, whichever is greater.
Temporary New Laws to Evict Hold Over Tenants after Foreclosure (504B.285)(Effective Immediately).
Limit on late fees (504B.177). Late fees are now specifically capped at a maximum of eight percent (8%) of the overdue rent payment. In addition, late fees cannot be charged unless a written lease provision allows for it. For the landlord, allowable late fees are now specifically defined by law not to be "interest or liquidated damages." These provisions apply only to leases entered into or renewed on or after January 1, 2011.
Tenant's statutory right to recover attorney fees (504B.172). A lease cannot limit the recovery of attorneys' fees to only the landlord. If the lease specifies that the landlord may recover attorneys' fees in an action between the landlord and the tenant, then the tenant is, by statute, entitled to attorneys' fees if the tenant prevails "in the same type of action, under the same circumstances, and the to the same extent as specified in the lease" for the landlord. This provision applies to new leases entered into on or after August 1, 2011, and renewed on or after August 1, 2012.
For more information on these changes, you may contact Joel A. Hilgendorf at 952-941-4005 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or any of our real estate attorneys.
Landlord/Tenant statute changes