I recently moved from a rental house in MN where I was renting one room. Two other tenants occupied the home as well.

During my stay there I experienced smoking inside the house (legal and illegal substances which the landlord knows about) despite the house being advertised as "smoke-free" and I decided to move out. I could not find a place for the month following my lease, so I paid for one additional month, which the landlord deposited. About 10 days into the final month of my lease, the landlord texted me saying that I was moving out on the 30th of that month (one day earlier than the lease stated), giving me about 20 days to find a place to rent. The landlord took about two weeks to give me the money back.

Now that I am out, it is one day past the due date for my security deposit (3 weeks from move out) and I have not received any communication prior to my contacting the landlord today. I was told that the security deposit was being used to clean the "entire house" from the dust leftover from my drywall repairs (for screws for shelves) in the single room that I rented (of which the door was closed and the dust was swept and vacuumed with witnesses - I might add that I have worked professionally in home renovations and drywall mudding is something I am good at doing). Additionally the landlord is saying that the entire room needed to be primed and painted to match texture, which I assume is the property of the paint itself (I asked for the paint that they used to be provided so that I could touch up the patches but I did not receive any).

As a note, I did the drywall repairs over several days. There was no visible accumulation of dust anywhere in the house except right under the walls where I was sanding, which was swept and vacuumed. The finish was smooth and professional.

Currently the landlord is saying that my deposit will not cover the cleaning company fee and that I owe extra.


1. Is the landlord allowed to add additional charges that the security deposit didn't cover, or in other words, do I have to pay more?

2. Does the fact that the landlord failed to give a me proper, written, 30-day notice to vacate the premise (especially after accepting my payment for the next month) hold any sway in this outcome?

3. Who can I contact about the smoking of illegal substances and failure to give me a proper notice? I read somewhere that you are supposed to report abuses to the "Rental Authority" in MN.

4. The landlord is past due on his return of my security deposit and claims that he is waiting on a bill from the cleaners. What are my rights here? Is he supposed to complete everything and notify me of the details within the specified 3-week period that my deposit must be returned?

  • It is important to know whether the rental is subject to the MN landlord-tenant laws. Landlord's failure to honor the full period you paid for would entitle you to a reimbursement of the prorated rate (here, the equivalent of one day) and/or the additional cost you incurred for having to spend that night elsewhere. – Iñaki Viggers Aug 22 at 20:04
  • Did you lease the entire house or only part of it? If part of it, did the landlord live in the house and what relationship did you have to the other renters? – Dale M Aug 22 at 21:23
  • @DaleM I rented one room in the house. Two other tenants with no relation to me plus a family member of the owner lived in the house. – Craig Aug 22 at 23:58
  • It seems likely you were a boarder, not a tenant. Usually different laws apply. – Dale M Aug 23 at 0:03
  • @DaleM I was a renter. Never heard of the term boarder until now. Paying $600/month or more is what you can expect here for the price of a decent room with use of a kitchen. Since rents are rising fast and not enough apartments are built, this is what a lot of people are doing - renting rooms. I signed a lease. – Craig Aug 23 at 11:53

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