HousingLink Blog

Shannon's Story: What to do when a landlord won't make repairs

by Josh Dye | Jul 25, 2016

Shannon moved into her apartment three months ago, and now her refrigerator is broken and she noticed an unsafe level of mold around the baseboards. And there are 9 months left on her lease.

She asked the landlord in writing to repair the refrigerator and take care of the mold problem. By law the landlord has 14 days after receiving the letter to make the repairs, but Shannon has heard nothing and seen no action.

How frustrating!

Shannon didn't know what to do, so she asked her friends over coffee how they would handle it.

Beth, after taking a sip of her caramel macchiato said, "I would stop paying my rent until the $&%&$* landlord fixes the place!"

Kathleen, enjoying espresso, chimed in, "I would move out. That will teach him a lesson!" #MovingOUT #BadLandlord

Megan, after finishing her Irish coffee, offered, "I would take a bunch of pictures and post them on Instagram." #Mold #HateMyApartment

Realizing that sometimes friends have the worst advice when it comes to a legal matter like renting an apartment, Shannon decided to see what MN Landlord Tenant Law says.

She learned that the right decision was to file a Rent Escrow Action.

"Who knew?!" Shannon exclaimed. "I am so glad I protected myself from making a huge mistake by taking the time to learn my rights. Had I followed Beth or Kathleen's advice, the landlord could have evicted me. What a nightmare!"

Rent Escrow Action in short:

  1. Go to the courthouse where you live and file a rent escrow action. Deposit your full rent payment with the court.
  2. A court date is set 10 - 14 days after the money is deposited.
  3. Notify the landlord of the court date. If the cost of the repair is less than $15,000, the court will let the landlord know by mail (at the address the renter gave the court) the date. If the repair is more than $15,000, the renter has to physically hand the papers to the landlord at least 5 days but not more than 10 days before the court date.

Ramsey County has a helpful rent escrow action guide here.

Hennepin County tells you how to file a rent escrow action at the bottom of this page.