Renter has little recourse in noise-complaint dispute

  • Article by: RENTING and THE LAW KELLY KLEIN
  • Updated: November 20, 2007 - 3:36 PM

Q I live in an apartment and the managers say that they have received anonymous complaints against me, mostly concerning noise. I live in the basement with one other tenant across the hall. They and other nearby tenants say that there is no noise. I think I'm being harassed. Most of the time I'm not home or am sleeping.

Q I live in an apartment and the managers say that they have received anonymous complaints against me, mostly concerning noise. I live in the basement with one other tenant across the hall. They and other nearby tenants say that there is no noise. I think I'm being harassed. Most of the time I'm not home or am sleeping.

The police were called twice this summer, but no warnings or noise violations were issued. The managers have accused me of vandalizing the building (the police were not involved), and I was informed that they are not renewing my lease. I spoke with the manager, and she sided with the anonymous complainer and said that I was childish.

I don't want anything bad on my rental history and will move because this whole situation is not worth the trouble.

Also, I was the caretaker for the company and they let me go partly because of the complaints. I think the person making the anonymous complaints is the new caretaker.

Can I do anything to clear my name?

A A landlord has the right to refuse to renew a lease, so long as the nonrenewal is not based on an illegal reason, such as discrimination or retaliation. Based on your question, it doesn't sound like discrimination or retaliation are factors in the decision.

If you want your lease renewed, you should discuss the noise complaints with your landlord. If the landlord refuses to believe you and won't renew your lease, then it's time to move on, because you essentially have no recourse.

It may be better for you to offer to move if you and the landlord can agree on a written reference, which states that the landlord decided not to renew, that you paid your rent on time and that you were a good tenant. That reference would be all the landlord could say about your tenancy. If the landlord refuses, there is little you can do.

Provisional license counts

Q I rent one side of a double bungalow. Can my landlord legally rent to me with just a provisional license? If not, what legal action can I take against my landlord?

Also, I did not receive a certificate of rent paid. Can I make them give me one?

A Several municipalities in the metropolitan area have adopted ordinances setting license requirements.

In Minneapolis, all rental properties must be licensed. A provisional license is issued until the property has been thoroughly inspected and has received an approved license.

I don't know if other Minnesota cities have provisional license schemes.

In Minneapolis, a landlord can rent a property once the property is provisionally licensed.

You can obtain a certificate of rent paid by contacting the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

Do not rely on advice in this column regarding a legal situation until you consult a qualified attorney; information provided by readers is not confidential; participation in this column does not create an attorney/client relationship, and no such relationship is created without a retainer agreement with Klein. If you have questions concerning renting, you can e-mail her at kklein@kleinpa.com, post your questions at www.startribune.com/kellyklein or write in care of Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488.

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