Q I rent a house in Minneapolis, and I want to get my renter's property tax refund, but my landlord hasn't given me my Certificate of Rent Paid (CRP). What should I do?
A Under state law, the owner of any homestead rental property must furnish a CRP to the renter by Feb. 1 for the previous year. Tenants get a partial refund for the property taxes they pay indirectly through their rent, which is based on their income and rent amount.
In order to qualify, a tenant must rent a property-tax-paying unit. If a tenant is renting from the government, a private college or other person or entity that is not required to pay property taxes, the tenant is not eligible for a refund. This might be why you haven't received your CRP.
If you didn't receive a CRP by Feb. 1, you should contact your landlord in writing to request yours and to make sure the property you are renting qualifies for a tax refund.
To claim your credit, you must file a property tax refund return form (M-1RP) along with a CRP to the Minnesota Department of Revenue. If your landlord fails to provide your CRP form by March 1, a Rent Paid Affidavit can be requested from the Department of Revenue. The property tax refund return for the previous year must be filed with the state by Aug. 15, so you still have plenty of time.
If you have questions, call the Department of Revenue at 651-296-3781.How to collect a judgment
Q A couple of years ago, a landlord took rent and damage deposits from my son and others at his off-campus college housing and then didn't pay the utilities. This resulted in the city housing inspectors closing the house and forcing everyone to leave when the electricity and heat were shut off.
My son took the landlord to small-claims court, which awarded him about $2,000 in lost rent, utilities reimbursement and damages when the landlord failed to appear.
Unfortunately, the sheriff's department in this Minnesota college town said it was my son's responsibility to track down the landlord's assets in order to collect, something he wasn't equipped to do. After graduation, he came back home, effectively ending his attempts to collect. What can we do now?
A Contact the Student Housing Department of the university to report the landlord. Many universities keep a record of such illegal behavior and will prevent other students from renting the landlord's apartments.
Many universities offer legal services to students in your son's situation for free or little cost. If the university is too small to offer legal services on campus, often the student services department will know whom to contact in the local legal community to handle such cases. There also are collection agencies that can assist you.
If the university can't help, your son could contact HOMELine (1-866-866-3546), which handles cases like this outside the Twin Cities.
Another possibility would be to find a reasonable attorney in the city where your son attended college. With $2,000 at stake, your son could work out a deal where the attorney takes a percentage of what is collected from the landlord. The State Bar Association (1-800-882-6722) could give you contacts.
Finally, the state attorney general's website (www.ag.state.mn.us) has information on how to collect a judgment under the conciliation court tab on the consumer rights page.
Kelly Klein is a Minneapolis attorney. Participation in this column does not create an attorney/client relationship with Klein. Do not rely on advice in this column for legal opinions. Consult an attorney regarding your particular issues. E-mail renting questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Kelly Klein c/o Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488. Information provided by readers is not confidential.