Q: I failed to give a two-month notice to terminate my one-year lease. I was unaware of this requirement in my lease. From everything I’ve read on the subject, Minnesota law requires that the landlord furnish notice of the “automatic-renewal” clause in a lease, which, in my case, the landlord failed to do.
If the lease requires a two-month notice to terminate, does that have the same effect as “automatic renewal” of a specified additional period of time of two months?
Does giving notice in the 11th month of a lease extend the lease term one additional month, and excuse the fact that I did not give notice earlier? Since I am in the final month of a 12-month lease, and I haven’t given notice yet, is the lease deemed renewed for an additional two months?
A: First, there is no clear rule that says the 60-day notice requirement automatically falls under the automatic-renewal provisions. Minnesota law sets out a series of steps a landlord must follow to automatically renew for any period of two months or more, including providing a written notice directing the tenant’s attention to the renewal provision at least 15 days, but not more than 30 days, before the tenant would be required to give a notice to quit.
Some courts do consider this rule to cover all 60-day-notice requirements, but still enforce a 30-day notice, which you have apparently not provided, either. Other courts do not believe that the 60-day-notice requirement falls under Minnesota law, and they enforce the 60-day-notice provisions. While many argue that a lease that requires a 60-day notice is the law, they do not always win.
You should talk with your landlord to see if you can provide a 30-day notice and leave. If not, you are stuck, unless you are willing to fight it out in court, understanding that you might lose. If you do reach an agreement with your landlord, make sure to get it in writing.
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.