Q: I have not yet received my Certificate of Rent Paid form from my landlord, and it’s now the middle of February. What should I do?
A: All rental property owners, managers or landlords are required to provide a Certificate of Rent Paid (CRP) form to any person who rented from them at any time during 2013, unless the property is tax-exempt. You should contact your landlord and let them know they were required to provide a CRP form by Jan. 31. It may be just an oversight, since many landlords are dealing with issuing and distributing many of these forms to their tenants during this period. If your landlord fails to provide a CRP form by March 1, you can contact the Minnesota Department of Revenue to request a Rent Paid Affidavit, which will allow you to submit your information and a request for your refund. If you have any other questions about how to apply for your refund, contact the department’s tax help line at 651-296-3781 if you live in the metro area, or 1-800-652-9094 if you live outside the metro area.
Q: I have lived in the same apartment complex since July 1990. My lease was originally for six months and then month-to-month thereafter. The rental company has been trying for a few years to get me and other long-term renters to sign annual leases, but so far none of us have done it. They finally sent us leases that still read “month-to-month,” which I have signed and returned.
On Jan. 10, I received a letter under my door, stating that my lease would expire on Jan. 31. They are offering a six-month lease or a 12-month lease for the same rate I am currently paying. However, for the month-to-month lease, the company is raising the rent by $100. Can the rental company raise my rent for the same lease with only a few days’ notice?
A: Since you are currently under a month-to-month lease, the landlord must give you a one-month notice before raising your rent. For example, if the landlord wants to raise your rent for the month of February, then the notice needs to be under your door or in your mailbox by Dec. 31. Since you are on a month-to-month lease, the rental company can raise your rent after your month expires, however, the company must give you a full month’s notice. Therefore, the rental company can increase your rent for the month-to-month lease you are currently under, but it doesn’t become effective until March 1, because you didn’t receive notice until Jan. 10. The rental company can charge more for month-to-month leases if that is what they want to do, and they can raise your rent so long as they give you proper notice. You should contact them and let them know that their notice is ineffective, but that you are willing to sign the lease with the term that works best for you, and set that up so it starts at the proper time (i.e., March 1).
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.