Q: I received an eviction notice the last time I rented a house. The eviction was dismissed by a court, but it is preventing me from renting a home now because it still shows up on my record for any potential landlord to see when they run a background check. How can I get a court eviction off my record?
A: Under Minnesota law, a tenant may request an expungement, which means sealing a court record from public view, of their court eviction case, by filing a motion with the court. If the court finds your eviction case was without basis in fact or law, then the court may grant the expungement because your interest in having it expunged, or removed from your record, far outweighs the public’s interest, such as a potential landlord, in knowing about your eviction.
A court may also grant an expungement of your eviction case if the property you were renting was involved in a contract for deed cancellation or mortgage foreclosure. However, if that is the case, you need to meet certain requirements for this type of expungement to apply. The requirements include that the time for contract cancellation or foreclosure redemption has expired and you left the property before the eviction process began, or you were a tenant during the eviction process and you never received notice to vacate before the eviction began.
Minnesota law allows courts to expunge eviction cases in only a small number of situations where the tenant can prove the landlord’s case is without basis in fact or law. In such cases, the expungement is clearly in the interest of justice, and the interest of justice is not outweighed by the public’s interest to know.
Q: I signed a one-year lease in June for $995 a month, including utilities. My landlord says I am using too much air conditioning, and wants to raise my rent $50 per month. Can they do that?
A: The short answer is no. Assuming your lease covers utilities, then your landlord cannot raise your rent unless you agree to the increase in writing. In addition, an extra $50 per month seems like a lot just for air, when you will not be using it in the winter months. You should consider talking to your landlord to see if the two of you can reach an accommodation, but you do not legally have to agree to the rental increase.
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.