Q I live in an apartment in Minneapolis, which I love except for my noisy neighbors. I have complained to my landlord about the noise, but he tells me they have every right to make some noise. I am tired of hearing their music late at night. Lately, they have been arguing until the early hours of the morning. I'm losing sleep and having trouble functioning at work. What are my rights?
A First, contact your neighbors and try to resolve the problem in a peaceful manner. If that doesn't work, and your landlord won't assist you in getting them to quiet down, you have several options:
• Request an early termination of your lease from your landlord. If your landlord agrees to terminate your lease early, get the agreement in writing.
• File a nuisance suit against your noisy neighbors, but you would have to prove monetary damages. You might also be able to get an injunction to stop the noise. Both will cost you filing fees and possibly attorney fees.
• File a rent escrow action in the county where you live if you want to avoid attorney fees and represent yourself under Minnesota statute 504B.385. The paperwork is at the county office, and you could get help there to complete it.
In a rent escrow action, you must first send your landlord a written letter stating the problem and requesting that he fix it within 14 days. Make sure you sign and date the letter, and keep two copies -- one to attach to your rent escrow action if you end up having to file it and one for your records.
If the noise problem isn't fixed in 14 days, then you complete the paperwork, attach your letter to the landlord and file it with the court along with the filing fee. You will be required to place your rent money with the county when it becomes due, so don't forget you still have to pay rent.
If you prevail in your rent escrow action, the court might lower your rent payments, require the landlord to eliminate the noise problem or allow you to terminate your lease early if you request it.Looking for a renters refund
Q I am a renter, and I want to file for a renters refund. But it is after Jan. 31, and I haven't received anything from my landlord yet. What should I do?
A As a tenant, you are entitled to file for a rent credit, commonly referred to as a renters refund, with the state. Every landlord is required to send a Certificate of Rent Paid (CRP) to each tenant (or tenant family) identifying the amount of rent paid by the tenant multiplied by the refund formula.
The landlord is required to send the CRP to all tenants no later than Jan. 31 for the previous year or face a $100 penalty per CRP. Your landlord is late in providing the CRP.
If you don't get yours soon, contact your landlord. If that doesn't resolve the problem, contact the Minnesota Department of Revenue. If you have questions about how to file for the rent credit, go to the department's website (www.taxes.state.mn.us) and search for "rent credit," or contact a tax professional.Interest rate is 1 percent
Q I am a landlord in Minneapolis, and I need to know the interest rate I am required to pay on security deposits I've held for 2008, 2009 and 2010 in Minnesota.
A The annual percentage rate is 1 percent for each of those three years and has remained at that rate since 2003, under Minnesota statute 504B.178. The law, which is for simple noncompounded interest, applies to any deposit of money that is held by the landlord for the tenant based on an agreement, such as a security deposit.
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.