Q: Last year I rented from a landlord who was very unresponsive and didn't seem to care about his job or his tenants. I'm still waiting to receive a Certificate of Rent Paid (CRP) from him. Phone calls are futile; he never answers his phone. I thought he was legally required to send me a CRP. What advice can you give me?
A: All Minnesota rental property owners, managers or operators are required to give each tenant a completed CRP form (one CRP for a married couple) by Jan. 31, 2018, unless they are exempt from paying taxes or have a manufactured-home cooperative park. The CRP form states how much the tenant paid in rent during the previous calendar year. The Minnesota Department of Revenue keeps a mailing list of owners of rental property and will send CRPs and instructions to owners every year. Since your landlord failed to give you a CRP, you may request a Rent Paid Affidavit (RPA) form from the department by calling 651-296-3781 or 1-800-652-9094 (toll-free). The department will tell you what to do next and will most likely request the following information: your landlord's name, address and phone number; address of the rental unit and the county where it's located; your name, current address and daytime phone number; your Social Security number; the number of renters in your unit, dates it was rented and amount of rent paid each month; whether you receive rent subsidies; and if the rental unit is an assisted-living facility.
When you file a property tax refund return with an RPA, you won't be able to file it electronically, and you must include receipts and/or canceled checks as proof of rent paid. The department may try to contact your landlord to confirm the rent paid.
Landlords can be fined up to $100 for each time they fail to provide a CRP. Filing with an RPA alerts the department that a landlord might be attempting to commit tax fraud by hiding rental income. Additional information is available online at revenue.state.mn.us. Or you can write to: Minnesota Revenue, Mail Station 5510, St. Paul, MN 55146-5510.
Kelly Klein is a Minneapolis attorney. Participation in this column does not create an attorney/client relationship with Klein. Do not rely on this column for legal opinions. Consult an attorney regarding your particular issues. E-mail renting questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Information provided by readers is not confidential.