Q: My stepfather's daughter wants me to give a Certificate of Rent Paid (CRP) form to her father, who lives in my home. However, no rent was paid. He did give me some cartons of cigarettes, which have a cash value, but my stepfather didn't give me any rent money until this month. Am I obligated to give him a CRP form?
A: Minnesota law requires owners or managing agents who have rental property, pay property taxes and rent living space to someone to furnish a CRP to each renter by Jan. 31, stating how much the renter paid in rent during the previous calendar year. If the renter moved before Dec. 31, the owner or agent may give the certificate to the renter when they move out, or mail the certificate to a forwarding address provided by their renter. The CRP must be made available to the renter by Jan. 31 of the year following the year in which the rent was paid. For example, if your stepfather paid rent for one month in 2019, then you would need to provide him with a CRP by Jan. 31, 2020. The owner or managing agent must keep a duplicate of each CRP or an equivalent record showing that same information for three years.
In your situation, your stepfather never paid rent for any month during the past year of 2019, so you do not need to provide him with a CRP this year. However, since he recently paid you rent money for one month during the current year of 2020, then next year, on or before Jan. 31, 2021, you will need to provide him with a CRP, which should include all the rent he paid for the entire year of 2020. Barring any oral or written agreement where cigarette cartons constitute rent, you are not required to give your stepfather a CRP this year.
Drug use in home
Q: My dad, who is in his 80s, and my sister live together, and both of their names are on their home. My nephew and his girlfriend are living in my dad and sister's home rent-free and doing drugs in the home, which is making my dad sick. Both my dad and sister have told them to leave, but they refuse. Would giving them a written eviction notice work?
A: In Minnesota, when relatives or others move into a home without signing a written lease, it is typically considered a tenancy-at-will, since there is a basic agreement allowing tenants to live there. Even though the tenants are not paying rent, the two homeowners let them move in, so now there is an oral lease, and notice must be given to terminate this lease. A tenancy-at-will may be terminated by giving the tenants a written notice, which is at least as long as the interval between the time rent is due or three months, whichever is less. Absent any drug use, and assuming your dad and sister never required a rent payment from the nephew and girlfriend, they would need to give them a three-month written notice to terminate their lease. In this case, however, if you believe there is drug use in the home, then the homeowners have the right to begin the eviction process immediately. Minnesota law states that any tenant who uses or allows drugs on the property voids their right to possession. This covenant is implied in every oral and written lease, and these tenants violated the covenant by having illegal controlled substances in the home, which terminates their lease. Filing an eviction action requires you to complete some easy paperwork at the county courthouse where the property is located. Typically, evictions are scheduled within one to two weeks of the date that the action gets filed. The nephew and girlfriend will most likely leave on their own after receiving the eviction notice. However, if they do not leave on their own, then a sheriff will remove the tenants from your dad and sister's home.
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 email@example.com, or write to Kelly Klein c/o Star Tribune, 650 3rd Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488. Information provided by readers is not confidential.