My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of Minnesota.
I would like to get your opinions regarding my situation with my tenants on the interpretation of an automatic renewal least term. I own a condominium in the state of Minnesota. My tenants are a "corporate" tenant" and a "guest" tenant. The corporate tenant pays the rent and coordinates the temporary assignment and relocation of the guest. The original lease ran for 3 months from July 1, 2009 thru September 30, 2009. The renewal lease term runs for another 3 months from October 1, 2009 thru December 31, 2009. A 45-day notice is required to terminate the original lease and renewal lease. The renewal kicked in "automatically" since we or the tenant did not give a 45-day notice.
Minnesota Statute states the following regarding Definite Term Leases:
Some definite term leases spell out what kind of notice is needed to end the tenancy when the lease ends. Typically this is a written notice presented 30 to 60 days before the lease ends. Often such a requirement is part of an automatic renewal provision. Automatic renewal means if the tenant does not give notice he or she can be held to an additional period of time - for example, one or two months beyond the original term of the lease.
But if the automatic renewal is for an extra two months or more, the landlord must give the tenant written notice and call the tenantís attention to the automatic renewal provision. If the landlord does not, the automatic renewal provision cannot be enforced. The renewal notice must be given either by personal service or by registered or certified mail. It must be received by the tenant 15 to 30 days before the tenant has to give the landlord written notice to vacate.
I made the mistake of not giving the tenant written notice and calling the tenant's attention to the automatic renewal provision within the timeline specified. So, according to the statute, "the automatic renewal provision cannot be enforced."
On November 5, 2009 the tenant gave notice to terminate lease and vacate and on November 9, 2009 tenant pointed this clause to my attention. Guest Tenant vacated the property on November 25, 2009. Corporate Tenant is of the belief that everything is complete, finalized and that no further obligation is needed.
It is clear what the statute is saying about the notification. What is not clear to me is what it means by "unenforceable". Also, what are my rights as a landlord? Sure I may not be able to enforce the renewal provision, but does the lease at least "default" into a month-to-month term? If this is the case and since I received notice to terminate/vacate in the middle of November, then tenant is obligated to pay December's rent as well. Would you agree?
7/1/2009: Original Lease Term Begins
7/16/2009: 1st Day by landlord to give tenant written notice of automatic renewal provision
7/31/2009: Last Day by landlord to give tenant written notice of automatic renewal provision
8/15/2009: Deadline For Notification by tenant or landlord to terminate the original lease term.
9/30/2009: Original Lease Term Ends
10/1/2009: Renewal Lease Term Begins
11/5/2009: Received notification by tenant to terminate the renewal lease and vacate the premise by 12/31/2009.
11/9/2009: Received notification by tenant that premise will be vacated on November 14. Also brought to my attention the provision from the Minnesota State Attorney General website about proper notice for definite term tenancies.
11/15/2009: Deadline For Notification by tenant or landlord to terminate the renewal lease term.
11/25/2009: Condo "Officially" Vacated
12/31/2009: Renewal Lease Term Ends
I would really appreciate your review and thoughts. Do I have foot to stand on? Would it be in my best interest to pursue December's rent? I look forward to your feedback.
Landlord In Minnesota