I Bought A Minneapolis Duplex, What Can I Do With The Tenants?

If you buy a duplex in Minnesota, odds are good you may inherit the previous owners tenants. This can be a good or a bad thing.

Sometimes they are paying market rent, and paying it on time. Often, they are not.

Sometimes they are on long-term leases. Often, the leases are month to month.

Depending on the terms of those contracts, you may be able to notify tenants to vacate in 30 days.

If the residents are under month to month leases, you may give notice immediately theyhis clock starts from the first full rental period follwing notice. In other words, you can’t give notice in the middle of the month and expect the tenants to be out the middle of the following month.

Of course, if the leases issued by the previous owner have not expired, you must honor its terms until it has.

So what do you do if there is not now, nor has there ever been a lease? It would seem logical that the terms of a month-to-month tenancy would apply.

However, the law sees it differently.

I recently acquired a South Minneapolis duplex that was an estate. The owner and the tenant were friends. As a result, the owner simply let the tenant move in, exchanging “rent” for help around the property.

As the law sees it, since the tenant had no knowledge of having to pay rent, he or she needs ample notice that is about to change. It isn’t a 30 or 60 day notice. It’s a full 90 days notice!

Had I understood this when I wrote an offer, I would have asked the estate to give the tenant notice immediately. The consequence of my not knowing is the rehab work that needs to be done on that unit before I can charge market rent is delayed by three months.

That puts me with a vacancy in the middle of winter. Those can be tough to fill.

Lesson learned.