2nd District  

Judicial Branch Home > 2nd Home > Civil Division > Housing Court >

Rent Escrow Action

MN Statute 504B.385

Please read the complete instructions before you begin.  If you do not understand these instructions, you may need to contact an attorney.  Court staff cannot give you legal advice.  


A rent escrow action is a legal way for a residential tenant to bring a claim that requires the landlord to make needed repairs or to comply with the terms of the lease. 

The court can only hear cases involving tenants who currently live in the residential property that is located in the courts own county.

A tenant cannot be evicted on the basis of demanding repairs, calling a Housing Inspector or starting a rent escrow action.  The tenant can be evicted for not paying the rent due to the landlord up to the time of filing the rent escrow action or not depositing the full amount with the court at the time the action is filed.  The landlord may allege that there are other reasons the tenant should be evicted. 

One of the following must occur before the tenant may file:

     1.  The tenant must give the landlord written notice listing the needed repairs or what part of the lease that the landlord has not completed.  The notice must have been personally delivered to the landlord by a disinterested third party or sent to the place where the rent is usually paid.  It must tell the landlord that the repairs must be made within 14 days or a rent escrow action will be filed and this time period must have passed without the repairs being completed.  Keep a copy of the letter to bring to court.  

      2. A local Housing inspector completed a code violation report and the deadline the inspector gave the landlord to make repairs has passed without the repairs being completed.  The tenant must ask the inspector for a copy of the report.

      3. A local Housing inspector completed a code violation report and the tenant believes the inspector gave the landlord too much time to complete the repairs.  The tenant must ask the inspector for a copy of the report.


      You must complete an Affidavit of Rent Escrow. This form is available at the Housing Court Office located at Room 170 of the Ramsey County Courthouse, 15 West Kellogg Boulevard, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102

   Attach a copy of the Code Inspection Report by the inspector OR the tenant’s letter to the landlord requesting repairs.

   Pay the filing fee which is currently $80.00 or obtain an order from the court waiving the fee.

       Deposit with the court all rent money owed.  If you do not deposit the full amount owed, the landlord may file a counterclaim for possession of the rental property or a separate eviction action.  Housing court will tell you what forms of payment are accepted. Personal checks and money orders are usually not accepted while cash or cashier’s checks may be preferred.  


  • Once your Affidavit has been filed with the court, the clerk will prepare a Notice of Hearing for Rent Escrow and attach a copy of the Affidavit of Rent Escrow and either the code violation report or your letter to the landlord requesting repairs.
  • A court date will be set within 10 to 14 days after the rent is deposited with the court unless there is a pending eviction action.  If so, both the eviction and the rent escrow will be set for the same date (MN Statute 504B.385s8)

NOTIFYING (SERVING) THE LANDLORD OF THE COURT DATE                            (MN Statute 504b.385s5)

Cost of Repairs is $15,000 or less:

  • The court clerk will serve the landlord at the address provided by the tenant. Service will be by first class mail. 

Cost of Repairs is more than $15,000:

  • The tenant is responsible for arranging for personal service on the landlord(s).  Personal service is where the papers are physically handed to the landlord.   Service may be done by anyone 18 years of age or older who is not a party to the case.  The tenant cannot serve the landlord.  Service must be made at least five days but not more than ten days before the date of the hearing.   The person doing the service must complete an Affidavit of Personal Service and sign it before a Notary Public.  This form is available from the court administrator’s office.  The tenant must file the affidavit of service with the court at least three days prior to the court date. 

 IF THE REPAIRS ARE MADE PRIOR TO THE COURT DATE, the tenant must notify the court in writing that the needed repairs have been made, and the clerk will release the rent to the landlord.  The hearing will be cancelled.  If the tenant and landlord enter into a written agreement that is signed by all parties and distributes the rent between them, the clerk must release the rent in accordance with the written agreement.  

Download Rent Escrow Forms