Emergency Tenant Remedies Action (ETRA)
An Emergency Tenant Remedy Action, or ETRA, is an action a tenant may file for emergency relief under Minn. Stat. § 504B.395, subdivision 1
. A person may file an ETRA to petition the court for relief in cases of emergencies that include but are not limited to:
- Loss of Running Water
- Loss of Hot Water
- Loss of Heat
- Loss of Electricity
- Loss of Sanitary Facilities (i.e. toilet, shower/bathtub, etc.)
- Loss of Other Essential Services or Facilities that the landlord is responsible for providing to the tenant
In order to file an ETRA, the tenant must do the following:
Once the petition is filed, the referee will review the petition to determine if an emergency hearing is needed.
These matters are typically scheduled quickly. If the court determines there is a problem caused by the landlord, the court will order the problem to be corrected immediately. Once the hearing is held, the court will decide how to proceed with the case.
Tenant Remedy Action (TRA)
A Tenant Remedy Action, or TRA, is an action that is similar in nature to a Rent Escrow, but typically contains more complicated procedures than a Rent Escrow Action per Minn.Stat. § 504B.395
. Typically a Tenant Remedy Action may be regarding issues such as…
- A health or housing code violation
- A violation of the Landlord's obligation to keep the rental unit in reasonable repair
- A violation of an oral or written rental agreement or lease
Sometimes a non-profit or city can bring the action forward on behalf of the entire building’s tenants with a TRA.
Before bringing forward a TRA to court, a tenant should talk to the landlord about the needed repairs and try to get the landlord to fix them. If the landlord does not make the repairs within a reasonable time, the tenant should do the following:
- Notify the local housing, health, energy or fire inspector (If there is one)
- Get a written copy of the inspector’s report. This describes the problem and allows the landlord a certain number of days to repair it. If no inspector has been used, the tenant must inform the landlord, in writing, of the repair problem at least 14 days before filing the TRA.
- Wait for the required time to pass and if the repair work has not begun or progressed, bring the TRA to district court. In court, the tenant must produce evidence that the problem exists and provide the inspector’s report (if there is one). The tenant must also explain how the problem can be fixed.
Note: You may be required to pay your rent into court before your hearing takes place.
A Rent Escrow Action is an action or petition that may be filed by a tenant that involves non-emergency repairs per Minn. Stat. § 504B.385
. A Rent Escrow action is intended to remedy non-emergency repairs that impair the enjoyment or habitability of the property. These non-emergency repairs may include but are not limited to:
- Fire Prevention Violation
- Bed Bugs
- Housing Maintenance Violations
- Vermin Infestations
NOTE: For issues regarding loss of water, heat, or immediate sanitary health of the tenants or other essential services or facilities provided by the landlord, an Emergency Tenant Remedy Action should be filed.
Rent Escrow actions may be filed after following specific procedures. For specific requirements to file a rent escrow action, see Minn. Stat. § 504B.385.
To file a Rent Escrow Action, the tenant must do the following:
- Pay the filing fee (unless the filing fee is ordered waived due to low income)
- Complete an Affidavit of Rent Escrow, providing the address of the property owner and agent, manager or caretaker, if different from the owner (No P.O. Boxes)
- Provide the court with a copy of a letter sent to the landlord, at least 14 days prior to filing the Rent Escrow case, detailing the non-emergency repair issue(s) that need to be remedied, or a certified copy of a housing inspector’s report
- Pay into court any rent that is due to the landlord prior to the hearing date (cash or certified funds only)
After this all has been done, the Housing Court clerk’s office will schedule a date 10 to 14 days from the day the filing was accepted.
If the repair amount is $15,000 or less, the court will serve notice of the action on the landlord by mail. If the repair amount is over $15,000, the filing party (tenant) must arrange to have another adult who is not involved in the case serve notice on the landlord.
Learn how to Expunge an Eviction or Housing Court Record »
What should I do after I get an expungement?
What can I do if the court does not grant my request for an expungement?
- Check the court records to be sure that the expunged case is no longer public.
- Ask the court clerk for the instructions and forms packet on “Notifying Tenant Screening Companies About Your Expungement.”
- If your request is denied because of lack of service or untimely service, you will have to begin again by re-filing your Motion for Expungement. However, excessive re-filings may result in the assessment of sanctions against the filing party.
- If your request is denied for other reasons, you may want to consult an attorney to see if you have other options.
UNLAWFUL EXCLUSION OR REMOVAL; ACTION FOR RECOVERY OF POSSESSION
It is unlawful for a landlord to physically lock out a tenant from the tenant’s rental unit or otherwise prevent a tenant from living there (for example, by removing locks, doors, or windows from the rental unit) without a court order. A tenant who has been unlawfully locked out may petition the district court to get back in.
The petition must:
1. Provide a description of the rental unit.
2. Provide the owner’s name.
3. State the facts that make the lockout or exclusion unlawful.
4. Request that the tenant be given possession of the unit.
If the court agrees with the tenant, it will order the sheriff to help the tenant get back in. If the court decides the landlord knew or should have known that the lockout or other exclusion was unlawful, the court can order the landlord to pay the tenant damages, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.