County District Court File No. 27-CV-HC-17-1569
Natalie R. Walz, Chestnut Cambronne PA, Minneapolis,
Minnesota (for appellant)
Grundman, Georgina P. Santos, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid,
Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Rodenberg,
Judge; and Reilly, Judge.
Minn. Stat. § 504B.291, subd. 1(a) (2016), a landlord
may not bring an action to evict based on failure to pay
attorney fees in excess of five dollars incurred in a
previous eviction action for nonpayment of rent.
landlord argues that the district court erred by determining
that appellant could not evict respondent tenant for failure
to pay attorney fees in excess of five dollars arising out of
a previous eviction action against respondent for nonpayment
of rent. We affirm.
ACC OP (University Commons) LLC leased a room for one year to
respondent Jose Rodriguez for $549 per month. The lease
contained a provision stating that if Rodriguez violated the
terms of the lease, University Commons could recover all
reasonable costs and expenses it incurred enforcing its
rights and remedies under the lease. The lease also provided:
At [University Commons's] option and without notice to
[Rodriguez], any payment that [University Commons] receive[s]
may be applied first to [Rodriguez's] obligations which
do not constitute Rent and then to Rent (with any past due
Rent being paid first), regardless of whether or not
[Rodriguez has] made notations on checks or money orders and
regardless of when or how the obligation came about.
January 2017, University Commons commenced an eviction action
against Rodriguez for nonpayment of rent. The district court
found in favor of University Commons and ordered that
Rodriguez could redeem the tenancy by paying University
Commons $1, 387.99 by February 17, 2017. Although
Rodriguez's payment was $2.99 short of the total amount
ordered by the district court, the parties treated it as a
redemption. In pursuing the eviction action, University
Commons incurred $3, 090 in attorney fees.
February 27, 2017, Rodriguez paid University Commons $1, 000.
University Commons applied $997.01 of this payment to the
attorney fees it incurred, and the remaining $2.99 to satisfy
the outstanding amount Rodriguez was ordered to pay by the
occasions in March 2017, University Commons notified
Rodriguez that he had an outstanding rent balance of $2,
771.26 and that if payment was not received, University
Commons would proceed with an eviction action. This
"balance" was the result of University Commons