There are procedures for how a Minnesota landlord can handle personal property of the tenant that is left behind after move out or after abandonment of the premises.
Minnesota requires the landlord to store the property left behind, and the landlord is allowed to charge the tenant for the costs of moving, storing, and caring for the property. While some states will allow the landlord to hold the property until the tenant pays those costs, Minnesota law does not. The tenant can retrieve their personal property before paying for moving, storing, or care of property, but the landlord is able to sue the tenant to recover any unpaid amounts.
Selling or disposing of property in Minnesota
The landlord must wait 28 days after abandonment has been determined to either sell or dispose of the property. However, prior to a sale of the property the landlord must try to notify the tenant of the sale, giving the tenant 14 days from when a notice is mailed to tenant to hear back from the tenant about retrieving the property. The landlord must also post a notice of sale, clearly visible, on the premises at least two weeks prior to a sale. A landlord can retain the reasonable amounts necessary to pay for moving, storage, the cost of the sale, or any rent or damages due, but the tenant is entitled to any remainder IF they have sent a written request to the landlord for the proceeds.
Penalty for not returning items if requested
The tenant can get their property back after a written demand to the landlord, and the landlord must return the property or make it available to the tenant within 24 hours after the request (the time period increases to 48 hours if the property has been moved off site). Beware of the penalty for non-compliance: the tenant can sue for the greater of twice the actual damages, or $1,000, plus reasonable attorneys fees. Section 504B.271 of the Minnesota statutes is where landlords can read up on personal property remaining on the premises to ensure they remain in compliance with the law on this subject.