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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

504B.221 UNLAWFUL TERMINATION OF UTILITIES.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, if a landlord, an agent, or other person acting under the landlord's direction or control, interrupts or causes the interruption of electricity, heat, gas, or water services to the tenant, the tenant may recover from the landlord treble damages or $500, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney's fees. It is a defense to any action brought under this section that the interruption was the result of the deliberate or negligent act or omission of a tenant or anyone acting under the direction or control of the tenant. The tenant may recover only actual damages under this section if:

(1) the tenant has not given the landlord, an agent, or other person acting under the landlord's direction or control, notice of the interruption; or

(2) the landlord, an agent, or other person acting under the landlord's direction or control, after receiving notice of the interruption from the tenant and within a reasonable period of time after the interruption, taking into account the nature of the service interrupted and the effect of the interrupted service on the health, welfare, and safety of the tenants, has reinstated or made a good faith effort to reinstate the service or has taken other remedial action; or

(3) the interruption was for the purpose of repairing or correcting faulty or defective equipment or protecting the health and safety of the occupants of the premises involved and the service was reinstated or a good faith effort was made to reinstate the service or other remedial action was taken by the landlord, an agent, or other person acting under the landlord's direction or control within a reasonable period of time, taking into account the nature of the defect, the nature of the service interrupted, and the effect of the interrupted service on the health, welfare, and safety of the tenants.

(b) The remedies provided in this section are in addition to and shall not limit other rights or remedies available to landlords and tenants. Any provision, whether oral or written, of any lease or other agreement, whereby any provision of this section is waived by a tenant, is contrary to public policy and void. The provisions of this section also apply to occupants and owners of residential real property which is the subject of a mortgage foreclosure or contract for deed cancellation and as to which the period for redemption or reinstatement of the contract has expired.