Can a landlord refuse to sign my lease and not tell me why?

I am renting a 2 bed apartment. I asked the office how much our rent would be increased by if we do resign. She said the person who approves the cost hasn’t responded back to them yet and she would call us the next day. We never heard anything back, so 2 weeks later I called back and they said the are not resigning our lease with us. We asked why and they responded with “we cannot release that information to you for privacy issues”. Is that correct, or in the state of Minnesota are they required by law to explain to us why they refuse to resign a lease with us?

Asked on June 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you are receiving a federal housing subsidy (e.g. Section 8 assistance), then I believe the landlord is limited in his/her ability to discontinue or not renew your tenancy. However otherwise, I believe the landlord is free to decide to not renew a lease at will, for any reason, unless you can make a case that the refusal is due to illegal discrimination,  the main type  of which for this purpose is racial discrimination. The landlord does not generally have a duty to disclose the reason for refusing to rent, though if you should sue the landlord (e.g. you think it may have been racial discrimination), there are mechanisms in a lawsuit (called "discovery") to make him or her answer the question.

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