Contact Information

2122 Campus Dr SE Suite 300
Rochester, Mn 55904 (Map)

Phone: 507-328-2600
Fax: 507-328-2601

Mon-Fri 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Department Contacts

Rental Housing

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option
  • How to Register your Rental property and receive a Rental Certificate
  • Landlord Requirements
  • Application Forms and Handouts
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Information for landlords from the Minnesota Multi Housing Association (MHA)
  • Information for tenants from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
  • Minnesota Judicial Branch website with links to courts, rental issues, applicable laws, and forms

    Rental Property Owners and Managers can now pay for fees on line!!!


    It’s easy! First, sign up as a registered user on Citizen Access, search for your rental property, and click on the link to pay by credit card! Also--be sure to take advantage of the collections options in Citizen Access to better manage all of your rental properties. Click here to get started.

    Landlord Public Safety Requirement

    Option 1: Landlord Public Safety Seminar

    The Rochester City Ordinance 38.045, Subdivision 21, requires all landlords or their property managers to complete either a Landlord Public Safety Seminar or the Phase I of the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program.

    Once one of these options is completed and submitted, that certification is valid for life, and covers all present and future rentals.

    The Rochester Police Department offers the Landlord Public Safety Seminar once each year, typically the first Saturday in April. All new landlords or a designated property manager registering their property between January 1st and April 28th are required to attend this live seminar.

    A video version of this class is available on this website (see below) from May 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017 and is offered to new landlords or their designated property manager registering their property during these months.

    Attendance of either the live seminar or viewing of the video and successful completion of the exam satisfies Rochester City Ordinance, 38.04, Subd (8). 

    If your property is not currently licensed, please come into our office at 2122 Campus Drive SE to complete an application and schedule a required inspection to ensure the property is safe for your tenants to occupy.

     The revised Landlord Public Safety Seminar video class is available on-line (SEE BELOW).

    Once you have watched the video, please download the exam.

    Submit the completed exam to our office via mail, fax or email, along with the fee.

    The fee for the exam is $40.00. Cash, check, or credit card payments accepted. Checks may be made payable to the City of Rochester.

    A passing grade of 70% is required. The fee covers two attempts to pass the exam. Should further attempts be necessary, another $40.00 fee will be due.

    Our office will notify you with the test results, usually within 1-2 business days of submission. Your completion certificate will be mailed to you.



     Option 2: Phase I of the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program

    Option 3: Comparable certificate from a crime free multi-housing program from another jurisdiction

    Send submittals to the Building Safety department, to the attention of the Housing Manager.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the "Housing Code of the City of Rochester"?

    The Housing Code is made up ordinances adopted by the City Council - Chapters 32 through 38 in the Rochester Code of Ordinances (R.C.O.). The Housing Code ordinances were first adopted by the City Council in 1967 because they concluded it was in the best interest of the citizens of Rochester to adopt a code that addresses structures used for dwelling purposes. The Housing Code pertains to all dwellings within the city, including owner occupied. The Code addresses dwellings in the areas of structural integrity, fire safety, overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and site conditions. Every dwelling unit must comply with the minimum standards and maintenance standards set forth in the code. The Housing Code is administered and enforced by the Building Safety Department.

    Below are direct links to the Housing Code in the Rochester Code of Ordinances:

     What is a Rental Housing Certificate? When is one needed?

    In R.C.O. Chapter 38, the Code establishes a requirement for anyone renting a dwelling to another person to obtain a license known as a “rental housing certificate”. A dwelling is considered rental when someone other than the owner occupies the dwelling (relatives included), whether money is exchanged or not. This includes single family homes when the owner does not occupy the home, but does not include hotels, motels, rooming houses, nursing homes, and hospitals which are licensed by other agencies. Renting without a certificate is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1000 fine, 90 days in jail, or both.
    An inspection is completed every two years to check for compliance with the Housing Code. The certificate issued verifies the dwelling is in compliance with the Housing Code and all other applicable codes and is valid for two years. The certificate must be renewed every two years, with the renewal fee based on the number of units to be rented. Rental certificates must be transferred within 30 days after a property is sold.

    How do I obtain a "Rental Housing Certificate" for my property?

    To obtain a rental housing certificate an application must be submitted to Building Safety. The Planning Department must review the application for zoning requirements. An on-site inspection is scheduled with a Building Safety Inspector to verify compliance with the Housing Code. If deficiencies are found, the violations must be corrected. When the corrections are completed, a reinspection is conducted to verify compliance. Once these steps are completed and the Landlord Requirements are met, a certificate is issued for the property.

    How do I to renew my "Rental Housing Certificate"?

    Once your rental is registered with the city, you will receive notification of renewal fees due and a request for an inspection approximately 90 days before your certificate expires. You must call the Building Safety Department to schedule an inspection before the expiration date, allowing enough time to complete any corrections and reinspections before the rental housing certificate expires. When the renewal fee has been paid and the inspection approved, the rental housing certificate can be issued.

    How and when do I schedule Inspections of my rental property?

    The initial inspections for new rental properties are done on Fridays, and are usually scheduled when applying for a new Rental Housing Certificate. Bi-annual inspections may be scheduled upon payment of fees, and in advance of your Certificate's expiration date, either over the phone at 507-328-2600 or in person at our office.

    Please note that only the owner or manager may escort the Housing Inspector through the rental property. 

    What is the Rochester Multi-Housing Association?

    The Rochester Multi-Housing Association is the trade association for Rochester, Minnesota's apartment and rental housing industry. The members are developers, owners, and managers of apartments or other rental housing.  The association is for owners and managers of rental units in and around the Rochester area.

    What is the Minnesota statute regarding carbon monoxide alarms?

    The 2006 legislative session passed a new carbon monoxide law.  (MN 299F.50)

    Where can I find available apartments in the Rochester area?

    The Rochester Apartment Finder website is a search engine to find an apartment based on your needs.  Learn all about Rochester and what it has to offer.  This site also has relocation resources.


    Crime-Free Multi-Housing Background Check Resources

    Credit Bureaus:

    Equifax                 1-800-711-5341

    Trans-Union       1-800-888-4213

    Experian              1-800-397-3742

    Criminal Background Checks

    Local Records Checks (Olmsted County and the City of Rochester)

    5th Floor of the Government Center-Public Terminals  

    ASP Screening


    7400 Metro Blvd Edina, MN  55439


     Multihousing Credit Control

    10125 Crosstown Circle, Suite #100 Eden Prairie, MN  55344


     Rental Research Services

    7525 Mitchell Rd, Eden Prairie, MN  55344


     Free Web Searches:


    Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA)(please read compliance agreement on the web prior to use)






     Housing Forms and Handouts:

    Below are the most requested application forms for residential rental units from the Building Safety Department.

    Rental Property Certificate Application

    Use this form to register a rental property, to add a manager, or to transfer ownership of a rental property.

    Request for a Change of Management Company

    Registers a new manager or management company of record on one or more rental properties.

    Rental Property Owner Update

    This form is particularly useful for landlords owning multiple properties who wish to update owner and/or manager information for several addresses, with a single sheet.

    Rental Certificate Termination Request

    Submitted upon the sale of a rental property to a new owner, or if the current owner will no longer be renting a property and wishes to cancel the Rental Certificate.

    Sample Rental Lease Application 

    This fillable and customizable form is copyrighted by the Minnesota State Bar Association, and certified by the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General.

    Crime Free Lease Addendum 

    To be included in all leases, this sample form satisfies the legal requirement for R.C.O. Section 38.152 Subd8.

    Inspection Checklist

    A comprehensive guide listing items that are checked during an inspection.

    Request for Extension of a Correction Order

    Requests a temporary extension of time if you have been issued a Notice of Violation, and need more time to complete repairs or make corrections.

    Request for Administrative Modification

    Requested when there are practical difficulties involved in complying with provisions of the housing code.

    Request for Modification of Egress

    Used to request an administrative modification of egress window requirements.

    Non-Habitable Area Agreement

    For use in documenting areas within a rental property not considered habitable areas because of deficiencies/unfinished levels/unusable space and/or violations with the Rochester Code of Ordinances.

    Landlords and Tenants: Rights and Responsibilities

    Helpful, informative, and easy to understand booklet from the Office of the MN Attorney General. Also,  Minn. Statute § 504B.181, subd. 2(b) requires landlords to notify tenants that this handbook is available to them.

    Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards

    For any rental property built before 1978, landlords must disclose the possibility of lead hazards (under 42 U.S.C. 4852(d)) to their tenant(s). This sample form may be used to satisfy this requirement.

    Carbon Monoxide Alarms

    Applicable state law and information about the requirements and placements of carbon monoxide alarms.

    Smoke Alarms

    Applicable state law and information about the requirements and placements of smoke alarms.

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    Residential Rental Fee Schedule

    The bi-annual renewal/initial registration fee for rental properties will be $90.00 per structure plus $30.00 per unit for a 2 year rental certificate. There is a one time Zoning fee of $40 at the time of a new rental registration.


    Rental Property Owners and Managers can now pay for fees on line. It’s easy! First, sign up as a registered user on Citizen Access, search for your rental property, and click on the link to pay by credit card! Also--be sure to take advantage of the collections options in Citizen Access to better manage all of your rental properties. Click here to get started.

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