I am not sure where this came from or who starting teaching it. I have heard many old-school landlords say that they use a PO Box for rent checks. I guess the theory was that you don’t want your tenants to know where you live. I suppose in case of a zombie apocalypse that would be a problem or if you are a real jerk landlord I can see why you want to hide. Now days, using a PO Box to hide your location really doesn’t work. Using the Internet and Google, you can find out a lot about a person. Plus, the county typically has your address on your tax statements and those are on-line also. You would have to go to great lengths and expense to be invisible from Google and your tenants. A more recent example is one that Kevin Stevensen from The Cleanout People. I always knew this rule, but never found anyone that missed it and got caught by it. Kevin sent this message:
Here is a good fyi to pass on to other landlords, we took a tenant to housing court for non payment of rent. Well she got legal aid and they found that on our lease we have a PO box for the mailing address for rent. Well I guess as a landlord we cant do that we need a physical address.
Minnesota state law requires that you have a physical address for you or your rental company on your leases.
504B.181 LANDLORD OR AGENT DISCLOSURE.
Disclosure to tenant. There shall be disclosed to the residential tenant either in the rental agreement or otherwise in writing prior to commencement of the tenancy the name and address of: (1) the person authorized to manage the premises; and
(2) the landlord of the premises or an agent authorized by the landlord to accept service of process and receive and give receipt for notices and demands.
I am 90% sure that you can still have the checks mailed to a PO box (which can be useful if you have an accountant or business partner doing the books), but you need to list a physical address per the above statute. Here is how I handle this. As I mentioned previously, I buy my leases from the Minnesota Multi-Housing Association. While they cost me about $2 per lease (they are 2 part carbon), they have been approved by the Minnesota Attorney General and all Section 8 programs. This tells me that I should not get myself into any hot water over anything in that lease. They have a provision in the lease that handles the above law. Here is a snapshot of that section of my lease:
I am not an attorney, but the 2nd section speaks to accepting service of process, which can never be done to a PO Box (they need to serve a person). I am uncertain if I could put a PO box in the first section. Probably to be safe, I would put a physical address in there and then in the Notes section of this lease write: Mail all rental payments to: PO Box 123, Minneapolis. If you have only listed a PO Box on your leases, you may quickly want to post a physical address at the property and/or send a letter to all your tenants to get into compliance with this Minnesota statute.