Information, Insight, Advice.

Mortgage Interest Rate Myth

This may come as a surprise to many borrowers, but it's true. Mortgage interest rates are not set by the Federal Reserve and mortgage rates are not directly tied to the yields of US treasury bills, bonds or notes- including the 10 year treasury note. Despite what you might hear in the media, mortgage interest rates are actually set by the lending institutions, and are based solely on the performance of mortgage-backed securities. For more mortgage rate information visit


Rentals & The Law

Q I moved out of a rental townhome in Maple Grove in August after being there since November 2009. When I moved in, I signed a six-month lease and paid a deposit of $1,350.

The carpet in the town home was filthy when we moved in. The rental agent told my daughter and I that it had been cleaned. I took pictures of the dirty carpet and told the owner of the townhome that it was still dirty. He said I shouldn't worry about being charged for it when I move out.

When we moved out, a property manager inspected the townhome. I gave her pictures of the dirty spots that were there when we moved in, and she told us she expected the carpet to be clean when tenants move out. She also said she would probably replace the downstairs carpet and clean the upstairs carpet. Both of those areas were dirty when we moved in.

I recently received a check for $1,076, instead of $1,350 (plus interest), and was charged $294 for carpet cleaning.

What recourse do I have?

A Under Minnesota Statute 504B.178, landlords may withhold an amount from the deposit that is necessary to restore the home to its condition at the start of your tenancy. However, they must exclude any ordinary wear and tear from the charge. It may be legal for landlords to require that tenants pay to have a carpet cleaned after they move out, if the carpet cleaning is necessary.

Courts differ on whether carpet cleaning may always be charged, which is why tenants should take pictures of the place on the day they move in and the day they move out. Then tenants have proof if they want to dispute the carpet cleaning charge in court.

Your recourse is to file a claim in Conciliation Court. When you complete the forms and file them in the county where your rental townhome was located, you should include pictures, witness statements and any other proof you have to substantiate a claim for a full refund of your security deposit. The landlord has the burden to prove the reason for withholding part of your deposit. Visit for more information.


New Racetrack in Southeast Minnesota?

A new racetrack in the small town of Elko New Market could have a huge impact on the small community.

Tom Wolf and his fellow board members are taking a closer look at a proposal from International Motorsports Entertainment and Development Company for a new motorsports race track and entertainment center being planned for the city of Elko New Market in the southeastern portion of Minnesota’s Scott County.

The proposed racing center, to be named Minnesota Speedway Park, would include a 7/8th-of-a-mile oval track with seating for 65,000 fans. The track would accomodate both Indy and NASCAR races, and would include a quarter-mile dragstrip track with seating for 35,000 that would host NHRA-caliber races.

The center would also house a major hotel and conference facility, exhibition space and recreational vehicle and motorhome camping area.

International Motorsports Entertainment and Development Company introduced its formal proposal Nov. 29 at a joint meeting of the Scott County Board of Commissioners, the Elko New Market City Council, the Elko New Market Planning Commission and the New Market Township Board.

Elwyn Tinklenberg said that the racing center would provide jobs and tourism dollars to Scott County. And racing fans tend to spend several days in an area when attending races. This bodes well for the area’s restaurants, hotels and retailers, Tinklenberg said.

Of course, no decisions on the track’s future will be made soon. The Nov. 29 meeting simply jumpstarted a review phase for the project of 10 to 12 months. The developer will now have to prepare an environmental assessment and an environmental impact statement, documents that numerous state and local agencies will have to approve.



Displaying blogs 22 - 24 of 56 in total