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Q I am a renter who recently came home to find a for-sale-sign in the yard.

Isn't it against the law for the owner to post pictures of my personal possessions on the Realtor's website without my consent?

Also my lease was up in October 2007. After I saw the for-sale sign, I asked to have my lease renewed, but the request never was granted.

I gave a 60-day notice to vacate on Dec. 28. Can you explain my rights as a renter?

A There is no law that clearly prohibits your landlord from showing pictures of your personal property among the property photos one would normally include when advertising real estate for sale.

While there may be some laws protecting your privacy, absent showing very personal items such as undergarments and the like, they really don't seem to apply.

You don't mention whether the landlord informed you in advance of his or her intent to come into the unit. Minnesota Statute 504B.183 protects you from such intrusions, and there is a $100 fine for violations.

You can pursue such a matter in conciliation court. If your lease ended in October, then it is perfectly acceptable to give a written notice for the end of December, especially if they refuse to renew your lease. Keep in mind that the new owner may want to keep you, so if the property sells before you find a new apartment the terms could improve.

Lease is binding, even for buyers

Q I have a friend who wants to break his lease at his current apartment.

He has a one-year lease and is only six months into it. He plans to buy a home as soon as possible, but feels that he must wait until his current rental lease expires.

I have told him that he can break his lease (as long as he gives 30 days' notice) anytime because he is going to buy a home and that is a valid reason to break a lease.

I explained that it is an "American dream" sort of thing (i.e. landlord can't stop you from owning a home, which is part of the universal "American Dream").

I did this many years ago when I rented and, in fact, it was the landlord who told me about it.

Is buying a home a valid reason to break a lease without penalties?

A Sorry, there is no such law. If there was a law stating that tenants could break their leases at any time if they were purchasing homes, then landlords would not be protected.

Your friend is responsible for the remaining six-month term of his lease, even if he's already purchased a home.

Your friend should speak to his landlord and request that he pay two months rent in exchange for early termination of his lease.

If the units are in demand, your friend's landlord may allow it. Also, tell your friend to get any agreement with his landlord in writing.

Kelly Klein is a Minneapolis attorney. Do not rely on advice in this column regarding a legal situation until you consult a qualified attorney; information provided by readers is not confidential; participation in this column does not create an attorney/client relationship, and no such relationship is created without a retainer agreement with Klein. If you have questions concerning renting, you can e-mail her at kklein@kleinpa.com, post your questions at www.startribune.com/kellyklein or write in care of Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488.