The Minnesota Legislature has been very busy this session, with an especially heightened amount of activity relating to housing; numerous bills have been introduced that would have a major impact on both market-rate and affordable housing in Minnesota if enacted. Our team is constantly monitoring the progress of these pieces of legislation as they make their way through the Legislature; please click below to learn more about the current bills.

Contact your Winthrop attorney to find out about how these bills may affect your business if enacted.

Landlord-Tenant Omnibus Bills
Limiting Rent Increase in Low-Income Rental Projects
Housing Funding Proposals

Landlord-Tenant Omnibus Bills

Bills related to landlord-tenant law are currently being heard by the respective Housing Committees in the House (HF 917) and Senate (SF 1298).  The bills contain numerous requirements and restrictions affecting tenant-landlord relations. Among the provisions in the bills are those regarding restricting lease terminations and evictions, including, among others:

  • making it unlawful to refuse to rent a unit to individuals participating in a public assistance program;
  • increasing the scenarios in which evictions will be expunged from tenants’ records, including after three years;
  • requiring landlords to provide minimum heat at a level of 68 degrees from October 1 through April 30;
  • restricting Crime Free lease provisions;
  • giving tenants the right to court-appointed counsel to defend against evictions;
  • requiring the disclosure of fees;
  • restricting landlord entry into residential units without 24-hour notice; and
  • imposing requirements related to the treatment of pets.

The chairs of the House and Senate Committee have been working together to ensure as much similarity as possible in the bills that emerge from their respective committees.

These bills have moved out of the respective Housing Committees of each body and are both currently in their respective Judiciary committees; they will likely be heard in these committees in the next ten days.  At that point, they will move to the floor of each body for a vote.  Any discrepancies between the two bills will be worked out in a conference committee. The timing of when each bill will ultimately be taken up on the floor is uncertain at this point.  However, it is unlikely that it will occur before Passover and/or Easter.

Limiting Rent Increase in Low-Income Rental Projects

Last week, bills were introduced in the Minnesota Senate  (SF 2590) and House of Representatives (HF 2676) that would impose a limit to increases in rent for low-income rental projects that use residential rental bonds. Under both the Senate and the House bills, annual rent increases in Minnesota would be capped at 5% for any property that received 4(d) property tax treatment or uses Tax-Exempt Bonds for funding.

These bills have been referred to the Tax Committees in each body. Whether they receive a hearing or not, or are brought up as amendments, is currently to be determined.

Housing Funding Proposals

Through nine different agencies in his Administration, Governor Walz has proposed spending over $1.6 billion on a housing stability agenda.  This agenda seeks to prevent and end homelessness, to create a healthy rental market for low-income renters, and to close the disparities in homeownership. The details of the Governor’s proposals can be found here: One Minnesota Housing Stability Budget Summary.  In the next few weeks, the House and Senate will unveil the framework of a 2024-2025 biennial budget which will include many of the Governor’s proposals and some additions of their own.  A housing finance bill will likely pass the House and Senate before the end of April and become law by the third week of May.

March 20, 2023