Drafted exclusively by women and non-binary legislators of color, the omnibus housing policy bill could update tenant’s rights for the first time in decades.
It would, in part, revamp housing discrimination provisions, as well as lease terminations, evictions and eviction expungements.
Including bills from Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL-Mpls), Rep. Hodan Hassan (DFL-Mpls), Rep. Kaohly Vang Her (DFL-St. Paul), Rep. Alicia Kozlowski (DFL-Duluth) and Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega (DFL-St. Paul), the omnibus proposal, as amended, heads to the Senate.
“Overall, this bill will seek to balance the power dynamics between landlords and renters,” said Agbaje, the bill sponsor.
Rep. Brian Johnson (R-Cambridge) disagrees.
“This bill makes it more difficult for housing providers to actually provide housing, make it less likely that they would want to provide housing,” he said
The proposal intends to protect tenants with changes, such as:
[MORE: Read about the bill]
Because eviction records currently follow tenants for as long as seven years and keep many people from finding housing, the bill would require mandatory record expungement when the:
“We also require a 14-day notice for evictions as the minimum standard across the state so that tenants and landlords have time to negotiate or mediate before things escalate to the courthouse,” Agbaje said.
Additionally, eviction case filings would remain confidential until the case has been decided and discretionary expungement would have amended procedure and review.
For the summons in an eviction action, the bill would require a notice for how to get legal and financial assistance. Courts would have to dismiss and expunge an eviction that doesn’t follow the outlined procedures. And for eviction actions for nonpayment of rent, a government agency could assist in redeeming the unit.
Likewise, the bill would add new requirements for the summons on a writ of recovery and order to vacate a unit, such as how to seek assistance with legal or financial help.
Lastly, the bill would require a stay for all appeals, which pauses court orders from going into effect during the appeal; expand options for notifying a tenant of an eviction action to include phone calls, texts, and emails; prevent a bond from being posted by a tenant unless a case is appealed; and allow a motion to vacate a judgement for situations like mistakes, excusable neglect, fraud, or new evidence.