St. Paul, MN – Today, the Minnesota House approved an orderly off ramp of the eviction moratorium declared by Gov. Walz last year that will prevent a wave of evictions while ensuring landlords are made whole for rent that is owed to them. The bill provides a roadmap to transition off the current residential eviction moratorium by ensuring renters have enough time to access federal funding for rental assistance when the COVID-19 related peacetime emergency ends and provides clarity to the process.
“As more vaccines become available, the pandemic is easing, yet there are still many of our neighbors who are unemployed and face the risk of eviction.” said Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-Saint Paul), chair of the Housing Finance and Policy Committee. “The eviction moratorium reduced the spread of COVID-19 and protected the most vulnerable Minnesotans from the threat of losing their home. We must continue to protect those Minnesotans once the eviction moratorium is lifted, and this bill provides a realistic timeline for both landlords and tenants to access the rental assistance that will keep people in their homes.”
“We hope the end of the pandemic is in sight, but we don't want to replace a public health crisis with an eviction and housing crisis for Minnesotans,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “Stable housing is the foundation for success for individuals and families. We must ensure a smooth, stable transition as we get to a post-COVID world and the end of the eviction moratorium.”
In addition to codifying the moratorium, the bill creates a 12-month timeline immediately following the end of the current peacetime emergency requiring landlords who intend to file an eviction for non-payment of rent to provide written notice along with information about rental assistance available to the tenant at least 60 days before filing an eviction. This ensures Minnesotans have time to access available assistance or plan for an orderly transition to a new home. Nothing in the bill makes permanent changes to state statute, reduces the amount of rent owed, or prevents landlords from collecting rent owed.
“Minnesota has the resources to prevent an eviction crisis, but this is a crisis we didn’t have to confront in the first place,” said Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “The reason so many children, parents, and families are at risk is because Republican politicians spin tales about wealth that trickles down when government cuts taxes for the rich and well-connected. President Biden, Democrats in Congress, and DFLers in Minnesota are determined to tax the rich so we can pay for important investments in workers and their families – like the ability to own a home and pass wealth down to your children and your children’s children.”
During the current peacetime emergency and for 60 days immediately following its conclusion, there would be a prohibition on foreclosures and no vendor may terminate a contract for deed. This prohibition would not alter payments owed under the mortgage, community interest by laws, contract for deed, or the pledge made by the state to holders of bonds issued by MHFA.
“No one should lose their home as the result of a global pandemic. Providing an off-ramp to the eviction moratorium that includes protections against housing displacement is a win-win for renters and landlords,” said Rep. Michael Howard (DFL – Richfield), vice chair of the Housing Committee and co-author of the legislation. “An eviction is detrimental to Minnesota families, devastating the health and wellness of all those affected, and disproportionately harming our communities of color. Our bill makes renters and landlords whole while preventing the wave of evictions that are on the horizon unless we take action.”
The bill can be viewed here. Floor session can be watched on the Minnesota House YouTube channel here.