Know The Proposals

The Minneapolis City Council is proposing major changes for rental properties that will put residents at risk, increase costs and undermine neighborhood stability.

The proposals will harm both good renters and hard-to-house populations the city wants to help. They prevent responsible and non-discriminatory review of rental applications for the safety of all residents.

On August 8, 2019, the city council authors released a revised draft that largely replicates the original proposals.

The updated draft proceeds with elimination of the current rental applicant background check process, creates additional risks for responsible renters and impedes the safe management of rental property.

Read the updated proposal here:

Substantial modifications include:

  • Limitation on consideration of misdemeanor convictions changed from 2 to 3 years from sentencing
  • Limitation on consideration of felony convictions changed from 5 to 7 years from sentencing
  • No consideration of three types of convictions after 10 years from the date of sentencing
  • Mandatory income standard exception based on unspecified “demonstrated history” standard
  • Revocation of rental license after 2nd violation of new regulations, no ability to contest or correct

The updated draft continues to prohibit consideration of dozens of serious, violent criminal offenses during the rental screening process. It also severely limits the ability of renters with troubled history to obtain housing by providing a damage deposit commensurate with potential risk.

Above all, the revised proposal provides only the illusion of opportunity for most hard-to-house people while shifting cost and risk onto responsible renters. It does not address the root causes of housing instability, including the major deficit of new housing production needed to alleviate the current shortage.

You can read the original draft proposals here:

Proposal #1 (Original draft)Unsafe Screening Restrictions

The first proposal prohibits managers from factoring, among other things, the following criteria into the screening process: i) misdemeanor convictions older than two years from the date of sentencing; ii) felony convictions older than five years from sentencing, except for lifetime sex offender registration, arson, meth production or RICO; iii) any eviction older than three years, or older than one year from settlement; iv) credit score over 500; and v) incomplete credit or rental history.

This proposal ignores dozens of serious, predatory and otherwise violent felony convictions, and allows the worst offenders to hide their past immediately after release from incarceration. Plus, a disturbing series of misdemeanor-level offenses, including sexual attacks, abuse and solicitation of children, stalking with intent to injure, domestic assault, and others, would be eliminated from consideration one year after release.

The city has not presented any data to show leaving good renters more vulnerable to harm will benefit anyone. Hiding records is not a cure-all for those seeking to turn their life around or move on from trouble. This does not address root causes of housing instability like joblessness or mental health.

Proposal #2 (original draft)Arbitrary Damage & Pet Deposit Limits

The second proposal prohibits a landlord from requiring a security deposit of more than a half of a month’s rent if they require upfront payment of last month’s rent, or more than one month’s rent if the last month is not required up front. Also, a landlord could not require a pet deposit greater than 1/4 of one month’s rent.

Arbitrary limits on security and damage deposits will limit second chance opportunities for people with troubled histories. Deposits that are not properly aligned with risk raise costs and decrease stability for renters.

Extreme limits on pet deposits ensure two outcomes: i) it’ll be harder for animal lovers to find pet-friendly housing, and ii) the black market for fraudulent companion animal certifications will flourish.

Overall, these proposals will increase disruption and raise costs for both property manager and renter. 

We urge the City Council to start over with an inclusive process capable of producing a balanced result.