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Minnesota Legislature

House approves addition of new lease requirements to state statute

Rep. Mohamud Noor explains provisions of his bill, HF495, which would add new lease requirements to Minnesota law, during floor debate April 1. Photo by Paul Battaglia

Tenant protections inspired by the struggles of University of Minnesota students could impact people throughout the state, though lawmakers disagreed about whether that would be a good thing.

House lawmakers voted 71-53 Monday to pass HF495, as amended, which would add additional lease requirements to state statute.

The bill “is about fairness and equity in the landlord-tenant relationship,” said Rep. Mohamud Noor (DFL-Mpls), the bill sponsor.

It now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Kari Dziedzic (DFL-Mpls) is the sponsor.

Additional requirements include the identification of which specific unit would be leased in buildings of 12 or more units, as well as the first-page location of move-in and move-out date, and information about pro-rated rent.

The bill would also allow tenants to follow the notice-periods for landlords – if different than those for the tenant – when it comes to giving notice to quit or rent increases, providing “an equal playing field,” Noor said.

Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal) unsuccessfully proposed several amendments that would have loosened the requirements of the bill to varying degrees. The bill – as presented by Noor – would increase rents across the state by attempting to fix a localized problem using measures that would limit flexibility for all landlords and increase vacancy rates, he said.

Munson encouraged Noor to work with the City of Minneapolis to develop an ordinance that would address the problem locally.

“I am very concerned about lowering the cost of rent,” he said. “This bill will make less rentals available in Minnesota.”

Several other Republicans echoed his concerns.

“A solution for Minneapolis is not a solution for my area,” said Rep. Duane Quam (R-Byron). “One size does not fit all. … But apparently what’s good for Minneapolis is good for the entire state.”

Noor said he doesn’t see any provisions in the bill that would increase costs for landlords and that the protections are necessary to protect all tenants from predatory rental practices.

“It’s not only about Minneapolis or St. Paul … this bill ensures that everyone is protected,” Noor said. “We’re here to represent the entire state of Minnesota … this is not about the students only.”

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