Landlord advocates and tenant advocates have agreed to a compromise on some issues that have been a source of contention.
Provisions in a new law, sponsored by Rep. Joe Mullery (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. D. Scott Dibble (DFL-Mpls), include:
• landlords cannot charge a late fee for rent unless agreed to in writing, and the late fee cannot exceed 8 percent of the overdue rent payment;
• landlords must provide receipts if the rent or other payments are paid in cash;
• if a lease provides for attorney fees for a landlord that prevails in an action or summary proceeding, a tenant could also be awarded attorney fees if they prevail;
• a landlord who breaks the law related to utility building and single-metered buildings is liable to the tenant the greater of $1,000 or twice the actual damages plus reasonable attorney fees;
• new notice requirements for eviction actions when a tenant remains in a property after the redemption time has expired;
• a penalty up to $500 plus reasonable attorney fees is established for tenants who lie on their application; and
• additions to the prohibited activities of a landlord with respect to an applicant’s screening fee, including a prohibition from using, cashing, or depositing a screening fee “until all prior applicants have been screened and rejected, or offered the unit and declined to enter into a rental agreement.”
Most of the law, signed May 11 by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, takes effect Aug. 1, 2010. The late fee provision takes effect for leases entered into beginning Jan. 1, 2011; the attorney fees provision is effective for leases entered into beginning Aug. 1, 2011, and for leases renewed on or after Aug. 1, 2012.
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