Weber supports eviction 'off-ramp' legislation
The Minnesota Senate passed the legislation — Senate File 1470 — on Monday
ST. PAUL — Legislation that would create an orderly process for housing providers to handle residents who are deficient in their rent while restoring basic property rights to housing providers whose renters meet minimum income thresholds has the support of District 22 Sen. Bill Weber, R-Luverne.
The Minnesota Senate passed the legislation — Senate File 1470 — on Monday. According to a press release from the Senate Republican Caucus, the legislation states that 30 days after the date of enactment, non-renewal of leases is permitted for those with outstanding rent but who are ineligible for rental assistance through the COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program.
“This legislation represents a solid compromise that protects renters suffering as a result of the pandemic while giving more flexibility to property owners to deal with residents who are causing trouble or endangering others on the property,” Weber said. “As it stands, property owners are unable to evict renters for any reason. While most Minnesotans aren’t taking advantage of that, some are. This bill restores a semblance of balance to the equation without completely ending the moratorium.”
The Senate Republican Caucus press release notes that nearly $400 million is available in statewide rental assistance from the federal government, and those funds are designated to help with rent payments and utilities for renter households that have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19 and can demonstrate a risk of experiencing housing instability. Eligible renters can receive help with rent and utility bills dated on or after March 13, 2020 (April 1 rent) and receive up to 15 months of assistance.
The bill addresses that the “off-ramp” will occur in a 30-, 60-, and 90-day step down:
- Thirty days after the date of enactment, evictions are permitted for material violations of the lease other than non-payment of rent.
- Sixty days after the date of enactment, evictions are permitted for those with outstanding rent but who are ineligible for rental assistance through the COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program.
- Ninety days after enactment of the bill, this step-down expires, with the exception of actions based on non-payment of rent against a tenant with a pending application for assistance through the COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program, which is prohibited until June 1, 2022 . This allows renters who are enrolled in a relief program more time to get caught up with their rent.
The bill would also prevent the governor from issuing any order that prohibits or delays evictions for more than 30 days unless an extension to the order is approved by both parts of the legislature. If the legislature does not agree to an extension, the governor is prohibited from issuing a new order, delaying or prohibiting evictions.