Minneapolis Area REALTORS® (MAR) has become aware of two draft ordinances proposing to establish limits on rental security deposits and changing rental screening criteria. In ordinances drafted by Council President Lisa Bender and Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison, limits would be established on security deposit requirements. If charging the first month and last month in advance, the security deposit would be limited to ½ month’s rent equivalent. If the tenant requested the ability to pay ‘upfront amounts’, the landlord would be required to allow the tenant to take up to three months to pay in installments. Pet deposits would also be limited. Screening criteria for criminal history would be changed to five years look back from the date of sentencing for felony convictions and two years look back from the date of sentencing on misdemeanors. Alternative sentencing programs including expungements, stays of adjudication and other programs would be treated with more leniency as well. The screening criteria would also establish a floor, down to 500 FICO credit score.
Minnesota Multi-Housing Association (MHA), a group that represents landlords, has responded and created a campaign called Safe & Affordable Minneapolis. Their campaign is designed to push back on the proposed changes. The Star Tribune Editorial Board has also taken a position against the proposals. The editorial board concluded, “well-intended regulations can have negative consequences.”
It is important to note these ordinances have not been introduced. Primary authors maintain they drafted the ordinances to give the discussion a starting point. MAR has been monitoring the draft ordinances, resulting in media attention, news reports and discussions. MAR hosted a presentation by MN Multi-Housing Association last week and has requested a policy analysis from the National Association of REALTORS® and will have that information returned by the end of June.