Renter protections

The City has adopted renter protection policies as part of our Housing Maintenance Code. Violations of these policies may lead to citations or other penalties. Here's what property owners and managers need to know to stay in compliance.

Renter screening

There are two options for screening potential renters. Owners can use the inclusive screening criteria in the ordinance or do an individual assessment. Even if a rental property owner doesn't charge an application fee, they have to use one of these options.

Inclusive screening criteria

Under this option, standards can't be stricter than the standards in the ordinance, but they may be less restrictive. The inclusive guidelines cover criminal, rental, and credit history.

  • Criminal history
    • Cannot consider misdemeanors with dates of sentencing older than three years
    • Cannot consider felonies with dates of sentencing older than seven years
    • Cannot consider convictions for certain felonies with dates of sentencing older than 10 years, including: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, third-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, kidnapping, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first degree assault, first degree arson and first degree aggravated robbery
  • Rental history
    • Cannot consider evictions where judgment was entered three or more years from date of application
    • Cannot consider settlements entered one or more years before applicant submits application
    • Cannot consider dismissed evictions or evictions resulting in judgment for the applicant
    • Cannot screen out for insufficient rental history
    • If a landlord requires an income equal to three times the rent or higher, the landlord must allow an exception where the applicant can demonstrate a history of successful rent payment with an income less than three times the rent
  • Credit history
    • Cannot screen based on credit score, but can consider information in a credit report if relevant to ability to pay rent
    • Cannot screen out for insufficient credit history

Individual assessment option

If a property owner wants to use criteria stricter than those in the ordinance, they must evaluate applicants using an individual assessment. The property owner must consider all additional evidence provided by the applicant to explain, justify, or negate the relevance of information revealed by screening.

In an individual assessment, a property owner must consider:

  • The nature and severity of the incidents that would lead to a denial
  • The number and type of the incidents
  • The time that has passed since the incidents occurred
  • The age of the individual at the time the incidents occurred

Exceptions

A property owner may screen out any applicant in these situations:

  • Applicants convicted of drug offenses as defined in Section 102 of the federal Controlled Substances Act
  • Applicants convicted of offenses that would exclude them from federally assisted housing, including but not limited to when any member of the household is subject to a lifetime sex offender registration requirement under a state sex offender registration program

Security deposits

Security deposits are capped at a single month's rent.

If a property owner chooses to ask for more than a single month's rent up front, the security deposit is limited to 50% of a single month's rent. In this case, the renter must have the ability to pay the security deposit in up to three installments.

A common example of this is when a landlord asks for both the first and last month's rent in advance--in this situation, the security deposit would be limited to 50% of a month's rent, and the renter must be able to pay the security deposit in installments over three months.

In situations where a renter has a referral from a government agency or non-profit service provider, one and one-half month's rent may be collected as a security deposit.

When returning a security deposit to a renter, landlords must include a copy ofMinnesota Statutes 504B.178 and Minneapolis Code of Ordinances 244.2040.

Advance notice of building sale

Owners of naturally occurring affordable housing must give the City at least 60 days' notice before making their property available for purchase.

Naturally occurring affordable housing includes apartments with five or more units in which at least 20% of the units are affordable to households earning less than 60% of area median income

Relocation assistance

Renters are eligible for relocation assistance (defined as three months' rent) in the following situations:

  • When a naturally occurring affordable housing building is sold and a lease is terminated without cause, rents increase, or a renter is re-screened and loses their housing
  • If a rental license is revoked or cancelled

Naturally occurring affordable housing includes buildings with five or more units in which at least 20% of the units are affordable to households earning less than 60% of area median income.

Other resources & information

Minnesota Multi-Housing Assocation

The City has partnered with the Minnesota Multi Housing Association, a trade association for rental property managers, to develop our policies.

Microtrainings

HousingLink, an affordable housing information and resource organization, created a series of microtrainings to help rental property managers understand renter protections.

The New Rules for Rental Screening & Security Deposits: Owner's Guide

This detailed PDF walks through the specifics of the ordinances in English or Spanish.

Webinars

The City has hosted a series of webinars to walk you through the details of the ordinance, the resources available to help implement changes, and how the City will oversee compliance.

You can watch a recording of a past webinar on the ordinance hosted by the City of Minneapolis, HousingLink, and Guardian Property Management.

You can also view a past webinar on renter screening hosted by the Minnesota Multi Housing Association and the City of Minneapolis.

Sign up for text alerts

The City will work with our partners in the community throughout the Spring to develop a plan for enforcing these policies. Sign up for rental licensing text alerts to get more information as it becomes available.

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Contact us

Inspections Services

Phone

612-673-3000

Fax

612-673-3699

Address

Public Service Building
505 S. Fourth Ave., Room 510B
Minneapolis, MN 55415