Renters should not be discriminated against based on income

Landlords using income requirements are obviously discriminatory toward low-income people. According to the Star Tribune, Jamal Jones and Alliyah Ross and their 5-week-old baby Chanel had been living in the Drake Hotel for less than a month when the hotel fire on Christmas took the first real home they ever had. Both Jones and Ross are only 20 years old.

Before ending up at the Drake, they had applied for an apartment that was $1,200 and their application was rejected because they did not have a monthly income of $3,600, which is a yearly income of $44,000. Of the thousands of people throughout the state of Minnesota struggling to find housing, how many of them make $44K a year? Probably not a single one.

It would be nice if everyone could pay only 30% of their income on housing, but that is just not a reality for most of us. These are renters who are very low income and keep a roof over their heads even when they are paying over 50% of their income on their rent—it is not about how much you make, it is about how you spend.

Many renters who make under $20,000 a year pay their rent better than people who make $50,000 a year. And these income requirements are also a way for landlords to selectively discriminate against poor People of Color.

If the law is going to allow landlords the right to get personal financial information from possible renters, then renters should also be allowed to get the same information about the landlords. Renters have the right to know if their future landlord is financially responsible and has an adequate income to fix the property when things break, as well as pay the water and gas bills and taxes.

Developer John Wolf threatens Chicago Lake stability

For a system to allow developers to come into the Chicago-Lake Street neighborhood of South Minneapolis and charge rents starting at $1,450 for a studio apartment is a form of terrorism upon all the current renters presently living in the neighborhood.

Thousands of renters are now wondering how they are going to afford to live in THEIR neighborhood.

The Star Tribune sub-headline in a recent article about developer John Wolf, read, “John Wolf is a $10 million believer in the neighborhood around Chicago Avenue and Lake Street in Minneapolis.”

This is not the “rebirth” of Lake and Chicago, this is the death of it. Wolf’s new project will be a major step towards the “uptowning” of Lake and Chicago. Wolf is not a believer in the neighborhood. If he was he wouldn’t be destroying it by pricing people out of it. What he really believes in is ruthless capitalism. He is exploiting a housing crisis to make a lot of money.

Those who support this kind of housing development are being very short-sighted. We need look no further than San Francisco to see how rapidly rising housing costs can destroy a city.

The city of Berlin, Germany, has recently invoked a 5-year rent freeze. I am not suggesting something this drastic be done, but something must be done.

Frank Erickson lives in South Minneapolis.

2 Comments on “Renters should not be discriminated against based on income”

  1. I totally agree with this. As a single mom that waits tables and attends school full time ,it has been extremely hard for me in the past to find a place due to my credit /income. I have been denied over and over again and it’s not right . I now live in a south Minneapolis neighborhood and am paying close to $1400 for a two bedroom for my daughter and I. I have been through literal hell and have been homeless with my daughter multiple times . The system is wacky. Landlords most definitely discriminate . The requirements are out of this world and rent is ridiculously high. It’s unreasonable. Some of us do have a past as far as a record, bad credit due to certain circumstances, life happens and Everybody deserve a fair chance .

  2. I agree with this article as I am former apt manager as it is crazy how much the owners/management company want to raise rents as well we as renters pay for all the utilities as a reimbursement back to the property. We as renters are paying for water, trash, sewer and gas back to the property but like my family we don’t use as water/sewer and gas as others. As well as the trash (we don’t toss our furniture or other large items in the trash. We also pay for the standard utilities like the electric, cable, internet and/or phone which we can control. Then the landlord uses a “Rent Matrix” to determine how much our rent and lease terms will be. We received over a $50 increase in the rent but it’s only for 6mos as a 12mo lease will be over $100 increase.

    What happened to signing a 12 month lease with a $20 increase with rent incentives? Gone with the wind, I guess. I don’t live in Minneapolis but in the southern suburbs and rents are just as high as anywhere else in the twin cities. As for moving into a different place, you have moving expenses like deposit, application fee, moving truck/company boxes, transfer fees on utilities and time off of work. It’s cheaper to stay where you are and try to save money for a forever home (in 10yrs or more).

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