City Council proposes rent stabilization amendments

Photo by Daniel Bosse/Unsplash

The Rent Stabilization Charter Amendments put forward by Councilmembers Cam Gordon and Jeremiah Ellison and Council President Lisa Bender have been formally introduced by the Council, on a unanimous vote. It will now go to the Council’s Policy & Governance Oversight committee, where a public hearing will be set. The Council also voted unanimously to introduce a proposed ordinance to protect tenants from eviction.

“I’m grateful for the support of my colleagues in moving this critical work forward,” said Councilmember Gordon. “Tenants in Minneapolis—especially in our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities—are hurting, and the Council is taking action to help.”

The charter amendments are required by state statute, which prohibits rent stabilization unless approved in a general election.

The proposed charter amendments will allow either the council, or the people of Minneapolis by a petition process, to adopt a rent stabilization law.

“We must build out the tools to protect the more than half of residents who rent their homes from displacement,” Council President Bender said. “I have seen too many families lose their homes, we need to protect our neighbors from unlimited price gouging and prevent evictions.”

“Simply put, our neighbors are losing their homes because they cannot keep up with the rent,” 5th Ward Councilmember Ellison said. “This is a housing issue. This is a homelessness issue. And it’s time we clear the path to take serious action to protect our neighbors and stabilize our communities.”

The City of Minneapolis has an ongoing contract with the University of Minnesota Humphrey School’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) to research the details of a rent stabilization law.

Action is required by the City Council by the end of February, to give the Minneapolis Charter Commission 150 days to consider the amendments and return to the Council with a decision on whether or not to place the amendments on the fall 2021 ballot.

Councilmembers Gordon, Ellison, and Council President Bender’s new eviction protections ordinance would include a just cause eviction provision like what has recently passed in St. Paul, and a pre-eviction notification provision similar to what has recently passed in St. Louis Park.

In Minneapolis, 51% percent of households rent their homes and over half of renters earn less than 60% of the area median income. Of those families, more than three-quarters paid more than 30% of their income on housing and nearly half paid more than half of their income on housing.