Minneapolis: We Know Better Than Actual Property Owners.

The City government of Minneapolis, Minnesota has passed new laws regulating how rental property owners can screen applicants.

Under the inclusive screening process, property owners are forbidden from rejecting a potential tenant for having an insufficient credit score, or for having insufficient credit history.

Landlords are also forbidden from turning down potential tenants for any misdemeanor convictions older than three years and for most felony convictions older than seven years. The law does allow landlords to reject applicants that have been convicted of murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, or first-degree criminal sexual conduct, but only if those convictions were within the last 10 years.

The inclusive screening process also prevents landlords from rejecting tenants for evictions older than three years.

In other words, the City Council thinks it knows how best to tell landlords who to rent to despite never having managed a rental property in their collective lives.

This ordinance provides a necessary protection for residents by ensuring they are not exploited with excessive move-in costs and have a fair opportunity to access housing,” said City Council President Lisa Bender. “The ordinance is part of this City Council’s large body of work to address our housing challenges, which includes a number of policy changes, a renters first policy, investments in affordable housing and funding for legal protections.”

“The intention of the ordinance is to reduce unnecessary financial and screening barriers that block people who are ready to enter the rental housing market from doing so,” said City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison. “These barriers have put a strain on families, and iced folks out of housing they may very well be qualified for.”

Addressing “housing challenges” should not include putting onerous regulations on who landlords rent to given the risks at stake for the property owner.

A single tenant can do literally thousands of dollars to a rental property which means the landlord has to go to court to sue the person for the repairs, all the while incurring the costs of a suit as well as the time to pursue that suit.

If a person has a history of being arrested for domestic violence, that cannot be held against them unless there is a conviction. Murderers would be allowed to rent (first and second degree) after 10 years of their release. The ability to pay cannot be taken into account if the applicant has a history of paying rent – even if the rent was paid late. (Because we all know that the landlords can tell their creditors to wait because they have people that haven’t paid rent that month.)

What this bill does is to tell landlords that instead of renting to the best people, they must rent to worse people. The City of Minneapolis is literally telling landlords they have no say in who they rent to.

That is going to cause effects that are not intended by the City Council. (Hopefully not intended.)

Landlords will raise rates to not only cover real increased costs, but costs that may occur in the future. For example, a landlord that rejects someone or rents to another can be forced to write a letter to the rejected applicant detailing the reasons they were rejected. That letter can be the basis of a lawsuit against the property owner.

Insurance rates for properties will go up.

Landlords will face more lawsuits from tenants who were harmed by other tenants because the landlord didn’t screen the person “properly.”

In essence, this is another case of the government taking over a private enterprise and telling the owner of the enterprise “you have to do this because we in our ignorance know what is best for you.”

This type of thing never works and yet governments keep trying it.

You’d think they’d learn.

2 Responses to “Minneapolis: We Know Better Than Actual Property Owners.”

  1. Thomas Gaume says:

    This is one that could have gone unpublished.

    Don’t give the inept Palm Bay City Council any stupid ideas.

  2. Percy says:

    Next up will be rent controls (rent caps), when the rents go up, which create shortages in supply and encourage corrupt under the table dealings to secure a place to live. More government regulation is not the solution.