The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a right to counsel ordinance on October 8 that ensures legal support for low-income tenants facing eviction, a policy that will help disrupt the eviction cycles that push tenants into unsafe housing or out of housing altogether.
Renters with low incomes often lack legal representation, making it more challenging for them to avoid evictions. Evictions have a lasting impact on renters and make it more difficult for them to secure housing in the future. They also disproportionately impact members of our racially diverse communities. The ordinance establishes a goal of serving renters whose income is less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
This ordinance builds on a growing body of work the City has advanced to address the challenges facing Minneapolis renters. Earlier this year, the City Council passed a fair notice ordinance to increase housing security and reduce the rate of evictions. It requires property owners to give renters notice at least 14 days before initiating eviction proceedings for non-payment of rent explaining the basis for the eviction action.
The City Council also approved the renter protections ordinance in 2019 that caps security deposits at a maximum of one month’s rent and provides property owners guidelines for screening potential renters. The City also has a Renter-First Housing Policy that affirms the City’s commitment to advancing renter protections and developing new tools to support affordability and stability in rental housing.