SSCO staff summary of a DRAFT ordinance to amend the Minneapolis Housing Code, authored by City Council Members Bender and Ellison
Please note: This is a summary prepared by SSCO staff to clarify in plain language the proposed ordinances. The full text of the drafts are available in PDF format at the end of this page.
Screening criteria: The draft ordinance proposes that landlords may choose from either of two options for tenant screening.
Option 1: A landlord applies standard criteria that do not deny an applicant for any of the following reasons:
- any arrest in an inactive case that did not result in conviction;
- any charge that resulted in a stay of adjudication, continuance for dismissal without prosecution, or completion of a diversion program;
- any conviction that has been expunged or for which the applicant received a stay of imposition of sentencing;
- any charge which did not result in conviction or sentencing;
- any conviction in the juvenile justice system;
- any conviction for misdemeanors which were sentenced more than two years ago;
- any conviction for felonies which were sentenced more than five years ago, with the exception of certain convictions for criminal sexual conduct, production of methamphetamine, arson, and racketeering offenses.
- insufficent credit history or a credit score of 500 or above;
- an eviction action if it was dismissed, settled with no judgement more than a year ago, or resulted in a judgement against the applicant that was entered more than three years ago;
- insufficient rental history, unless the applicant withholds information in bad faith.
A landlord shall notify an applicant of a denial within fourteen day and identify the specific criteria the applicant failed to meet.
Option 2: A landlord who opts to conduct a written individualized assessment based on more restrictive screening criteria must consider additional information provided by the applicant to explain, justify, or negate any negative information revealed such as:
- six or more months of job or income stability, or six or more consecutive months of positive rental payments in the past year;
- completion of, or current enrollment in, secondary education or job training programs;
- completion of credit counseling.
A landlord must then consider and address the following issues before denying an applicant based on more restrictive screening criteria:
- The nature, severity, number, and types of barriers faced by the applicant;
- The time that has elapsed since the barriers occurred and the age of the applicant at the time of the barrier.
A landlord shall notify an applicant of a denial within 14 days and include information about:
- the screening criteria which were not met;
- any supplemental information which influenced the decision;
- an explanation of the legitimate, non-discriminatory business interest of the landlord that justified the denial.
Media Coverage & Commentary
SSCO does not currently take a position on these ordinances, but provides the following resources so individual community members can be informed and come to their own conclusions about the issues.
We understand some of these resources may be behind a paywall, please contact us if you have trouble accessing them.
- Minneapolis renters’ input informs new housing-stability proposals – Publication: MinnPost. Author: Bill Lindeke.
- Minneapolis landlords ramp up campaign against tenant screening ordinances – Publication: Star Tribune. Authors: Miguel Otárola and Marissa Evans.
Editorials (Published Opinion Pieces)
- Attack on landlords in Minneapolis is bound to backfire – Publication: Star Tribune. Author: Star Tribune Editorial Board.
- Counterpoint: Public needs renters’ perspective on Minneapolis proposal to limit screening – Publication: Star Tribune. Authors: Co-signed by Joey Dobson, a housing policy attorney for Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid; Eric Hauge, executive director of HOME Line; Jennifer Arnold, director of Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia (United Renters for Justice); Margaret Kaplan, policy director of the Housing Justice Center; and Russ Adams, executive director of The Alliance.