District 10 Como Community Council

City Council Looks at Rental Protections

City Council Looks at Rental Protections

Como Kindness Dwells Here Illustration by Monique Hussey

City Council Looks at Rental Protections

Saint Paul City Council holds a virtual public hearing this Wednesday, June 24, on a proposed Tenant Protection Ordinance. If you want to testify for or against the proposal, you must register no later than noon Tuesday, June 23. Otherwise, submit comments by email or voicemail (651-266-6805)

Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali is the lead sponsor of the proposed ordinance. If it passes, the ordinance would take effect July 1, 2021. The proposed ordinance sets standards in five areas:

  • Rights and responsibilities: Creates a packet of information outlining rights, responsibilities, and resources for tenants and landlords.
  • Security deposits: Limits security deposits to one month’s rent. Also prohibits requiring tenants to pre-pay more than one month’s rent.
  • Tenant screening: Creates uniform guidelines about what can and cannot be used from an applicant’s rental, credit, and criminal history.
  • Just cause: Requires landlords to provide, in writing, just cause if they terminate a lease or refuse to renew a lease. There are 10 grounds for just cause, including failure to pay rent on time and “material” breaches of the lease.
  • Advance notice: Requires that tenants in buildings classified as “affordable housing” be notified at least 90 days in advance if their building is put up for sale. It also allows tenants to stay in the building at least 90 days after the sale, and requires the new owner to provide relocation assistance to displaced tenants under certain circumstances.

The proposed ordinance is part of a broader S.A.F.E. Housing initiative being developed by the city’s Office of Financial Empowerment. (S.A.F.E. stands for Stable, Accessible, Fair, Equitable). Overall goals include decreasing displacement and increasing housing access, especially in “affordable” rental units.

Originally published March 4, 2020; updated June 18.