HOA, condo daycare prohibition bans considered by Minnesota lawmakers

Those who live in a homeowner’s association (HOA) or condo looking to create an in-home licensed daycare center could no longer be denied its operation as long as they have a license in Minnesota under a new proposal being considered by lawmakers.

Authored by Rep. Amanda Hemmingsen-Jaeger (DFL- Woodbury), the proposed law change would prohibit restrictions in property documents, including HOA bylaws and other property transfer paperwork such as deeds and sales, from, "prohibiting or refusing to permit the owner of a dwelling from providing child care under an in-home family and group family child care provider license."

"I believe that this bill has a very concise and consistent solution to some of our childcare issues," said Rep. Amanda Hemmingsen-Jaeger before the House Children and Families Finance and Policy Committee on Thursday. "The shortage of childcare is a message we’ve heard loud and clear. Particularly in Woodbury, most of our neighborhoods are governed by HOAs, and I was really shocked to find out that in other districts, HOAs are forcing the closure of in-home daycares, which is only exacerbating this crisis. This bill will allow neighborhoods to provide the childcare we desperately need."

If approved, Minnesota law would require the bylaws of a condo association, housing cooperative, or HOA to no longer create or enforce bans on in-home daycare establishments.

"Family child care is critical to the care of children and support of families. Where someone lives and even homeownership should not restrict the opportunity of providing such services," wrote Cyndi Cunningham, the Lead & Care Public Policy Chairperson. Re-branded as the Minnesota Child Care Provider Information Network (MCCPIN), Lead & Care is a 501(c)(3) representing licensed child care providers. "When a family has made these decisions, they should not be informed that they cannot open a licensed program. There are cases where this communication happens after purchase and association membership. The family is not able to relocate and therefore the family and the whole community loses an opportunity to be a contributor to the same community. This bill will provide clear support for licensed family child care in all communities and provides protection for individual families in homeownership."

During testimony on behalf of the proposal, a home daycare owner explained their experience navigating the process of dealing with an HOA while operating a licensed daycare, saying the law change would have benefited their establishment that previously won awards for its services.

"For many people, these start out of their home, then move to Main Street, and it’s their dream," said Rep. Nathan Nelson (R-Hinckley). "This should not be what the intent of HOAs are. Overall, I don’t like more regulations, but I think this is one I can get behind."

"This will restrict the ability of HOAs to gang up on individual homeowners," said Rep. Walter Hudson (R-Albertville).

Laid over for consideration by the Minnesota House Representatives on Thursday, a companion bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety.