Minneapolis property owners protest City Council proposal to ease restrictions on renters

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Minneapolis property owners say a City Council plan to make housing more accessible will end up jeopardizing safety.

The proposal is in very early stages, but could go before the City Council later this summer. However, residents are already fired up about it.

“We do our best to support neighborhoods and provide safe and affordable for our residents,” said Mike Garvin of Minnesota Multi-Housing Association.

“We demand a safe, well-run, maintainable Minneapolis for all,” said Nichol Beckstrand, the association’s president.

With applause and holding signs, dozens of property managers and neighbors launched Safe and Affordable Neighborhoods Minneapolis.

The group is in response to a City Council proposal to change how people get into rental properties in a tight market.

“Last month’s vacancy for Minneapolis was at 1.9 percent,” Beckstrand said. “In reality, in our world, that’s zero percent vacancy.”

“I’m here to appeal to all residents of Minneapolis, particularly renters, to reject the proposed screening and deposit ordinances,” said Bernadette Hornig of Hornig Companies.

“We are trying to lower unnecessary barriers for folks getting into housing,” said Councilor Jeremiah Ellison, of Minneapolis Ward 5.

Ellison is crafting the 6-page draft ordinance with City Council President Lisa Bender.

“It’s in draft form, nothing is final,” said Ellison. “We don’t even have a public hearing yet.”

Ellison told FOX 9 the potential changes include setting limits for landlords to charge for pet deposits, not relying on renter credit history of 500 or more and capping security deposits to two forms of payments.

“We’ve heard feedback some are getting double charged,” Ellison said.

He added that another possible change is criminal history forgiveness for those who’ve stayed out of the criminal justice system for at least five years.

Sex crimes, arson and racketeering, however, would be exceptions to the rule if passed.

“We think that that person is on their way to put it in their rearview and get in the market,” Ellison said.

“Credit score and criminal background are relevant to keep our properties affordable and safe,” said Beckstrand.

“The ordinances will make them less safe, make rents less affordable, stifle new rental construction and limit new opportunities the city seeks to help,” said Garvin.

City officials say the draft ordinance could go before a public hearing later this summer.