The information provided on this resource page is for informational purposes only and not intended to be legal advice. It is designed to assist our members and other housing providers in understanding COVID-19 and the issues it raises, but it is not intended to address specific circumstances or business situations. For specific legal questions, please consult your legal counsel.

 

Rental Assistance Committee Hearings

Author: MHA/Thursday, April 23, 2020/Categories: COVID-19

Rental Assistance Committee Hearings

Yesterday, Housing Committees in both the House and Senate heard competing bills related to rental assistance funding. The House version dedicates $100 million toward rental assistance and supplements language in the Governor’s Eviction Moratorium Executive Order. The Senate version includes $30 million for rental assistance and provides an ending for the Eviction Moratorium of 60-days plus an optional 30-day extension by the Governor.

 

We continue to press all parties for a resolution.

 

Why the GOP and DFL Haven’t Been Able to Agree on Rental Assistance for Low-Income Minnesotans

“Cecil Smith, the president and CEO of Minnesota Multi Housing, a trade group of apartment owners and managers, was an early backer of the rental assistance plan. He warned that there will be a surge of evictions once the moratorium ends if there is not some way to keep tenants from falling behind. But he said the association does want to see a specific end to the provisions in the eviction ban, what he termed an ‘off-ramp’ to the moratorium.”

“’This is why we are asking for rent-payment support and policy certainty, such as timelines and processes,’ Smith said. ‘We have to figure out how to off-ramp the eviction moratorium, so that evictions can be done in an orderly way and not overwhelm the courts.’”

 

MN Legislative Committees Consider Proposals to Help Low-Income Renters, Landlords Pay Bills

“Minnesota renters and low-income homeowners could get emergency state housing assistance grants under a $100 million COVID-19 aid program approved Wednesday by a state House committee…GOP senators are considering a $30 million housing measure.”

 

Minnesota Legislators Split Over Money to Prevent Eviction “Wave”

“A House committee on Wednesday advanced a DFL bill providing $100 million on a party-line vote; a Senate committee took up a separate GOP bill providing $30 million but took no action….Differences between the measures need to be ironed out ahead of final votes in the coming weeks. Walz’s temporary moratorium does not reduce what tenants owe landlords, and the administration has called on people to keep paying their rent if they can.”

 

Property Tax Deadline Extensions

Legislative leaders have indicated they will not act to force counties to provide an extension of property tax payments. However, Hennepin and Ramsey County have both extended their deadlines for qualifying property owners financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis from May 15th to July 15th. Both counties will provide relief only to those property owners who do not escrow their property tax payments and each have limitations on how much property tax a taxpayer may owe in order to qualify for the extension.

 

Other counties throughout the state have also relaxed deadlines, including Crow Wing, Olmsted, and Winona Counties. You should check with the counties in which you have properties to determine what action, if any, the county has taken regarding property tax payment deadlines.

 

Greater Twin Cities United Way blog post

At yesterday’s housing committee hearings, very informative testimony was provided by the Greater Twin Cities United Way related to the number of calls to its 211-resource helpline. They created a blog post detailing some of the data used in their testimony.

 

Nationally, April Rent Payment Rate Comparable to Prior Month

The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) found that by April 19th 89% of renters made a full of partial rent payment Historically, that is comparable to rent collections for March 2020 and April 2019 which both saw a 93% rent payment rate.

 

While April number nationally were stable, risk exists for rent collections in future months. NMHC President Doug Bibby stated, “It is encouraging that apartment residents continue to meet their rent obligations…but their financial security is unclear as many may not qualify for federal relief, while others are drawing down savings and facing greater financial challenges, including higher health care costs. For that reason, lawmakers need to act now to enact a direct renter assistance program.”

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