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Lawmakers talk about ‘off ramp’ bills for eviction moratorium

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Dealing with the current eviction moratorium has been a priority in the Minnesota legislature. It prohibits landlords and property managers from evicting tenants who are unable to pay rent because of COVID-19. The eviction moratorium is also in place to prevent overcrowding in homeless shelters to prevent the spread of the virus.

"I am here today with a grandmother who cares for her 7-year-old grandson who absolutely is evicted for non-payment of rent if it weren't for the eviction moratorium," said a guest speaker at the Senate Housing Working Group on Wednesday.

"$306,107 in past due rent with those 82 applicants. If you don't understand that we, as owners and managers, are dying right now. I need you to understand," Lisa Marvin of Essence Property Management.

As long as Gov. Tim Walz's emergency powers are in place, he can extend the moratorium.

The House and Senate have been working on "off-ramp" bills to find a resolution to eviction moratorium.

The Senate passed a bill that would prevent Walz from stopping evictions for more than 30 days unless lawmakers approve it.

"To get back to allowing the landlords collect the rent that lets them pay the mortgages on the building that they own," said Sen. Carla Nelson, (R) Rochester. "Or there will not be places for people to rent if there is no rent that is being collected."

The House version of the bill would make landlords give renters a 60-day notice before filing for eviction, within 12 months after the Peacetime Emergency Order ends.

"If we were in a situation where, come June 4th, people who are behind on their rent are evicted from their homes, we would have a large number of Minnesotans on the streets come June 4th," said Rep. Liz Nelson, (DFL) Rochester.

Both lawmakers say the bills will provide balance for landlords and renters.
Anyone who is struggling to pay rent should go to RentHelpMN.org.

Last fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared a temporary halt on eviction to prevent the spread of COVID-19, federally. It's effective until June, 30. However, the legal ability for the CDC to make that declaration remains in question.

KaMaria Braye

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