New Tenant Policies Coming To St. Paul!

Changes are on the way for tenants and property owners in St. Paul! Last summer, the City of St. Paul passed The S.A.F.E. Tenant Protection Ordinance, a set of five new policies that go into effect March 1st.

These new guidelines provide further guidance to property owners when it comes to renting to tenants. Here is a breakdown of what they entail:

Tenant Rights and Responsibilities:

Landlords must provide residents with an information packet and poster that spells out the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and residents, and the resources that are available to them.

Security Deposits:

Residents will not be required to pay more than one month’s rent as a security deposit. Prepaid rent may also not exceed one month’s rent.

Applicant Screening Guidelines:

Landlords must follow uniform screening criteria to ensure fair access to housing.

*Rental History: Landlords may not look back at a renter’s history further than 3-years for evidence of evictions. If the landlord uses a minimum income test equal to 2.5x the rent or higher, the landlord must allow an exception to the test if the applicant can demonstrate a history of successful rent payment with the same or lower ratio.

*Criminal History: Landlords may not look back further than 3-years for misdemeanors and no further than 10-years for felonies. Petty misdemeanors or arrests/charges that did not result in convictions cannot be used as a basis to deny housing.

*Credit Score: Landlord may not disqualify applicant based upon credit score or history alone but may use the information to the extent that the report demonstrates failure to pay rent, utility bills, or withhold information in bad faith.

Just Cause Notice:

*Non-Renewals: Landlords must specify in writing why they have chosen not to renew a resident’s lease only if the landlord is able to establish one or more of the “allowable” grounds.

Advanced Notice of Sale (Affordable Housing):

Landlords will be required to provide a 90-day notice to residents of affordable units before a property sale. If rent increases or activities that displace residents occur within 90-days after the sale, the landlord will be required to provide rental or relocation assistance.

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