LHiNC has partnered with Ward 13 Council Member Linea Palmisano to provide answers to many of the most pressing questions for renters and homeowners in multi-unit buildings, during COVID-19 and beyond. There is also a list of organizations that can provide renters with further resources.
If you are a renter or homeowner in a multi-unit building, and have a question that is not answered, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will work with Council Member Palmisano to find and share the answer.
Can I be evicted during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Not right now.
In order to keep people safely housed during this health emergency, Gov. Tim Walz signed an emergency executive order that suspends evictions and writs of recovery during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. (Emergency Executive Order 20-14.) Right now, that executive order lasts through May 18, although it could be extended.
If I can’t be evicted, do I still have to pay rent?
Nothing in the Executive Order eliminates the requirement that a tenant must pay rent, even if you can’t be evicted. If you don’t pay rent, or in some other way violate your lease agreement, you could be evicted after the Governor’s Executive Order expires.
What if I can’t pay my rent?
- Talk to your landlord as soon as you know or think you may not be able to pay your rent.
- Pay what you can, so you don’t fall too far behind in rent.
- Ask your landlord if they are willing to put you on a payment plan while you are short of money.
- If you have lost your job, go to the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance website to see if you qualify for help: www.uimn.org.
What if my landlord tries to evict me right now?
If a landlord or lender violates the governor’s order, they are guilty of a misdemeanor. If they are found guilty, they can be punished by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 90 days in jail.
Can my utilities—gas, electric, water—be shut off if I can’t pay my bills?
Your utility bills are still due, but Xcel Energy, Centerpoint and the Minneapolis Water Department are not shutting off utilities during COViD-19.
Can my landlord enter my unit, even though I’m trying to practice social distancing?
- State law generally allows a landlord or someone working for the landlord to enter your unit without permission if they have a reasonable business purpose and give you reasonable notice in advance. “Reasonable business purpose” can include showings or repair needs.
- If you think you have the right to refuse your landlord coming into your unit, tell your landlord in writing that you will refuse the landlord or whoever they send and tell them why.
What if my lease ends soon, or my landlord notified me that I have to move?
- Your landlord can’t break your lease during the state of emergency, unless you commit a crime or cause a serious public safety problem.
- If your lease is ending, it still ends on the original date—but your landlord can’t force you to move during the state of emergency. Your landlord can’t lock you out or evict you.
- Once the state of emergency is over, your landlord can file an eviction against you, if you are still living there, and can charge you rent for the extra time you stayed in the unit.
What if my unit needs repairs during this time?
You have the right to live in a home that is in reasonable repair, meets housing codes and is reasonably energy efficient. Your landlord is responsible for making your home fit to live in. The pandemic has not changed that responsibility.
- Landlords must take care of emergency repairs—no heat, major water leaks, etc.—quickly.
- If the repairs needed are not an emergency, your landlord has up to 14 days to take care of them.
What responsibility does my landlord/building manager have to help prevent spread of coronavirus in my building?
Your lease should cover who is responsible for keeping your unit and any shared spaces in your building clean. Most likely, you are responsible for keeping your own unit clean and the landlord/building manager is responsible for keeping shared spaces clean.
If I get sick with COVID-19, do I have to report it to my landlord?
You are not required to tell your landlord about a COVID-19 diagnosis. But doing so can help protect building staff and other people in the building that you may contact.
Can I leave if I’m being hurt or abused?
- Call 911 for an emergency.
- If you are being hurt or abused, call the Minnesota Day One Crisis Hotline at 1-866-223-1111. They can help you to get help, safety and support.
- HOME Line for housing questions and legal assistance. 612-728-5767.
- Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid provides professional legal help to Minnesotans who don’t have resources or access to attorneys. 612-334-5970.
Know Your Rights
- Minnesota Attorney General’s Office
- Minnesota Renters and Landlords Rights and Responsibilities 651-296-3353
City of Minneapolis Resources