Landlord coalition sues Walz after eviction moratorium off-ramp agreement reached

A group representing multiple Minnesota landlords sued Gov. Tim Walz over his eviction moratorium executive order. That same day, lawmakers in St. Paul came to an agreement for an off-ramp plan on the eviction moratorium.

Unsplash/Olivia Pike

On June 15, Sen. Rich Draheim, R-Madison Lake, released a statement urging his colleagues to “pass the eviction moratorium off-ramp agreement,” citing Gov. Tim Walz’s use of “evictions as a justification for the emergency power[s].” 

The statement was published as a group of property owners in the state of Minnesota banded together to sue Walz over his Executive Order 20-79. The lawsuit states that the executive order “unconstitutionally interferes with the contract rights of tenants and property owners” and makes it “impossible for property owners to comply with their statutory obligations to provide clean and safe spaces for their residents.”

It is estimated that one in five renters nationwide with children are not caught up on rent, according to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The coalition of Minnesota landlords states in their lawsuit that “a renter that is able to pay but chooses not to has the same protections as a renter who cannot afford to pay because of hardship arising out of the pandemic — an obvious opportunity for abuse that has in fact been exploited.” 

The eviction moratorium off-ramp agreement ends the eviction ban after 105 days and also requires a 15-day notice for evictions. Rental assistance claims would also be protected until June of 2022. 

The eviction moratorium has been in place since March of 2020. The state of Minnesota has received about $672 million from the federal government for emergency rental assistance, which is more than ten times the budget of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. 

Minnesota launched a program called RentHelpMN just two short months ago and is only processing about 16 applications a day, meaning it would take more than four years for all 24,525 current applications to be processed.