Updated: April 01, 2020 06:45 AM
Created: March 31, 2020 09:17 PM
Although there are signs around some neighborhoods and online accounts telling tenants to boycott rent this month, the Minnesota Attorney General's office couldn't be more clear.
"There is nothing in the governor's order that would ever give a tenant permission to not pay rent," said Katherine Kelly, assistant Attorney General.
Gov. Tim Walz's executive order 20-14 put a moratorium, or a pause, on evictions and notices to vacate, but there is still an expectation that rent is paid.
"This is not a time to take advantage of anyone," said Kelly. "Landlords should not be taking advantage of tenants. Tenants shouldn't use this bit of chaos to take advantage of their landlords who also have bills to pay."
Kelly says it's important for tenants to communicate with their landlord if they're having financial difficulty.
"The reason for that is so that the landlord can prepare for what the landlord has to pay in terms of the mortgage and other expenses," said Kelly.
If landlords aren't getting their payments during this "peacetime emergency," they can take the tenant to court once the governor lifts that emergency.
"Once the peacetime emergency is over and we go back to the regular landlord-tenant laws that normally would apply, the landlord could go right to court and file for a breach of lease, and use the fact that the tenant has not paid to have an eviction order issued," said Kelly.
For tenants that believe they are being wrongfully evicted during the peacetime emergency, the Attorney General's office has created a form that you can find here.
State lawmakers are set to have a meeting Wednesday morning on how to deal with missed rent or mortgage payments during the COVID-19 crisis. They'll discuss options for housing assistance to support renters, homeowners and landlords.
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