Minneapolis leaders announce pre-lease renters protection ordinance

Minneapolis Mayor signs renter protection ordinance

Minneapolis Mayor signs renter protection ordinance

A new pre-lease renters protection ordinance is set to go into effect in Minneapolis.

Officials say the ordinance guarantees that any renter who signs a pre-lease and cannot inhabit the unit by the move-in date has three options for remedy to choose from, including the option to exit the lease.

This comes after a lawsuit claiming a “bait-and-switch” scheme in Dinkytown.

RELATED: Minneapolis City Council to hear new policy that would protect renters

Mayor Jacob Frey was joined ahead of the ordinance’s signing on Monday by City Council Member Robin Wonsley, a representative from the Building Trades Union and various representatives from the U of M, including administration, the Board of Regents and the Undergraduate Student Government.

Before signing the ordinance, Mayor Frey said “It is not fair to sign up for a lease if you’re not ultimately going to get to live in the space on time. It is not fair to have to continue to pay your rent when you’re not living in the apartment that you ultimately signed up for.”

RELATED: Apartment in Dinkytown sued for alleged “bait-and-switch” scheme

Katie Smithberg who represents the Undergraduate Student Government at the U of M, said this incident would have been swept under the rug were it not for the actions taken by students and local leaders.

“Students should be able to focus on their academics and their mental well-being while on campus, and this was a major setback to that,” Smithberg said. “It took the courage of many students to speak out against the unfair practices that this management used for a change to be made.”

RELATED: “Construction is still going on in there.” Some U of M students with leases at Identity Dinkytown say they don’t plan to move in.

Business Manager of the Minneapolis Construction and Trades Council Dan McConnell called the ordinance a huge step in the right direction for future building projects.

“The developers who abuse workers are often also the landlords who make their tenants pay for space that isn’t ready,” McConnell said. “While this ordinance alone will not end the exploitation of workers, it will create a giant incentive to hire companies who treat their workers fairly and are looking to complete projects on time and on budget. Or, as I’d like to say, a union contractor.”

A recording of the announcement can be viewed below.