Rent Control in Minnesota (Minneapolis and Saint Paul)

Voters have given Minneapolis officials the green light to regulate rents, and Saint Paul voters have approved a rent control ordinance for the city.

During the November 2021 general election, Minneapolis and Saint Paul voters each approved ballot propositions regarding limits on how much landlords can charge tenants for rent ("rent control"). In Minneapolis, voters gave the city council the authority to regulate rents on private property, meaning that for rent control to become law in Minneapolis, the council must draft and pass an ordinancemost likely by placing it on a future ballot for voter approval. If and until that time, Minneapolis has no rent control.

Saint Paul voters approved an actual ordinance that is likely the strictest rent control in the nation, if not the world. Rent increases on every rental unit and all renters are capped at 3% a year, irrespective of inflation or other factors. The 3% limit also applies to a vacant unit after a tenant moves out, which means that a landlord cannot charge a new tenant more than 3% over what the prior tenant was paying. In other words, the amount of rent a landlord can charge applies to the unit, rather than individual leases. Unlike most rent control ordinances, the St. Paul law does not make an exception for new constructionit applies to every rental, no matter its age.

Landlords can disregard the 3% limit to cover increased property taxes or health and safety improvements, via an as-yet undetermined "reasonable return on investment" review process. Renovations and other general improvements likely would not qualify, nor would costs incurred to ensure habitability of units.

The final details and implementation of the Saint Paul rent control ordinance are being worked out. The ordinance takes effect May 1, 2022.