Money is tight for many of us right now. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected jobs, finances, and our sense of security as we ride out social distancing, isolation, and, if we’re lucky, working from home. Many people are worrying about making ends meet, and that includes paying their rent.
Last month, in response to the coronavirus’ growing financial and economic impact that has startled people nearly as strongly as the coronavirus health scare itself, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz put a temporary moratorium on evictions and notices to vacate for renters who are late to pay rent in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak. In other words, landlords in the state cannot force people to vacate their homes if they can’t afford their monthly rent during these troubled times. If a landlord does pursue eviction or other aggressive collection tactics, he or she can be charged for violating the governor’s executive order. Minnesota is one of 15 states who have issued such orders forbidding evictions as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect livelihoods across the country.
A rural Pine County landlord has been charged for allegedly violating the order and trying to force a family out of the home. He also turned off their electricity, according to news reports. The landlord is facing up to $25,000 in fines.
Edina Landlord-Tenant Dispute Attorneys
The Minnesota real estate attorneys at Morris Law Group, P.A. are experts in landlord-tenant disputes, representing either side fairly and swiftly to bring about a solution that is cost-effective, upright, and beneficial to our clients. Every situation is different, and we understand the law even when it changes – temporarily or in state statute. If your landlord is trying to evict you, we can help.
Our attorneys have fought for tenant rights in lease agreements, evictions, lease modifications, property maintenance, repairs, and safety, housing discrimination, and more. Just because you rent doesn’t mean you don’t have rights, no matter what your landlord might say.
And please note: We are open for business and accepting new clients. Due to the spread of coronavirus, we are offering clients the opportunity to meet with us via telephone, e-mail, and video conferencing. Contact us today via phone at 952-832-2000 or by email at email@example.com.
Local Officials Ask Walz to Stop Rent, Mortgages, and Commercial Evictions
More recently, local elected officials – primarily City Council members in Minneapolis and St. Paul – sent a letter to Walz asking him to suspend rent requirements, mortgage payments, and to put a stop to commercial property evictions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The idea is to further protect people from being forced out onto the streets as well as prevent small business closures, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
“Debt is piling up for renters and mortgage-holders, despite many not having a steady income for the foreseeable future,” the group told Walz in the letter. “Mass displacement, home foreclosures, and the shuttering of businesses are imminent unless aggressive measures are taken immediately.”
Walz has yet to publicly respond at the time of this blog posting. The difference between his executive order and local officials’ request is that as of now, renters are still required to pay rent; they just can’t be evicted if they don’t or if payment is late. But eventually, they will have to catch up if they want to continue to reside in the property.
What Minnesota Renters Need to Know About the Covid-19 Moratorium on Rent
Here, our real estate attorneys answer some frequently asked questions about Gov. Walz’s COVID-19-related order on rental evictions.
Q. Do I still have to pay my rent?
- Yes. You should pay your rent as you normally do if you can. But if you are struggling, contact your landlord and explain that you aren’t working because of COVID-19 or that your hours have been cut. Make a payment arrangement if necessary. That being said, if you can’t pay right now, your landlord cannot file eviction papers and remove you from the property under Walz’s order.
Q. Can my landlord evict me if I am late on my rent?
- Again, no. Evictions are on pause due to the coronavirus emergency. If your landlord is pressuring you to move, cutting off your utilities, or threatening you with eviction, call our office right away for legal advice and what actions to take to protect yourself.
Q. What if my lease is ending?
- Your landlord cannot force you to leave even if your lease is ending. That’s because we are in a state of emergency. You are entitled to stay unless you have committed a crime. Continue to pay your rent if you can and let your landlord know you will be staying until the pandemic has been resolved.
Q. What if I need to go to court?
- The courts are open, but limited due to the outbreak. Your case could be delayed. Earlier this month, Minnesota Judicial Branch Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea established temporary procedures for district court case processing. As of now, court facilities shall remain open. Service windows at court facilities will also remain open, and courts will continue to accept filings in all case types. The Judicial Branch discourages the public from making any non-essential visits to court facilities. Talk to one of our attorneys about the latest changes and what steps to take if necessary.
About Morris Law Group, P.A.
Integrity and trust is the foundation of our practice. Our passion for client success is matched only by our experience, our reputation for excellence, and our deep understanding of each and every client’s individual needs.
At Morris Law Group, we don’t just counsel our clients. We invest in them.
We’ve been serving the Edina and Twin Cities communities since 2002. Our attorneys provide personalized, cost-effective legal services to clients seeking help in real estate, business development, commercial litigation, and other matters.
Our experienced Edina attorneys – Founder Richard L. Morris, Lillian Ballard, and NicK Henry – believe that relationships matter, whether a client is trying to navigate a purchase agreement, get a business off the ground, or dissolve a partnership. Our lawyers appear regularly in state and federal court, in administrative hearings, and in various alternative dispute resolution forums, including mediation and arbitration.
Morris Law Group is the top Minnesota law firm for all of your real estate and business legal needs. We advocate for our clients with professionalism, vigor, and with a results-driven approach.