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Many COVID-19 restrictions ending, not eviction moratorium

ST. PAUL— Minnesota housing officials are urging state legislators to proceed carefully in negotiating an end to a moratorium on rental property evictions.

While other coronavirus restrictions are being lifted, lawmakers have failed to reach a compromise on ending the eviction moratorium.

Housing commissioner Jennifer Ho said the anxiety of both owners and renters is real.

“Why would the Legislature want to inflict unnecessary harm that creates a chaotic environment when we’re all tired from what we’ve been through with the pandemic and the economy?” Ho asked.

Because of COVID-19, landlords dealing with unpaid rent, loud parties, police calls and threatening behavior haven’t been able to evict tenants because of the moratorium, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

“We have people that are behaving badly in our properties and we need to bring some relief to their neighbors who have put up with their nonsense for far too long,” said Cecil Smith, president of the Minnesota Multi Housing Association.

Democrats want landlords to hold off on most evictions for financial reasons for a year after the moratorium lifts. And then provide at least 30 days’ notice before canceling a lease or moving to evict a person for failing to pay rent or otherwise breaking a lease.

Gov. Tim Walz wants legislators to reach an agreement instead of him rescinding the moratorium order.

“I’ve said from the beginning: I don’t think you can let this instantly sunset,” Walz said. “I’ve said if we can reach a compromise in the House and Senate, we will certainly sign what they come up with.”