This post will be updated as new information becomes available and was last updated Monday, August 16, 2021.
Over the past 16 months, we saw the statewide eviction moratorium function as a powerful public health intervention that kept people in their homes. And while our desire for a world with no evictions remains, we now face the end of the eviction moratorium and an incoming surge in evictions.
Unsurprisingly, we’ve received a lot of questions about RentHelpMN, the eviction moratorium off-ramp, and how they interact with each other. These questions boil down to:
- How can I remain housed (or find housing) while behind on rent?
- What are my rights?
- When will I receive the emergency rental assistance I am owed?
We’ll do our best to break down this relationship, which has a very material impact on marginalized renters.
On June 29th, the eviction moratorium off-ramp became law, phasing out the eviction moratorium in stages over a 105-day timeline. Over a series of several key dates, additional types of lease terminations, lease non-renewals, and evictions can be filed. Learn more of the specifics from HOME Line here.
What does this have to do with Minnesota’s emergency rental assistance program, RentHelpMN? While the off-ramp does not include the extent of tenant protections we advocated for as a member of Equity in Place, it does offer some protection. First and foremost, tenants with pending RentHelpMN applications cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent until June 1, 2022. Additionally, landlords must provide tenants with 15 days notice before filing an eviction for nonpayment of rent. During this 15 day period, renters can apply for emergency rental assistance, achieving a layer of protection against eviction.
What does this all mean for renters?
Well, for one thing, we strongly encourage renters to apply for emergency rental assistance via RentHelpMN.org or 2-1-1. We know RentHelpMN has been a frustrating experience for many—we’ve seen it firsthand, assisting hundreds of tenants navigating the application process. We share in your frustration. As a RentHelpMN Field Partner, we not only assist applicants but also advocate for sorely needed improvements to the program. Eventually, though, the money will come, and in the meantime, you’ll have some protection. Please note that RentHelpMN is only accepting applications from those who owe past due rent at this time—not upcoming rent.
If you can stay in your current apartment safely, we recommend doing so in order to access emergency rental assistance. According to Minnesota Housing: “The tenant must still be living in the unit for which they are requesting assistance. We understand there is interest in expanding program assistance to cover arrears related to former units; we may reassess if further federal guidance is released on this issue.” Many renters have been forced out of their apartments while behind on rent, which means they can no longer receive RentHelpMN and are left owing thousands of dollars to their former landlord.
We will always do our best to answer any questions you might have. But as the eviction wave crests around the corner, it’s important to know your rights. We recommend familiarizing yourself with these resources:
Learn more using the PowerPoint at the bottom of the page.
Applicants waiting for RentHelpMN assistance can apply for utility assistance with another agency. If they are approved for utility assistance with another agency, applicants need to inform RentHelpMN so that utility assistance can be removed from the application. Applicants can inform RentHelpMN through:
- the communications tab in the applicant’s application,
- their Field Partner,
- or 211.