Thanks to the Minnesota Multi Housing Association for this legislative update!
The law originally passed in 2007 allowing victims of domestic abuse to terminate their leases in certain circumstances was significantly amended. The following changes became effective August 1st, 2014:
Termination - Previous Law
The tenancy terminates on the date specified in the written notice ONLY for the resident exercising rights under the statute. Others living in the unit continue with the tenancy according to the terms of the lease.
Termination - New Law
When any resident exercises termination rights under the statute, the entire tenancy terminates for ALL RESIDENTS in the rental unit. For sole residents, the tenancy terminates on the date specified in the required written notice. For multiple residents, the tenancy terminates at the end of the month OR the end of the rent interval in which one resident terminates the lease. A resident whose lease was terminated due to a co-resident terminating the lease under the law, may reapply to enter into a new lease.
Payment - Previous Law
The resident must pay an additional amount equal to one month's rent in order to receive the protections provided under the statute.
Payment - New Law
All residents forfeit all claims for the return of the security deposit under the new law. Even if there are multiple residents on the lease, the entire security deposit is forfeited. Residents remain responsible for the full month's rent in which the tenancy terminates, and for other amounts owed to management at the time the lease is terminated under the law, including delinquent and unpaid rents.
Types of Victims Covered - Previous Law
Only victims of domestic abuse are covered.
Types of Victims Covered - New Law
In addition to victims of domestic abuse, the new law covers victims of criminal sexual conduct and stalking.
Documentation - Previous Law
Only orders for protection or no contact orders are document permitted for use.
Documentation - New Law
In addition to orders for protection and no contact orders, writing produced and signed by court officials, law enforcement officials, and the following qualified third parties as defined by statute:
- Licensed health care professionals
- Domestic abuse advocates
- Sexual assault counselors
The statement by a qualified third party must attest to certain statements, and requires them to disclose their name, business address, and business telephone number.
Written Notice - Previous Law
Residents seeking statutory protection must provide written notice to management stating:
- The tenant is imminently fearful of domestic abuse from a person named in a no contact order or order for protection
- In order to avoid imminent domestic abuse, the tenant needs to terminate the tenancy.
- The specific date the tenancy will terminate
Written Notice - New Law
In addition to the items required in the previous law above, the written notice must now include written instructions for the disposition of any remaining personal property in the rental unit, in accordance with the statute addressing resident's abandoned personal property. Management may request the name of the perpetrator if the resident is informed that the name is sought to protect other residents in the building. The resident may decline to provide the name of the perpetrator, and disclosure of the name cannot be a precondition of terminating the lease.
The new law also provides a means for management to expedite an eviction action by dividing the lease and removing a resident engaging in domestic abuse, criminal sexual conduct, or stalking against another resident in the rental unit. Finally, under the new law, management is prohibited from evicting a resident solely on the basis of being a victim of domestic abuse, criminal sexual conduct, or stalking.