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File #: Ord 21-21    Version: 1
Type: Ordinance Status: Passed
In control: City Council
Final action: 6/23/2021
Title: Repealing Chapter 193 of the Legislative Code related to Tenant Protections.
Sponsors: Amy Brendmoen, Rebecca Noecker, Jane L. Prince, Dai Thao, Chris Tolbert
Attachments: 1. letter against repealing tenant protections, 2. Ord 21-21 - Mike Allen, 3. Ord 21-21 - Tom Basgen, 4. Choma email, 5. Choma attatchment 1, 6. Choma attatchment 2, 7. Graham Email, 8. Rachleff Email, 9. Sinderbrand email, 10. Voss Email, 11. Ord 21-21 - Andrew Eikum, 12. Ord 21-21 - John Slade-MICAH, 13. draughn email, 14. Osborn Email, 15. juergens email, 16. Juergens HJC SAFE Housing litigation memo_ (002), 17. Juergens Queries from City Council for City Attorney (002), 18. Ord 21-21 HDC Resolution for SAFE Housing, 19. Ord 21-21 Jacob Law, 20. Ord 21-21 Carol Duling, 21. Ord 21-21 Sarah Hunt, 22. Ord 21-21 Bryn Chambers, 23. Ord 21-21 Lawrence Mc Donough, 24. Ord 21-21 Jeanette Beger, 25. Ward 4 office Ord 21-21, 26. Ward 4 office Ord 21-21, 27. Ord 21-21 Public Comments Received by Ward 1, 28. Ord 21-21 - Caitlin Magistad, 29. Ord 21-21 Geoffrey Marshall
Title
Repealing Chapter 193 of the Legislative Code related to Tenant Protections.

Body
SECTION 1

WHEREAS, on July 8, 2020, this Council adopted Ordinance 20-14 Creating Chapter 193 of the Legislative Code (Title XIX) pertaining to Tenant Protections, which ordinance took effect on March 1, 2021; and

WHEREAS, on February 12, 2021, several plaintiffs including Lamplighter Village Apartments LLLP filed a federal civil complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, which complaint was assigned to the Honorable Paul A. Magnuson, United States District Court Judge for the District of Minnesota; and

WHEREAS, plaintiffs asserted several claims, alleging that Ordinance 20-14 violated the Minnesota and United States constitutions; and

WHEREAS, on April 19, 2021, Judge Magnuson temporarily and preliminarily enjoined enforcement of Saint Paul’s Tenant Protections Ordinance; and

WHEREAS, Judge Magnuson’s preliminary injunction order stated that plaintiffs had demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their constitutional claims; and

WHEREAS, in light of Judge Magnuson’s order, the City Council finds it necessary and reasonable to repeal Chapter 193 in order to reassess legislative opportunities and strengthen the City’s resolve to eliminate rental housing discrimination and ensure access to housing for all Saint Paul residents; and

WHEREAS, repealing Chapter 193 does not mean that Saint Paul residents who are victims of rental housing discrimination are without recourse, as federal and state laws-including the Minnesota Human Rights Act-remain in effect to prohibit such discrimination; and

WHEREAS, the City of Saint Paul remains committed to stable, accessible, fair and equitable housing; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Saint Paul does hereby ordain:

SECTION 2

Chapter 193 of the Saint Paul Legislative Code is repealed in its entirety.


Sec. 193.01. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, ...

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Date NameDistrictOpinionCommentAction
6/24/2021 2:17 PMCorinne McHie Against Please do not repeal the SAFE ordinance for renters. Stable housing makes St. Paul a better city for everyone. These are reasonable and modest protections and they should be upheld.
6/23/2021 8:35 PMJoshua T. Medley Against I am against repealing the SAFE ordinances. I have experienced organized efforts from my landlord to get tenants to testify against our local homeless/houseless ***istance program and now attacks on tenant rights. This is of course concerning. Lawsuits from landlords that will end in the cities favor should not influence Saint Paul’s policy. Whether or not policy is good should determine our policy. SAFE was and is good policy. +1
6/23/2021 4:28 PMMartin Hernandez Against The city council voted unanimously for these ordinances when they were proposed. Show some backbone and stand up for you convictions and defend your previous votes in favor of SAFE ordinances. The corporate landlord cl*** will sue over anything that gives renters any modi*** of rights so any SAFE 2.0 you propose will also bring on a landlord lawsuit. Keep your promises and defend renter rights. No to Repeal. +1
6/23/2021 4:18 PMCheyanne J Against I am strongly opposed to repealing this ordinance that benefits a large portion of the population of St. Paul +1
6/23/2021 4:18 PMCheyanne J Against I am strongly opposed to repealing this ordinance that benefits a large portion of the population of St. Paul
6/23/2021 4:03 PMJeanette Beger Against I am against the repeal of the SAFE ordinance. Each of our neighbors deserves to have an affordable place to live. We will build a better Saint Paul when we continue to provide stable housing. +1
6/23/2021 3:09 PMPatrice Tetta Against I am strongly opposed to the repealing of these protections for tenants. Rising rents disproportionately affect BIPOC households and widen existing racial disparities in housing cost-burden, housing instability, and homelessness. Many Saint Paul renters have seen their rents increase hundreds of dollars at a time and we must do something about unreasonable rent growth. As a long term homeowner, I feel that renters should NOT be at a disadvantage. When I last rented (25 years ago), my monthly rent on a great TWO bedroom apartment in a nice, albeit not upscale, neighborhood was $525 -- the equivalent of $900 today. I was able to afford that on my relatively-small salary. A two-bedroom apartment at $900 is unheard of today. People need to be able to live affordably. Renters need protection. Please do not repeal this ordinance. +1
6/23/2021 6:37 AMIan Hedberg Against The needs that drove p***age of the SAFE ordinance have not gone away. At the very least, some basic protections from a new ordinance need to be in place. Some landlords have expressed a chilling belief that if a person has committed a crime and served out their punishment in full, it is a landlord's right to further punish them by forbidding them the shelter they need to live for the rest of their life. Does the city represent only this small group of landlords accustomed to, and feeling entitled to, dictator-like power? Is the city not concerned about the possibility of a greed landlord evicting poor renters so they can get even more money from rich people moving in, which would greatly exacerbate our homeless crisis? Are renters, the majority of our city, not people worth fighting for? +1
6/22/2021 10:38 PMSara  Against +2
6/16/2021 7:56 PMNicolaas VanMeerten Against The St. Paul city council should be working to protect tenants not landlords who are already in a position of power. +3
6/15/2021 12:55 AMAndrea Buiser Against Please do not repeal the S.A.F.E. Housing ordinance. Your most marginalized constituents are relying on you all to stand by the legislation created to protect tenants' rights. We are counting on each and every Councilmember to stand up for the population of renters in Saint Paul. +3
6/10/2021 5:43 PMAnthony LaRose Against I am against the repeal of SAFE housing! St. Paul is majority renters and repealing this will cause more problems than benefits. +2 -2
6/9/2021 7:32 PMRobert Craft Against I am astounded that the City Council would retreat from protecting tenants with the proposed repeal of our Safe Housing Ordinance. The Council had to know the landlords would litigate the matter. Giving up without a fight because of one judge's opinion indicates a both of lack of resolve and a misplaced concern for legal expenses over human rights. Claiming that other protections and resources are available insults the testimony of all those who supported the ordinance because those resources fail tenants time and again. +3 -2
6/8/2021 10:11 PMSam Robertson Against Please do not repeal the S.A.F.E. Housing ordinance. I work at a domestic violence shelter in St Paul and this ordinance has allowed many of our residents to access fair housing where they would not have been able to without the ordinance. Revoking the S.A.F.E. Housing ordinance removes an essential protection for many residents of St Paul (housed and looking for housing) and is a colossal step back from housing equity. The ordinance works. We have seen it work successfully. +4 -2
6/8/2021 9:38 PMOnnie Brodkorb Against Please do not repeal this ordinance. S.A.F.E. housing is a well-researched and legally backed ordinance that put bare minimum basic protections into place. I work with unhoused people in the city of St Paul and during the short time S.A.F.E housing was in place I saw it work to connect people who are able and willing to pay rent overcome the barriers to housing that exist when property owners have overreaching tenant screenings. Do not believe the rhetoric that this requires property owners to rent to criminals! The ordinance says the look back period for misdemeanors is 3 years and 7(!) years for felonies. People who have been convicted and completed their sentences should not be subject to constant punishment and denial of housing. MN property owners concerned about criminal activity on the property are already protected by MN 504b.171. Not only is St Paul a majority renter city, but the majority of landlords want to do the right thing and to have fair rental standards. +4 -2
6/8/2021 9:23 PMJoan Countryman Against Please do not repeal! Our renters need our ***istance. +3 -2
6/8/2021 9:13 PMRainbow Health Minnesota Against Rainbow Health Minnesota, based in St. Paul, knows that safe, stable housing is critical to people's health. We would urge the Council to not rush to repeal these provisions, but to take the time to develop a robust legal defense AND a back-up plan for protecting tenants. +4 -1
6/8/2021 1:46 PMAndrew Eikum Against The city should protect its renters by not repealing these protections. +3 -2
6/7/2021 11:20 PMJoe Nathan Against Having been a renter and then a homeowner, I strongly urge the Council and Mayor to delay action - and to instruct the City Attorney to appeal this Judge's Decision. New Jersey has used many of the ideas in the city's ordinance to balance needs of renters and landlords. Yes, we need to respect property rights. But St Paul should be a city that welcomes rather than discourages renters. +4
6/7/2021 10:17 PMJoan Ostrove Against Please do not repeal the SAFE Housing ordinance. We will be abandoning our city’s renters and privileging the interests of corporate landlords. The repeal will disproportionately hurt renters of color and working cl*** families, who deserve to be protected from displacement. Thank you +2 -1
6/7/2021 9:28 PMElaine Tarone Against I observedJudge Magnuson’s hearing of the cases for and against the landlords injunction. He clearly hadn’t even read the City’s written case; he plainly said he hadn’t. I urge you not to repeal the tenant protections in the face of such a judge’s opinion. Please fight hard against the landlords’ injunction. Get St Paul’s tenant protections enforced! +7 -1
6/7/2021 8:54 PMApril Mootz Against The fact that 5 of St Paul's council members are pushing to repeal a bill that was created to protect tenants from discrimination and exploitation at the hands of landlords is disheartening to say the very least. While our city is experiencing a housing and homelessness crisis no less. Our city is majority renters. I am a renter. Everyone I am in community with are renters as well. Everyone of the council members sponsoring this bill have a responsibility to the community's who gave them their power. By repealing tenant protections they are turning their backs on their own constitutes, as well as thousands of families who rent in St Paul. Keep SAFE housing in St Paul and stop pandering to landlords who are systematically exploiting and discriminating against black, brown, and working cl*** constitutes. +3 -1
6/2/2021 8:31 PMJames Wilkinson   SAFE goals are important. I think that City should engage with plaintiffs and try to preserve some aspects of the ordinance now and look to improve and remedy problems in a thoughtful manner. +3
6/1/2021 2:43 PMMatt Jarvi Against Please support basic housing justice. Keep the SAFE Act. +3 -4
6/1/2021 2:25 PMAdrian Perryman Against +5 -3
5/31/2021 5:05 PM  For Repeal. Do not force private landlords to rent to criminals. Instead help private landlords to filter and keep our good law abiding citizens safe, especially in muti- units. +9 -9 2
5/31/2021 3:38 PMSalina Amey For Fix this. Basic tenant rights have already been guaranteed by the State of MN and numerous organizations are at the ready to implement those rights. The City of St. Paul overstepped its authority by impeding on property owners right to sell, disabling their ability to remove problem tenants due to the extremely limiting "Just Cause" portion of the ordinance and creating a revolving lease agreement which will hinder proper maintenance and upkeep by responsible property owners of affordable housing who may need to replace carpeting, refinish hard wood floors, renovate a bathroom, etc. at end of lease term, but cannot schedule such work unless the tenant chooses to not renew or relocation fees are paid. To be clear, the revolving lease takes away an owner's right/ability to decide whether or not to renew a lease and gives sole decision to tenant. Lastly, the ordinance punishes small property owners of affordable housing units while big developers remain relatively untouched. +6 -8
5/31/2021 1:39 PMRichelle Schenfeld For This ordinance was fraught with problems from the beginning and poorly thought out. I encourage everyone to read the Judge's ruling in it's entirety. I agree with his opinions and am grateful for his wisdom. The ordinance should be repealed. The city does not need another costly and lengthy lawsuit. +5 -4 1
5/31/2021 3:23 AMEric Lein For When creating "Tenant Protections," please listen to, respect, balance & incorporate the viewpoints and rights of ALL affected parties. Note these EXCERPTS FROM JUDGE MAGNUSON'S ORDER of 04/19/2021: The ordinance [Chapter 193] forces Plaintiffs [Landlords] to bear society’s burden related to housing needs. Plaintiffs have shown a probable likelihood of success on the merits of their regulatory takings claim. /// While the ordinance references racial disparities, that concern is addressed by the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits race-based housing discrimination. Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits regarding their substantive due process claim. /// Plaintiffs have established the existence of irreparable harm because continued enforcement of the ordinance is likely to result in ongoing violations of Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, and “loss of [constitutional] freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.... +8 -4
5/28/2021 9:08 PMDanette Lincoln For Basic tenant rights have already been guaranteed by the State of MN and numerous organizations are at the ready to implement those rights. The City of St. Paul overstepped its authority by impeding on property owners right to sell, disabling their ability to remove problem tenants due to the extremely limiting "Just Cause" portion of the ordinance and creating a revolving lease agreement which will hinder proper maintenance and upkeep by responsible property owners of affordable housing who may need to replace carpeting, refinish hard wood floors, renovate a bathroom, etc. at end of lease term, but cannot schedule such work unless the tenant chooses to not renew or relocation fees are paid. To be clear, the revolving lease takes away an owner's right/ability to decide whether or not to renew a lease and gives sole decision to tenant. Lastly, the ordinance punishes small property owners of affordable housing units while big developers remain relatively untouched. +9 -7
5/28/2021 9:04 PMBarbara Sellers Against Please support basic housing justice. Keep the SAFE Act. +5 -2
5/28/2021 6:03 PMDavid Ackos Against The city must not repeal this ordinance! It is a set of legal protections that has already been reviewed and the city needs to stand behind its renter residents, our neighbors, and its SAFE ordinance. The SAFE ordinance has strong support among my neighbors, renters and homeowners, and we want to see the city defend it in court, not roll it back. We are actively organizing for safety and security for renters and for racial justice, and it's very disappointing to see councilmembers trying to remove a recently p***ed protection for our renter neighbors. Don't walk this law back. Defend it and expand it. Support our neighbors! +4 -3
5/28/2021 5:59 PMJeffrey Grizzell Against Renters make up a strong majority of St Paul residents and they deserve protections! If we keep the protections, it will help renters to have more stable housing, helping to build a stronger community. Do not pull the rug out from under your constituents whose interests you were elected to serve. +9 -2 2
5/28/2021 5:01 PMIlya Garelik Against This proposal only has the interests of privileged people in mind and is in opposition to the interests of renters who need help. If City Council wants to enact racial justice and the betterment of oppressed people, then this proposal should not be allowed to p***. In addition, working to repeal a recently p***ed policy is anti-democratic and reactionary. +4 -4
5/28/2021 4:09 PMBahieh Hartshorn Against More than 50% of residents in Saint Paul are renters, and we deserve to be protected. Last year the council made a bold vote in alignment towards a vision of Saint Paul as the most "livable city" and this repeal would be a direct violation of that vision. This is really disappointing, and I hope that council members will stick with the vote you all took last summer that affirmed that renters deserve to be protected. +8 -2
5/28/2021 3:52 PM    This ordinance was p***ed unanimously and it seems disingenuous to now repeal it after a little bit of totally expected push back. Renters in St. Paul deserve these protections AND EVEN MORE. Stand up for what you stood for last year and withdraw this ordinance! +4 -2
5/28/2021 1:10 PMMargaret Johnson Against I have owned a home for 16 years in St. Paul, after being a renter. One of my daughters is a renter. The majority of people in St. Paul are renters. Please keep this very modest legal protection to help check the power balance, supporting basic housing justice. Please keep the code. +8 -2
5/28/2021 12:40 PMRick Hedrick Against I live in an area with rentals and owned homes. Renter occupied units make up a majority of housing units in Saint Paul. The SAFE ordinance can only be seen as a law that promotes human rights against unrestricted property rights. Renters should have more agency in their lives. Please stop this outrageous effort to repeal the law. Instead stand strong with the majority of your voters. +5 -1
5/28/2021 11:24 AMRob Ramer Against I have owned a home in St. Paul for 25 years.And I have been a landlord and a renter. I was proud of my city for p***ing decent tenant protections. The SAFE ordinance can only be seen as a law that promotes human rights against unrestricted property rights. Please stop this outrageous effort to repeal the law. Instead stand strong with the majority of your voters. This morning I took a walk around Merriam Park. I saw good furniture and belongings out in the rain. How many more evictions are coming if this law is repealed and the worst landlords see that tenants have no friends in the city council., +4 -2
5/28/2021 3:07 AMAlan Richardson Hohn Against The council engaged community organically and had consensus from district council in our when these protections were p***ed. Many residents felt the protections did not go far enough and the promise was that these would be the begining of protections. The city anticipated legal challenges and even wrote specific language into the code regarding the striking of any language which was found unconsitiutional. The effort to remove section 193 in entirety rather than strike portions which are found unconstitutional go against the language written in the section. To claim this is to avoid legal challenge and ***ociated cost to go back to square one and restart talks on the same topic is a waste of finances, disregards previous community input, and does not feel genuine considering the promise that this was the start of reforms when originally adopted. +8 -2
5/28/2021 3:05 AMChris Holbrook For This is the best proposal I've ever seen. Respect private property rights. +14 -10
5/28/2021 1:05 AMThom Hirschboeck Against A majority of St Paulites are renters. A basic set of legal protections aimed toward more equitable access to housing is not only needed by so many of our neighbors (as I'm sure you all know), it is the necessary foundation for stable communities and a truly livable city. +7 -2
5/28/2021 1:03 AMBrigitte Temple Against Last year St Paul city council listened to to needs of our majority renter city and decided to stand with renters. The modest tenant protections are necessary to ensure that St Paul can live up to its motto "Most livable city in America". The city council should continue listen to the voices of renters and keep the protections in place. +7 -3
5/28/2021 12:51 AMMichelle Hirschboeck Against Tenant protections help to check the power balance, supporting basic housing justice. Please keep the code! +14 -4 3
5/27/2021 11:05 PMTram Hoang Against The City already did its legal homework on this issue and anticipated the legal challenges that would come from opposition. These policies are legal and have been implemented in cities across the country. St. Paul is doing nothing new or revolutionary with these tenant protections, and they must be defended in court. Now is not the time to abandon our majority-renter city. Renters, who are more likely to be BIPOC and low-wealth residents, need these protections, especially during this COVID housing crisis. City Council must hold itself accountable to the promises made during community engagement and defend this legally sound and proven public policy in court. +15 -4
5/27/2021 10:11 PMBenjamin Werner Against We need strong tenant protections in Saint Paul. They need to stand as they are. +16 -3
5/27/2021 10:04 PMJohn Slade Against The council worked hard with community to craft these protections, which are desperately needed particularly as the ending of the eviction moratorium comes closer. They have been upheld in other jurisdictions. This is premature. Please do not repeal these; instead, vigorously defend them. +17 -3