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SF 771

as introduced - 88th Legislature (2013 - 2014) Posted on 03/21/2014 04:06pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language. underscored = added, new language.

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A bill for an act
relating to housing; landlord and tenant; creating additional remedies for victims
of violence;amending Minnesota Statutes 2012, sections 484.014, by adding a
subdivision; 504B.001, by adding subdivisions; 504B.165; 504B.178, subdivision
7; 504B.206, subdivisions 1, 3, by adding a subdivision; 504B.241, by adding
a subdivision; 504B.285, subdivision 1; 504B.291, subdivision 1; 504B.321,
subdivision 2; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 504B.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 484.014, is amended by adding a
subdivision to read:


Subd. 4.

Violence.

The court shall order the expungement of an eviction case
commenced under section 504B.285, subdivision 1, or 504B.291, subdivision 1, if the
court finds that the defendant is a victim, as defined in section 504B.001, subdivision 13a,
and that the breach of lease or nonpayment of rent resulted from an incident of any form
of violence listed in section 504B.001, subdivision 13a.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 504B.001, is amended by adding a
subdivision to read:


Subd. 10a.

Personally identifying information.

"Personally identifying
information" means information about an individual that could reveal the location of a
victim, including, but not limited to:

(1) first or last name;

(2) home or other physical address, including a post office box;

(3) telephone or facsimile number;

(4) e-mail or Internet protocol address;

(5) Social Security number;

(6) date of birth;

(7) race or ethnicity;

(8) religious affiliation; or

(9) any other information that identifies the individual as a victim.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 504B.001, is amended by adding a
subdivision to read:


Subd. 10b.

Qualifying document.

"Qualifying document" means a document
stating that the tenant or the tenant's family or household member is a victim and naming
the perpetrator, if known, which is signed by a court official, law enforcement official,
licensed health care professional, clergy member, or victim's advocate or service provider.

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 504B.001, is amended by adding a
subdivision to read:


Subd. 13a.

Victim.

"Victim" means a person or the person's family or household
member who has been subjected by another, regardless of the relationship between the
perpetrator of violence and the victim of violence, to:

(1) physical harm, bodily injury, or assault;

(2) the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault;

(3) terroristic threats, within the meaning of section 609.713, subdivision 1;

(4) interference with an emergency call within the meaning of section 609.78,
subdivision 2;

(5) criminal sexual conduct, within the meaning of section 609.342, 609.343,
609.344, 609.345, or 609.3451; or

(6) stalking, as defined in section 609.749, subdivision 1.

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 504B.165, is amended to read:


504B.165 UNLAWFUL DESTRUCTION; DAMAGES.

(a) An action may be brought for willful and malicious destruction of leased
residential rental property. The prevailing party may recover actual damages, costs, and
reasonable attorney fees, as well as other equitable relief as determined by the court.
Damage to residential leased property resulting from an incident of violence is not willful
and malicious destruction by the victim, as defined in section 504B.001, subdivision 13a.

(b) The remedies provided in this section are in addition to and shall not limit other
rights or remedies available to landlords and tenants. Any provision, whether oral or
written, of any lease or other agreement, whereby any provision of this section is waived
by a tenant, is contrary to public policy and void.

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 504B.178, subdivision 7, is amended to read:


Subd. 7.

Bad faith retention.

The bad faith retention by a landlord of a deposit,
the interest thereon, or any portion thereof, in violation of this section shall subject
the landlord to punitive damages not to exceed $500 for each deposit in addition to
the damages provided in subdivision 4. If the landlord has failed to comply with the
provisions of subdivision 3 or 5, retention of a deposit shall be presumed to be in bad
faith unless the landlord returns the deposit within two weeks after the commencement
of any action for the recovery of the deposit. The retention of a landlord of any portion
of a deposit of a victim for damage caused as a result of an incident of violence against
the victim is presumed to be in bad faith.

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 504B.206, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Right to terminate; procedure.

(a) A tenant to a residential lease
who is a victim of domestic abuse and who fears imminent domestic abuse against the
tenant or the tenant's minor children
violence if the tenant or the tenant's minor children
remain
victim remains in the leased premises may terminate a lease agreement without
penalty or liability as provided in this section. The tenant must provide advance written
notice to the landlord stating that:

(1) the tenant victim fears imminent domestic abuse violence from a person named
in an order for protection or no contact order;

(2) the tenant needs to terminate the tenancy; and

(3) the specific date the tenancy will terminate.

(b) The written notice must be delivered before the termination of the tenancy by
mail, fax, or in person, and be accompanied by the order for protection or no contact
order, or qualifying document.

(c) For purposes of this section, an order for protection means an order issued under
chapter 518B. A no contact order means a no contact order currently in effect, issued
under section 629.75 or chapter 609.

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 504B.206, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Liability for rent; termination of tenancy.

(a) A tenant terminating a
lease under subdivision 1 is responsible for the rent payment for the full month in which
the tenancy terminates and an additional amount equal to one month's rent. The tenant
forfeits all claims for the return of the security deposit under section 504B.178 and is
relieved of any other contractual obligation for payment of rent or any other charges for
the remaining term of the lease, except as provided in this section.

(b) This section does not affect a tenant's liability for delinquent, unpaid rent or
other amounts owed to the landlord before the lease was terminated by the tenant under
this section.

(c) The tenancy terminates, including the right of possession of the premises, on the
termination date stated in the notice under subdivision 1. The amount equal to one month's
rent must be paid on or before the termination of the tenancy for the tenant to be relieved of
the contractual obligations for the remaining term of the lease as provided in this section.

(d) For purposes of this section, the provisions of section 504B.178 are triggered
as follows:

(1) if the only tenant is the tenant who is the victim of domestic abuse and the
tenant's minor children, if any, upon the first day of the month following the later of:

(i) the date the tenant vacates the premises; or

(ii) the termination of the tenancy indicated in the written notice under subdivision
1; or

(2) if there are additional tenants bound by the lease, upon the expiration of the lease.

Sec. 9.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 504B.206, is amended by adding a
subdivision to read:


Subd. 7.

Conflict with other law.

If a federal statute, regulation, or handbook
permitting termination of a residential tenancy subsidized under a federal program
conflicts with any provision of this section, then the landlord shall comply with the federal
statute, regulation, or handbook.

Sec. 10.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 504B.241, is amended by adding a
subdivision to read:


Subd. 6.

Disclosure of information related to an incidence of violence.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a residential tenant screening service may
not disclose to any person, other than the tenant who is a victim, any rental history that
contains personally identifying information when the rental history is related in any way to
one or more incidents of any form of violence listed in section 504B.001, subdivision 13a.

Sec. 11.

[504B.243] USE OF INFORMATION RELATED TO VICTIMS OF
VIOLENCE.

Information in a residential tenant file related to incidents of violence in which the
applicant or the applicant's family or household member, or tenant or the tenant's family or
household member, is the victim as defined in section 504B.001, subdivision 13a, may
not be used as a basis for denying an application, continued tenancy, or a renewal of a
lease to an applicant or tenant. "Family or household member" has the meaning given in
section 518B.01, subdivision 2.

Sec. 12.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 504B.285, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Grounds.

(a) The person entitled to the premises may recover
possession by eviction when:

(1) any person holds over real property:

(i) after a sale of the property on an execution or judgment; or

(ii) after the expiration of the time for redemption on foreclosure of a mortgage, or
after termination of contract to convey the property;

(2) any person holds over real property after termination of the time for which it is
demised or leased to that person or to the persons under whom that person holds possession,
contrary to the conditions or covenants of the lease or agreement under which that person
holds, or after any rent becomes due according to the terms of such lease or agreement; or

(3) any tenant at will holds over after the termination of the tenancy by notice to quit.

(b) A landlord may not commence an action for eviction against a victim for a
breach of lease when the breach results from an incident of violence against the victim.

(c) A landlord may commence an action for eviction against a lawful tenant who
has engaged in violence against a cotenant who is a victim and continue the tenancy
of the victim.

Sec. 13.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 504B.291, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Action to recover.

(a) A landlord may bring an eviction action for
nonpayment of rent irrespective of whether the lease contains a right of reentry clause.
Such an eviction action is equivalent to a demand for the rent. There is a rebuttable
presumption that the rent has been paid if the tenant produces a copy or copies of one
or more money orders or produces one or more original receipt stubs evidencing the
purchase of a money order, if the documents: (i) total the amount of the rent; (ii) include
a date or dates approximately corresponding with the date rent was due; and (iii) in the
case of copies of money orders, are made payable to the landlord. This presumption is
rebutted if the landlord produces a business record that shows that the tenant has not paid
the rent. The landlord is not precluded from introducing other evidence that rebuts this
presumption. In such an action, unless the landlord has also sought to evict the tenant by
alleging a material violation of the lease under section 504B.285, subdivision 5, the tenant
may, at any time before possession has been delivered, redeem the tenancy and be restored
to possession by paying to the landlord or bringing to court the amount of the rent that is
in arrears, with interest, costs of the action, and an attorney's fee not to exceed $5, and by
performing any other covenants of the lease.

(b) If the tenant has paid to the landlord or brought into court the amount of rent in
arrears but is unable to pay the interest, costs of the action, and attorney's fees required
by paragraph (a), the court may permit the tenant to pay these amounts into court and be
restored to possession within the same period of time, if any, for which the court stays the
issuance of the order to vacate under section 504B.345.

(c) Prior to or after commencement of an action to recover possession for nonpayment
of rent, the parties may agree only in writing that partial payment of rent in arrears
which is accepted by the landlord prior to issuance of the order granting restitution of the
premises pursuant to section 504B.345 may be applied to the balance due and does not
waive the landlord's action to recover possession of the premises for nonpayment of rent.

(d) Rental payments under this subdivision must first be applied to rent claimed as
due in the complaint from prior rental periods before applying any payment toward rent
claimed in the complaint for the current rental period, unless the court finds that under the
circumstances the claim for rent from prior rental periods has been waived.

(e) In an eviction action for nonpayment of rent, the court shall enter an order
providing for repayment of the unpaid rent within 90 days or repayment on terms agreed
to by the parties, whichever is longer, if:

(1) the court finds rent has not been paid;

(2) the tenant is the victim; and

(3) nonpayment is the result of the incident of violence against the victim.

If the agreement is breached, judgment for the remaining balance shall be entered.

Sec. 14.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 504B.321, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Expedited procedure.

(a) In an eviction action brought under section
504B.171, or on the basis that a tenant has committed any act against other tenants that is
listed in section 504B.001, subdivision 13a,
or on the basis that the tenant is causing a
nuisance or other illegal behavior that seriously endangers the safety of other residents, their
property, or the landlord's property, the person filing the complaint shall file an affidavit
stating specific facts and instances in support of why an expedited hearing is required.

(b) The complaint and affidavit shall be reviewed by a referee or judge and scheduled
for an expedited hearing only if sufficient supporting facts are stated and they meet the
requirements of this paragraph.

(c) The appearance in an expedited hearing shall be not less than five days nor more
than seven days from the date the summons is issued. The summons, in an expedited
hearing, shall be served upon the tenant within 24 hours of issuance unless the court
orders otherwise for good cause shown.

(d) If the court determines that the person seeking an expedited hearing did so
without sufficient basis under the requirements of this subdivision, the court shall impose
a civil penalty of up to $500 for abuse of the expedited hearing process.

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