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  • Writer's pictureACER

"Improving Tenant Protections is a priority"

Tenant leaders and Organizers are at the Capitol this session trying to move tenant protections into law, to balance the power dynamic between tenants and landlords


ACER is a member of Equity in Place, a coalition consisting of organizations and partners working to pass and reform state policies that are currently skewed in favor of developers, management companies and landlords. There are more than 620,000 renter household in Minnesota and all too often they are exploited by their landlords.

The Statewide right to Organize is one of the many tenant protection policies that the coalition is supporting through the 2024 legislative session. The other two tenant protections that the coalition is supporting are - Just Cause Statewide Tenant Protection and the LIHTC-Rent Cap.

The Statewide Right to Organize would provide guarantees to tenants to come together, raise their concerns, and defend their right to dignifies, well-maintained housing without facing retaliation and displacement.

The bill would provide tenant rights and permit tenant organizers to distribute information in their building, contact tenants in the building, and hold meetings in the building about organizing as a tenant group.

It would also prevent landlords from prohibiting tenant organizations from the building, or requiring prior permission to do organizing activities, and prevent retaliation by the landlord against organizing tenants.

When asked about the intentions of these tenant protection policies, Brian Bosire, a housing organizer with ACER said, "It's not about giving more power to one over the other, it's not about landlords vs tenants. It's about creating harmony."

ACER has been organizing tenants in Ridgebrook apartments in Brooklyn park since July 2023 and since then we have had a number of tenants actively raising their voice against unfair housing practices. The issues at Ridgebrook are not unheard of and syncs with the housing narrative we hear from Brooklyn Park city including pests (mice and cockroaches), untended maintenance repairs, lack of concern for tenant safety and wellbeing and lack of communications/warnings etc.

Ridgebrook is a great case study of how the imbalance in the tenant-landlord relationship can negatively affect tenants and how there is a strong need to level the playing field with some strong tenant protections. Tenants are being charged hefty fees when they vocalize against unfair pest control policies. When tenants complain against unrepaired maintenance requests to the city inspectors, tenants are unfairly charged the repair amount after completing the requests.

Marian Butler is an active tenant leader and has been vocalizing the concerns of her neighbors at the Brooklyn Park city council and also directly advocating with the city’s Mayor and city’s development team. While the city has the intentions to assist the tenants, the current city level policies are not strong enough to protect tenants from exploitative situations such as these.

"We need to come together as a community and speak up, and continue to speak up", said Marian when asked about her active involvement in organizing during a Housing Forum held in Brooklyn Center earlier this year.

She also represented tenants in MN at the state level by testifying for the right to organize bills currently being heard at the 2024 legislative session as a plea to balance the power dynamic between tenants and landlords.

Read about our Tenant Leader, Marion Butler's testimony before the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee on Feb. 21 in support of a bill sponsored by Rep. Marìa Isa Pèrez-Vega that would provide tenants the right to organize -->

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