An effort at the State Capitol to require landlords to be more transparent passed through the Senate unanimously last week.

The measure authored by Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, targets two specific leasing practices that often affect student renters: short leases and unit-specific leases. Dziedzic worked with members of the University of Minnesota's Minnesota Student Association to draft the legislation.

"We need to protect our residents, and this is a consumer-protection issue," Dziedzic said.

Under the bill, landlords must list the specific unit a renter would receive in the lease. This is meant to prevent bait-and-switch situations in which landlords give tenants a different unit than the one they toured, Dziedzic said.

The front page of the lease must also clearly state move-in and move-out dates. If the lease starts or ends on a date that isn't the first or last day of the month, it must indicate whether rent will be prorated.

Landlord transparency issues have been apparent in student housing complexes near the University of Minnesota. In September, roughly 400 students that were set to move into the Arrow Apartments were temporarily displaced by unfinished construction.

Dziedzic said she thinks the measure would help prevent similar situations going forward, as the expectations for residents and landlords would be clearly defined by law.

A House committee passed a companion bill that is awaiting a vote by the full House.