As of Friday, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office has received 1,235 complaints from tenants since the state’s eviction moratorium went into effect in late March.
The updated numbers come as tenant and landlord relations have become strained in some cases during the ongoing statewide evictions ban, which was imposed by Gov. Tim Walz in March owing to the coronavirus outbreak.
The latest extension for Walz’s executive order blocks evictions through Sept. 11.
Complaints have often included landlords trying to remove tenants for unpaid rent, tenants being told to leave after a lease had ended even though they can’t move anywhere, and general misinformation given about how the moratorium works — all violations of the executive order.
Walz initially issued the order to prevent thousands of Minnesota tenants and homeowners from being out on the street as the pandemic surged nationwide, causing widespread job and wage losses and school and business closures.
Walz and other housing advocates have said that stopping evictions is a crucial way of helping households follow stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines set down by public health officials.
Assistant Attorney General Katherine Kelly, who works on housing issues, said in a statement that her office is continuing to follow up with landlords.
“The general nature of the complaints has not changed significantly, except that we are now receiving reports of landlords not complying with the order’s requirement that a landlord provide 7 days written notice before filing an eviction action,” Kelly said. “Our enforcement work now includes following up with those landlords to explain the requirement.”
Landlords have expressed frustration that there is little they can do about problem or nonpaying tenants beyond waiting out the eviction moratorium. Under the executive order, evictions are allowed in cases where a tenant seriously endangers the safety of other residents, such as bringing in drugs, engaging in prostitution or using firearms illegally.
The governor’s office has updated the executive order to allow landlords to take tenants to court if they endanger the safety of others on the property.