MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The public had the chance Wednesday to voice their opinion on a proposed renter’s protection ordinance in Minneapolis.

City leaders faced a packed city hall. The meeting room was so full, some residents had to watch from an overflow area.

More than half the people living in Minneapolis are renters. With vacancy rates dropping, and costs rising faster than wages, some members of the city council are proposing more renters protections.

“These two ordinances will stop the displacement of families,” said Chloe Jackson, a Minneapolis renter and community organizer.

Dozens packed into city hall to be heard on the proposed ordinance that addresses the way landlords screen tenants.

“Too many people can’t get apartments. They work hard for their money and just because their credit scores are bad, they don’t want to let them in and I don’t think that’s right,” said Minneapolis renter Barbara Lindman.

If approved, it would put limits on considering an applicant’s criminal background, credit scores and rental history — including evictions.

“Minneapolis’s ordinance would actually mean that certain people immediately released from incarceration would be eligible for housing for violent predatory offenses,” said Minneapolis property owner Cecil Smith.

The ordinance would also cap security deposits at a maximum of one month’s rent. Opponents of that idea, many property owners and managers, say they collect higher deposit amounts to get high-risk renters into units they would otherwise be denied.

The group Safe & Affordable Neighborhoods Minneapolis, a group affiliated with Minnesota Multi Housing Association, has put nearly $70,000 into Facebook ads opposing the proposed ordinance.

“Obviously, people who have criminal histories have barriers to housing, but we argue this is not the solution,” said Smith, who is affiliated with MHA.

But many renters at Wednesday’s meeting say the protections are overdue

There is an anticipated vote on this proposal next month.

Erin Hassanzadeh