By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minneapolis City Council passed an ordinance Friday morning that will make it easier for renters to find a place to live.

The council voted unanimously to limit how landlords use credit scores and criminal histories to screen renters.

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In a packed council chambers, people on both sides of the issue held signs as the council discussed the proposed ordinance. Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham showed support but wanted more research and data before voting.

“I do still have some unanswered questions that give me concern about this ordinance,” said Cunningham.

“We have lots of evidence to show that renters in our community, low-income renters in our community and renters of color are being exploited in our market,” said councilmember Lisa Bender.

In the end, the ordinance was approved by a vote of 12-0.

“This is a great, exciting moment,” said David Hurst.

Hurst is a renters rights advocate.

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He said the new law will greatly help people with a criminal history, bad credit history, or previous evictions, and it also puts a cap on what can be charged for a security deposit.

“Landlords, please consider the people that are giving you the money. Consider them, not just their money,” said Hurst.

“We are very disappointed,” said Cecil Smith.

Smith is a property owner who says the ordinance jeopardizes tenant safety, especially when it comes to renters with a violent criminal history.

“What we are most concerned about is it’s not that my job is harder but that our residents are safe,” said Smith.

Under the new rule, renters can’t be denied based on a misdemeanor conviction older than three years and felonies older than seven years.

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They also can’t be denied for assault or robbery convictions that happened more than 10 years ago.

John Lauritsen