As recently reported, “[a] coalition of St. Paul landlords has filed suit against the city in federal court alleging that new residential tenant protections embraced by the mayor and city council are unconstitutional.” In a 50-page lawsuit, 22 plaintiffs are challenging an ordinance passed in June 2020. The Stable, Accessible, Fair & Equitable (SAFE) Housing ordinance is to take effect on March 1, 2021. Among other things, the ordinance limits the ability of a landlord to conduct a credit or criminal background check on a prospective tenant.

We have reported on the landlords’ efforts in Minneapolis before. The landlords are working to have local Section 244.2030, is unconstitutional. The firm representing the plaintiffs, Cozen O’Connor, recently made a blog post, Are “Fair Chance” Housing Ordinances an Unconstitutional Infringement on Landlords’ Rights?

The landlords in Minneapolis are following in the footsteps of landlords in other cities, like Portland and Seattle that are working hard to protect their tenants and their buildings in the face law local laws that are unconstitutional, preempted by federal law, or both. CDIA filed an amicus in the Seattle case, Yim v. Seattle. Amici included the National Apartment Association (“NAA”).

In November 2020, the Minneapolis plaintiffs filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, a decision by the district court denying the plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction. The ordinance is stayed pending the resolution of the appeal.

The St. Paul case is Lamplighter Village Apartments LLLP et al v. St. Paul, No. 0:21-cv-00413.

The Minneapolis case is 301, 712, 2103 and 3151 LLC et al v. City of Minneapolis, No. 0:20-cv-01904-PAM-BRT.