Substantial differences between the House and Senate versions will need to be addressed in conference committee.
Legislators confirmed that housing remains a priority, as both the full House and Senate debated and passed omnibus housing bills over the last two weeks. However, large differences remain between the two bills.
Among the biggest differences between the two bills include funding levels for existing and new housing grant programs beneficial to cities. There are also differences in policy language addressing landlord-tenant relationships, and in language that would impact city authority regarding residential development.
The House omnibus housing finance and policy bill, HF 1077 (Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul), was passed by the House on a 69-62 vote after a lengthy debate. The bill includes a total of $145.6 million for affordable housing in addition to policy provisions that address landlord-tenant issues.
Provisions of the bill include:
- $6 million one-time increase to the Economic Development & Challenge Fund Grant Program for fiscal year (FY) 2022 to increase the construction, preservation, and acquisition of affordable housing that supports local workforce expansion.
- $6.5 million in funding for the creation of a naturally occurring affordable housing preservation program.
- $3 million in one-time funding in FY 2022 for local housing trust fund state matching grants to help spur the creation of more housing trust funds in communities across the state.
- $2 million base level funding for FY 2022 and 2023 for the Workforce Housing Development Grant, and policy language to expand eligibility for the program to tribal nations and to increase the maximum grant amount to 50% of the project cost.
- A $2 million one-time increase in FY 2022 for Manufactured Home Park Infrastructure Grants.
- Policy language that increases the maximum rehabilitation loan amount to $35,000 for qualifying homeowners to rehabilitate and preserve their homes.
- New eligible uses for housing infrastructure bonds to include the financing of affordable housing for households at or below 50% of the area median income.
- Landlord-tenant policy provisions, including: guidelines for discretionary and mandatory expungement of an eviction action; prohibition on fees imposed by landlords that aren’t for an actual service provided; notice requirements for at-will tenants facing eviction for nonpayment of rent; tenant right to counsel in eviction proceedings; and a statewide requirement that landlords must provide heat to units at 68 degrees from Oct. 1 to April 30.
- Manufactured home park policy provisions, including affixing a manufactured home to real property in a co-op manufactured home park, and right of first refusal for tenants when a park owner is planning to offer the park for sale.
The Senate omnibus housing finance and policy bill, SF 969 (Sen. Rich Draheim, R-Madison Lake) was passed by the Senate on a 39-27 vote. The bill, unlike its House counterpart, includes no new funding for housing. It funds increases to a few housing grant programs by reallocating funds from existing programs.
SF 969 also includes problematic housing policy language that broadly preempts city zoning and land use authority when it comes to residential development.
Provisions in the Senate bill include:
- $2 million funding cut over the next biennium for the Economic Development & Challenge Fund Grant Program.
- $2 million funding cut over the next biennium for the Rental Housing Rehabilitation Program.
- $2 million base level funding for FY 2022 and 2023 for the Workforce Housing Development Grant.
- Base funding of $2 million for the Workforce Housing Development Program.
- A $3.2 million increase for the Workforce Homeownership Program.
- A $1.5 million increase for Manufactured Home Park Infrastructure Grants.
- Land use and zoning preemption policy language included, limiting planned unit development conditions and architectural design standards.
- Policy language included to require the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency to award points on construction speed for grant programs and prefer projects with the lowest cost per square foot across grant programs.
House and Senate conferees assigned
Members of the House and Senate have been assigned to Housing Omnibus Finance and Policy conference committee to work though the differences in the bills. The committee will meet over the next few weeks.
The conferees are:
- Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul)
- Rep. Mike Howard (DFL-Richfield)
- Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL-Minneapolis)
- Rep. Liz Reyer (DFL-Eagan)
- Rep. Tama Theis (R-St. Cloud)
- Sen. Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake)
- Sen. Zach Duckworth (R-Lakeville)
- Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls)
- Sen. Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake)
- Sen. Kari Dziedzic (DFL-Minneapolis)