Selected Legislative History

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF 2010 Minn. Laws ch. 315

General Progress of Bills

 As the so-called Tenant Bill of Rights worked its way through the legislature on its way to becoming law, to wit 2010 Minn. Laws ch. 315, it had hearings in several committees and then was debated briefly on the floor of each chamber.

The progress of the two bills, one Senate bill and one House bill, that eventually became law is available at
HOUSE
SENATE

Most Informative Hearing

 One hearing, perhaps the only one, where there was sufficient testimony and discussion to provide useful oral legislative history was the March 16th hearing on SF 2595 in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Links to the committee minutes and to a transcript of the hearing are given below.

MINUTES

TRANSCRIPT

The original A-2 amendment discussed by the committee was the same as the bill reported out of the committee except for two amendments made in committee:

[1] The original A-2 included this provision:

If a residential lease specifies an action, circumstances, or an extent to which a landlord, directly or through additional rent, may recover attorney fees in an action between the landlord and tenant, it is implied in law that  the tenant is entitled to attorney fees if the tenant prevails in an action under the same circumstances and to the same extent as specified in the lease for the landlord.

As reported out of committee the provision read as follows after elimination of “it is implied in law that”:

If a residential lease specifies an action, circumstances, or an extent to which a landlord, directly or through additional rent, may recover attorney fees in an action between the landlord and tenant, the tenant is entitled to attorney fees if the tenant prevails in an action under the same circumstances and to the same extent as specified in the lease for the landlord.

[2] The original A-2 included this provision:

(b) A landlord of a residential building may not charge a late fee if the rent is paid after the due date, unless the tenant and landlord have agreed in writing that a fee may be imposed. The agreement must specify when the late fee will be imposed. In no case may the late fee exceed eight percent of the rent payment. Any late fee charged or collected is not considered interest. For purposes of this paragraph, the “due date” does not include a date earlier than the date contained in the written or oral agreement to lease by which, if the rent is paid, the tenant earns a discount.

As reported out of committee the provision read as follows after addition of “overdue”:

(b) A landlord of a residential building may not charge a late fee if the rent is paid after the due date, unless the tenant and landlord have agreed in writing that a fee may be imposed. The agreement must specify when the late fee will be imposed. In no case may the late fee exceed eight percent of the overdue rent payment. Any late fee charged or collected is not considered interest. For purposes of this paragraph, the “due date” does not include a date earlier than the date contained in the written or oral agreement to lease by which, if the rent is paid, the tenant earns a discount.

The addition of the word “overdue” and the discussion of the late fee provision make it clear that a late fee may be charged only once per rental period.

The discussion by Ron Elwood of the utility provision of the bill indicates that it is intended to reverse a recent Court of Appeals decision. The case is not named by Mr. Elwood, but there is only one possible case to which he refers, to wit, Kutscheid v. Emerald Square, 770 N.W.2d 529 (Minn. Ct. App. 2009) (No other case involving Minn. Stat. § 504B.215 has been heard by the court of appeals.)