Larkin Hoffman Secures Win for Landlords, Minneapolis Ordinance Declared Unconstitutional
A group of 54 residential landlords in Minneapolis, represented by Tamara O’Neill Moreland and Inga Schuchard, received a decision from the Hennepin County District Court declaring the city of Minneapolis’ amendment to its civil rights ordinance unconstitutional. Under the amendment, a landlord would be deemed to have committed discrimination in real estate if the landlord refuses to participate in the voluntary federal Section 8 housing choice voucher program, even if a landlord chooses not to opt into the voluntary program for legitimate business reasons. The amendment also included language under which a landlord would be deemed to have committed discrimination in real estate if the landlord refuses to participate in any other public assistance program, even programs which have not yet been created.
The court held that the amended ordinance violated the landlords’ rights to due process under Minnesota law because there was no rational basis for “deeming all non-participating landlords, now and forever and with no chance for rebuttal, to be acting out of unfair discrimination and prejudice.” The court also held that the amended ordinance violated landlords’ rights to equal protection under Minnesota law because the classifications used to exempt certain types of landlords from the requirements of the ordinance were arbitrary.
The clients appreciate the judge’s well-reasoned decision and “would welcome the opportunity to work in a positive manner with the city on solutions to its affordable housing problems.”