Last month, the Minnesota Judicial Branch (court system) decided to stop virtually all eviction cases, and not accept evictions filed due to non payment of rent.  There are solid arguments in favor of this action, no one wants to see people homeless due to the current economic crisis, and many renters are in tough financial straits.  There are also serious concerns about what will happen with property owners, and the properties if rent payments are not made.

It is easy to hate landords, to assume that they are all slumlords collecting rent from their roach infested dives and driving off in their luxury cars.  No doubt, there are some bad landlords out there who do not keep their properties up. There are also some terrible tenants out there, who destroy properties and avoid paying rent.  Normally, the solution to a bad tenant problem is to evict if they will not leave on their own.  Now, with most evictions banned, the landlord has to allow a non paying tenant to stay.  While the tenant can stay without paying rent, the landlord still has to make all of their payments for mortgages, taxes, insurance, repairs, utilities.  Many landlords are small operators who do not have the money to cover all of those expenses with no money coming in.  It is easy for politicians and court officials, who are getting a steady paycheck rain or shine to require someone else, property owners, to take the huge losses that come with housing a tenant who is not paying rent.  If the losses came out of their paychecks they might see it a little differently.

What do you do if you are a property owner with a tenant who is not paying rent, damaging the property, disturbing other tenants, or engaging in illegal activity?  You may still be able to file for eviction, even now, some evictions are allowed, if there is a threat to health and safety, or certain illegal activity at the property.  If the issue is only the non-payment of rent, it is worth trying to work with the tenant, they may be willing to make some payments to avoid being evicted when the eviction moratorium ends.  While the current situation is very challenging for property owners, it is not hopeless, and you do have options.