On Tuesday, House File 685, a bill that prohibits certain corporations, real estate developers and residential building contractors from purchasing single-family homes to rent, was heard in the Housing Finance and Policy Committee. Representative Esther Agbaje (DFL, Minneapolis), the author of the bill, cited the language as a proposal in an effort to allow more opportunities for homeownership.
“As we’ve discussed multiple times in this committee, homeownership in Minnesota is something that continues to be out of reach for many Minnesotans of color and many working-class Minnesotans,” said Rep. Agbaje.
However, a number of housing groups expressed concerns with the bill and the possible cascading consequences it would have if it became law.
Nick Erickson, senior policy director for Housing First Minnesota, testified in opposition to the bill, saying, “One of the biggest concerns we have with the bill is that it effectively bans single-family-build-for-rent. Research shows that all new housing in a critically undersupplied market, like ours, is good. The committee must know that as written this bill would stop needed new housing from being built.”
Erickson continued, “Whether it’s single-family-build-for-rent or companies large and small converting for-ownership to for-rental, we know why this is happening: because our critical lack of supply coupled with the inability to add affordably priced new homes.”
After a robust discussion among the committee for nearly an hour, the bill was approved on a party-line vote 8-5 and referred to the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee. The Senate companion has yet to be heard.
The committee’s discussion can be viewed here.