HOME Line provides free legal, organizing, educational and advocacy services so tenants throughout Minnesota can solve their own rental housing problems. HOME Line works to improve public and private policies relating to rental housing by involving affected tenants in the process.
Programs & Noteworthy Accomplishments
HOME Line major programs include: tenant hotline services, tenant organizing and policy advocacy.
Tenant hotline: The hotline is a service that provides renters throughout Minnesota with legal information regarding their rights as tenants. Lawyers, law students, and community volunteers respond to renter inquiries, providing follow-up support and form letters when necessary. The hotline has taken over 185,000 calls since 1992 and averages over 1,000 calls a month. Tenant advocates and attorneys have also given over 2,000 speeches; including high schools, social workers, landlords, and local governments, informing the public about Minnesota tenant/landlord laws.
The Tenant Hotline is the first and only statewide hotline in the country. HOME Line has:
- Served over 185,000 families through the hotline
- Prevented over 13,400 evictions
- Assisted over 7,100 renter families facing landlord foreclosure
- Helped tenants recover over 24 million dollars in wrongfully withheld security deposits and rent abatements
- Trained over 51,000 students, low-income renters,social workers, prisoners about to be released, police, landlords, and court officials on their renter rights and responsibilities under Minnesota Tenant/Landlord law.
If you are a tenant in Minnesota and you are interested in your renter rights, you can receive free legal advice by emailing our attorneys here or by calling our free Tenant Hotline:
(612) 728-5767 …or call us toll-free from Greater MN at: (866) 866-3546
Tenant organizing: Collective action to help tenants come together and work towards solving common issues. The program focuses on ‘preserving’ federally subsidized apartments and developing tenant leadership to empower those affected to become spokespeople for themselves and their neighbors. Since 1997, HOME Line has helped preserve over 9,100 units of affordable housing. In recent years, HOME Line has also adapted our organizing to work with renters to prevent the loss of affordable market rate housing and to respond to emergency and ongoing repair and substandard housing situations.
Via our tenant organizing program, HOME Line has:
- Organized tenants in a variety of low and subsidized apartment complexes across the state of Minnesota, and developed leadership to preserve affordable housing, get repairs made, and stop bad management practices. Thousands of Section 8 and Rural Development affordable rental units have been kept affordable to low-income Minnesotans as a result of tenants speaking up.
- Created an inventory of all the federally assisted privately owned housing in Minnesota into one database and identified properties at risk for loss of affordability.
- Proactively door-knocked thousands of apartment units to inform tenants of their rights and engage them in public policy issues relating to their housing.
- Organized and helped found the Minnesota Tenants Alliance, a network of over 7,300 low-income tenants throughout Minnesota who work to preserve and advocate for affordable housing.
- Conducted an annual Section 8 survey, 15 years in a row, to determine landlords acceptance of Section 8 Vouchers in the market place.
Policy advocacy: Through this program, HOME Line builds tenant leadership into local, state, and federal efforts focused on preserving affordable housing policies. By working with our tenant leaders, HOME Line has helped to establish a grassroots program, the Minnesota Tenants Alliance (MTA), which enables tenants to collectively work on affordable housing policies.
On the state level, HOME Line has influenced a variety of legislation:
- The Renters Credit was bolstered by over $12,000,000 in the 2013 Legislature, restoring cuts from previous years. This means an additional 79,000 low-income renters will receive an average increase of $152 in their renters credit.
- Provisions in the 2010 Tenant Bill of Rights made Minnesota law more tenant-friendly and are saving tenants millions of dollars through revisions to policies on tenant screening fees, late fees, attorney fees, and security deposits.
- Enact the Tenant Impact Statement, a one year notice before owners terminate federal subsidies.
- Appropriate a $10 million annual state program to preserve affordable housing.
- Enact the Right to Privacy, establishing legal standards for landlords entering an apartment.
- Remove the 4d tax credit incentive for owners who terminated federal subsidies (1999, sunset in 2000).
- Prevent of the passage of legislation that would have given tenant screening companies rights beyond the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
On the Federal level we helped influence important laws and programs:
- Enact the Wellstone Notice, a federal notice statute requiring owners to give notice before they can terminate federal subsidies.
- Enact legislation that created the National Housing Trust Fund.
- Prevent legislation that would have enacted HUD administrative changes dismantling the Section 8 program.