Minnesota tenants’ rights during COVID-19 emergency

Governor Walz has issued an Executive Order prohibiting Minnesota landlords from evicting tenants from their homes or terminating residential leases until the “peacetime emergency” ends unless there is a personal or public health or safety reason for doing so.

However, tenants must still pay rent and follow the rules of their lease.

Landlords who are not following these rules should be reported to the Attorney General’s office, which you can do by clicking here.

If you have questions and would like to talk to a lawyer about your situation, please call VLN’s intake line at 612-752-6677 on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

UPDATE: COVID-19 and VLN Services

We have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and have decided to close VLN’s physical office and in-person clinics as of Monday, March 16. This difficult decision was made with the health and safety of our clients, staff and volunteers at the top of our minds.

Our intake line will remain open for clients during its normal hours — Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. We will continue to offer our phone advice services, and other extended representation services based on need and we will endeavor to schedule new remote services such as phone advice as volunteers are available.

Please note that operating remotely is something entirely new for most of our staff and unprecedented with our current technology. While we are trying our best to continue as much service as possible, there may be delays and errors. We apologize for any inconvenience these may cause.

As updates become available, you can find them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn first, and then here on our blog.

We thank you for your patience and hope you are taking care of yourselves and your families.

VLN Services and COVID-19

VLN is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be making changes and cancellations beginning Monday, March 16. Walk-in intake is suspended indefinitely beginning Tuesday, March 17. As things change with our partner firms and volunteers, the courts and community organizations, and as updated information becomes available, we will make changes as necessary to our scheduled services. Please check our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the most current information. This blog will be updated on a less-frequent but more in-depth basis.

To the extent services are available, all our clients, volunteers and partners are urged to stay home if they are sick, have symptoms (such as a cough or fever) or have been exposed to COVID-19. Anyone who does engage in VLN services is urged to take precaution and practice good illness-avoidance hygiene: wash hands thoroughly and often, avoid touching your face, and cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow.

Volunteers can read more on providing legal services during an outbreak by clicking here.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this unfortunate situation. Take care.

 

VLN is seeking new board members!

The VLN Board of Directors is seeking nominations of committed and compassionate members of our community to help achieve VLN’s vision of a society in which everyone has access to the legal services essential for stability and well-being.

We seek people with a wide range of skills, including strategic planning and visioning, fundraising, finance, community organizing, marketing, and human resources. VLN is actively seeking new members who reflect the diversity of our community and our clients, including diversity in gender, race, ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation.

Nominees do not have to be an attorney or have volunteered with VLN in the past. We are particularly interested in speaking with people of color and those from traditionally under-represented and under-served groups.

Please contact Tom Walsh at (612) 752-6675 if you are interested in joining the Board, or know someone you think would be a good fit.

Come Make Housing Happen: VLN is #hiring for TWO positions!

Calling all attorneys and non-lawyer client service superstars! Our housing program has two vacancies. Come be a part of our largest and fastest-growing program as a Housing Project Attorney or a Housing Court Project Clinic Coordinator.

VLN’s housing program has exceeded goals and expectations addressing the Twin Cities’ affordable housing crisis over the last two years. Working closely with community-based non-profits and Mayor Jacob Frey, we help thousands of families with landlord/tenant issues every year.

Click on the job titles above to learn more and apply to either position!

Save the Date: HCBF Bar Benefit is Thursday, March 5!

logo advertising the 2020 Bar Benefit

This annual event, hosted by our distinguished partner, the Hennepin County Bar Foundation, features games, food, drinks and gorgeous views from the Lumber Exchange Event Center.

VLN will once again host a Silent Auction, featuring items like Twins tickets, a tailored Brooks Brothers suit, a bowling party for up to 40 people, high-value gift cards and so much more!

Reach out to our board members to buy a raffle ticket for a chance to win a gift card to the Blue Plate Restaurant Co., an air travel voucher, a Wall of Wine selected by our Board of Directors or a collection of spirits from local distilleries, selected by our board’s External Affairs committee.

The Bar Benefit is a wonderful opportunity to socialize with colleagues and judges, and learn about all the inspiring work the HCBF makes possible.

Click here to sponsor or buy tickets, and we’ll see you on March 5!

New Housing Court Clinic Slated for Anoka County Courthouse

VLN’s Housing Team is thrilled to announce the launch of another Housing Court Clinic—this time in Anoka County. This Housing clinic is a joint effort between the 10th Judicial District of the Minnesota Judicial Branch, VLN, Judicare of Anoka County, Central Minnesota Legal Services, Mediation and Restorative Services, and Anoka County Emergency Assistance. This housing clinic will take place during the initial appearance calendars, but will be open to assist clients on all housing issues. Service will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis with preference to those who have a hearing that day.

VLN’s clinic will kick-off on February 12, 2020, with VLN needing volunteer attorneys every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. thereafter. Monday morning shifts will be opening up later in the year. Prior housing experience is not necessary. All training will be provided. Minimum commitment is one, two-hour shift each month for one year.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Muria at [email protected]/612-752-6647 OR register to attend our upcoming training on Tuesday, March 10, 2:00pm-4:15pm at the Anoka County Government Center. 2 standard CLE credits have been requested.

Urban Institute: learn from Ramsey County Housing Court Clinic model

The Urban Institute recently featured the Ramsey County Housing Court Clinic on its Urban Wire blog.

The post, titled “Four Lessons from Minnesota Can Inform the Eviction Crisis Debate,” talks about the successes of the on-site legal clinic model for resolving housing crises.

The clinic, opened in 2018, has reduced evictions, increased expungements and increased and improved settlement agreements.

Click here to read the full post at Urban.org.

The Ramsey County Housing Court Clinic is a partnership between VLN, the Family Housing Fund, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS), Neighborhood House, Ramsey County, the Dispute Resolution Center and the Minnesota State Courts.