Governor Walz issued Emergency Executive Order 20-14 to take place at 5:00pm on March 24 2020, which suspends evictions and writs of recovery on residential property for the duration of the COVID-19 peacetime emergency or until the order is rescinded. According to the Order, “Restricting evictions is a vital tool to keep Minnesotans in their homes to mitigate the community spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota and nationwide.”
Q: What does Emergency Executive Order 20-14 do?
A: The order suspends evictions, the execution of writs of recovery, and requests a moratorium on housing foreclosures on residential property during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency or until revocation of the order, except in specified circumstances. The order directs the following restrictions:
- Places a suspension on the ability of a person to file an eviction action who is entitled to recover residential premises after March 1, 2020 when a tenant remains in the property after any of the following occurrences:
- Notice of termination of lease;
- After termination of the redemption period for residential foreclosure;
- After a residential lease has been breached; or
- After non-payment of rent
- Prohibits landlords from terminating residential leases during the pendency of the emergency, with certain exceptions.
- Prohibits all officers who hold a writ of recovery of premises and order to vacate to cease such writs, with certain exceptions.
- Requests financial institutions holding home mortgages to implement an immediate moratorium on all pending and future foreclosures and related evictions when the foreclosure or foreclosure-related eviction arises out of a substantial decrease in income or out-of-pocket medical expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also strongly urges financial institutions to refrain from imposing late fees or other penalties for late mortgage payments related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: What are the eviction or lease exceptions to this Executive Order?
A: This suspension does not include eviction actions based on cases where the tenant seriously endangers the safety of other residents or for violations (Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 504B.171, subdivision 1).
Q: What is a writ of recovery?
A: When a judge rules in favor of a property owner in an eviction proceeding, a writ of recovery orders officers of the law to restore that property to the owner. These orders are lawful means by which landlords can physically remove tenants upon approval of an eviction by a judge.
Q: Are tenants required to pay rent and are homeowners to make mortgage payments through the duration of this Executive Order?
A: Yes. Executive Order 20-14 does not relieve tenants from their obligation to pay rent and does not suspend a borrower’s obligation to make payments on their mortgage.
Q: What happens if a landlord or lender violates Executive Order 20-14?
A: Any person who willfully violates this order is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction may be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days. The Attorney General’s office may also enforce the order using any of the remedies under Minnesota Statute. 8.31.
Please seek an attorney for further guidance on this Executive Order if you have additional questions to ensure proper conduct during this peacetime emergency.