Latest Posts





Do Rental Limits on Homeowners Harm the Poor, Middle Class and Minorities?

Property rights proponents are two-for-two so far this year in contesting proposed ordinances in Twin Cities suburbs that wanted to make it illegal for many homeowners to rent out their houses.  The rejection of a rental cap in Brooklyn Center this week represents a big win for the property rights that undergird our economic liberty, as I wrote here.

Yet it’s also a victory for renters and tenants in Brooklyn Center and beyond. They already face record high rent bills and a shortage of available rental housing that would have further priced them out of the market by limiting the overall number of rental properties and driving up rents.

It’s a real life example that illustrates one of our themes this year at American Experiment: How liberal policies hurt the middle class, the poor and minorities. At least that’s what the supervising attorney for the Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid office, Lael Robertson, told city councilors in a letter hinting at potential litigation.

I am concerned that this ordinance may create an adverse disparate impact on members of protected classes, specifically immigrant populations, people of color and families with children.

Statistics show us that people of color in Minnesota are, by in large, renters. In February, the Minnesota State Demographic Center reported that minorities in Minnesota, in general, are more likely to rent than own homes.  92% of Somali households rent; over 75% of African Americans rent; 57% of Mexican Americans rent; 52% of Hmong households rent.

Some 1,435 low income minority renter households in the first-ring suburb already spend more on rent than their budgets allow or need more space for their families, according to HUD statistics cited by Robertson. Under the rental restrictions on property owners, Legal Aid says the predicament of minority and poor families would only get worse.

Moreover, single family rentals are often the best option for households with minor children and larger families.  There is a lack of affordable housing for larger households, and often single family homes are the only suitable choice.  Limiting the number of single family rental homes will disproportionately affect people based on familial status.

Other opponents pointed out that the proposed ordinance would also have sent a disturbing message.  Realtor Scott Ficek put it this way on the Rental Management Guys website.

It is ultimately discriminatory saying that the City of Brooklyn Center doesn’t want you unless you make enough money and have good enough credit to purchase a home.  This philosophy is discriminatory, and ultimately disproportionately harms single parents, non-whites and new Americans, and those of lower incomes, who are all more often renters than homeowners.

Read my complete News Alert on the latest Minnesota city to turn down rent caps here.




Upcoming Events

  • YLC Curling Event

    Location: Chaska Curling Center 3210 Chaska Blvd, Chaska, MN 55318

    Grab your broom and stone and join the Young Leadership Council for an evening of Curling at the Chaska Curling Center! $40 registration includes: Instruction Ice time and equipment Appetizers (Curling Center Bar will be available to purchase drinks) The event will begin with 15-20 minutes of classroom instruction on curling rules and basics followed by 20-30 minutes on the ice for practice and drills. Instructors will be on hand the whole evening to guide your games. Dress Code: Bring a pair of clean-on-the-bottom shoes to change into. No leather soles or metal lace hooks Loose fitting or strechy clothes…

    Register Now
  • The Diversity Delusion

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Please join Center of the American Experiment on Wednesday, April 24th at the Hilton Hotel for a lunch forum with Heather Mac Donald as she discusses her new book, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.  Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. She is a recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize. Mac Donald’s work at City Journal has covered a range of topics, including higher education, immigration, policing, homelessness and homeless advocacy, criminal-justice reform, and race…

    Register Now
  • 2019 Annual Dinner Featuring Nigel Farage

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Purchase Tickets Here

    Register Now