Rules and Processes Overview

  • The Residential Rent Stabilization Ordinance, approved by Saint Paul voters in November 2021, limits monthly rent increases to 3% in any 12-month period, even when tenant(s) move out.  The Ordinance is intended to ensure that Saint Paul residents have access to affordable housing, while also acknowledging  property owners’ right to a "reasonable return on investment."

  • The Ordinance also directs the City to create a process for landlords to request an exception to the rent cap based on the right to a reasonable return on investment, and to consider seven factors when determining if an exception is justified. Some of those factors include increases or decreases in property taxes,  substantial deterioration of a unit, and failure to provide adequate housing services; the full list may be found in the law

  • Beginning on May 1, 2022, landlords must limit residential rent increases to 3% in a 12-month period or request an exception using the process described below. For more background on Saint Paul's rent stabilization law, visit Rent Stabilization

  • LEP Language Support: For assistance translating rules and ordinance, please contact the City of Saint Paul by email at rent-stabilization@ci.stpaul.mn.us, or by phone at 651-266-8553

Reasonable Return on Investment

To enforce the Ordinance, rules have been designed to clarify how requests for an exception to the 3% rent cap will be considered, including the types of information needed to make a determination on a landlord’s request for an exception. The criteria seek to  balance the interests of stabilizing residential rents while providing landlords the right to a reasonable profit. City Council also approved definitions for key words, to help clarify terms used in the Ordinance.  

Rules

Section 193A.05 of Ordinance lays out seven factors that the City will consider when determining whether a landlord’s request should be granted.  

The following rules specify how landlord requests will be evaluated. Landlords may apply for an exception under any one of the issues listed below; however, all factors must be considered when making a final determination.  

All rental units must be considered safe and habitable in order to be considered for an exception for rent increase.  

  • Reasonable return standard: Maintenance of Net Operating Income (MNOI) will be used as the means to evaluate a reasonable return, considering increases in property taxes, insurance and operating costs, and other factors, relying upon a base year of 2019.
  • Planned or completed capital improvements: Certain improvements add to a property’s value and prolong its useful life over more than one year. This includes costs beyond ordinary maintenance or repair but not repairs needed for the property to meet local property code standards. Amortized costs of capital improvements will be considered subject to certain conditions listed in the rule. 
  • Changes in the number of tenants: Increases or decreases in the number of people living in a rental unit, permitted by the rental agreement in effect on May 1, 2022, may affect the rent allowable for a unit. Grounds for tenant objections to the accuracy of the information submitted are also found in this rule. 
  • Changes in space or services: Clarifies how the City will evaluate requests when a landlord adds or reduces space or services; if the property has deteriorated; any failures to provide adequate services and more.  
  • Pattern of increases or decreases in rent: Consumer Price Index (CPI) as the basis for determining a pattern of rent increases or decreases. Learn how the Bureau of Labor Statistics makes this determination.

Rules & Definitions

The rules specify how landlord requests will be evaluated. Landlords may apply for an exception under any one of the issues listed below; however, all factors  included in the law must be considered when making a final determination. 

Review the Final Rules

Requests for Exceptions: Two Paths

Effective May 1, 2022, increases in rent are capped at 3% unless an owner requests an exception to the cap. As directed in the Ordinance, the City has created a process for landlords to request an exception to the limit on rent increases, offering two methods for landlords to make such requests. In either case, a landlord must demonstrate that an exception is needed to provide a reasonable return.  

The two methods, “self-certification” and “staff determination,” are described below.  

  • The self-certification process is intended only for requests for increases between 3% and 8%. 

  • Landlords may choose to use the staff-determination process for any request for an exception above the 3% cap. If they are seeking an increase for more than 8% , however, they must use this process. Staff will evaluate supporting documentation submitted using this process. 

  • All requests for an exception start with a landlord submitting the Rent Increase Exception Request form, which requires landlord  and property information, the percent increase requested, for what specific portions of a building, and the factor(s) selected. 

  • All landlords are strongly encouraged to fill out the Maintenance of Net Operating Income worksheet before submitting an Exception Request to support the rationale for their request. 

  • When the Rent Increase Exception Request form is submitted, landlords are encouraged to send notice to any residential tenants who may be impacted.  

Rent Increase Exception Request

Steps for Self-Certification

The self-certification process is intended only for requests for increases between 3% and 8%. 

1

Fill out the Maintenance of Net Operating Income Worksheet

All self-certification requests are subject to city audit. The worksheet provides a convenient way to capture  and save the  required income and expense records related to the property and may be used to document reasons for the exception request. The worksheet, and any other forms related to the factors selected in the Exception Request form, will not be sent to the City. Keep the worksheet and any completed forms for your records and any possible city audit. Find the worksheets and forms at the bottom of this page.  

2

Fill out and submit the Rent Increase Exception Request

Successfully submitted forms will generate an email reply with a notice that may be used to inform residential tenants of the increase requested. 

3

City Confirmation

City will send confirmation that self-certification has been received; the confirmation will serve as an approval of the request.

4

Keep back-up documentation

Landlord keeps all back-up documentation in the event of a city audit. 

Steps for Staff Determination

Requests for increases greater than 8% must follow this process, which requires review by City staff. 

1

Fill out the Maintenance of Net Operating Income worksheet

The worksheet provides complete income and expense record related to the property and may be used to document reasons for the exception request. Find the worksheet at the bottom of this page. Retain this for your records. 

2

Fill out and submit the Rent Increase Exception Request

Fill out and submit the Rent Increase Exception Request, and any forms related to the factors being used to support the request. Find the correct forms at the bottom of this page.

3

City will make a decision to grant or deny the request for exception

Landlords are encouraged to send notice to any residential tenants impacted.

Staff determinations can be appealed to the Legislative Hearing Officer within 21 days.  

Appeal Rent Increase Determination

  • Legislative Hearings provide the forum for reviewing appeals of City-issued determinations. The hearings are conducted by the Hearing Officer who makes a recommendation to the City Council. Individuals not satisfied with a Hearing Officer’s recommendation also have an opportunity to be heard before City Council if they wish to appeal further.  

  • For each appeal City staff will give a report and those appealing are given time to present information, photos or documents. To learn more about the City’s appeal process and find the Application for Appeal, visit Legislative Hearings.  

  • Appeals by either landlords or tenants must be submitted within 21 business days of the determination notification. 

Appeals Process

Tenant Rights

The Ordinance aims to address a shortage of residential rental housing in the City of Saint Paul and ensure all residents have access to affordable housing.  If your landlord is not following the rent stabilization ordinance, check out these legal, dispute resolution, and education resources for tenants. Tenants may also file a complaint using the Rent Stabilization Ordinance Complaint form below.  

State and Federal Protections

The rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants are protected in state and federal law in in addition to local ordinances. Learn more from The Office of Minnesota Attorney General's Landlords and Tenants Handbook, including the requirement that landlords provide notice of a rent increase.  

Tenant Notifications

While the Ordinance did not address when or how tenants should be notified, this is a valuable step in the process. The Rent Stabilization Stakeholder Group has identified this issue for discussion and consideration.   

Submit a Complaint

Submit a complaint for failure to comply with the Residential Rent Stabilization Ordinance.

The City is committed to making its services, programs, and activities available to all. The interactive webform on this page is available in English and Spanish. For additional assistance translating the rules, process steps, and the ordinance, in various languages please contact the Department of Safety and Inspections by email at rent-stabilization@ci.stpaul.mn.us or by phone at 651-266-8553. 

La ciudad se compromete a poner sus servicios, programas y actividades a disposición de todos. El formulario interactivo de esta página está actualmente disponible en inglés y español. Para obtener ayuda adicional en la traducción de las normas, los pasos del proceso y la ordenanza, póngase en contacto con el Departamento de Seguridad e Inspecciones por correo electrónico en rent-stabilization@ci.stpaul.mn.us, o por teléfono al 651-266-8553.

 Submit a Complaint

Supporting Worksheets and Forms

Last Edited: May 13, 2022