The case argues the unconstitutional and discriminatory housing ordinances enforced by the City of Faribault, in violation of the Fair Housing Act and the Fourteenth Amendment.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota filed a class action lawsuit against the City of Faribault as a result of the city’s implementation of discriminatory housing policies. The City of Faribault enacted a Rental Licensing Ordinance and Crime Free Housing Program that discriminates against immigrants and people of color living in rental properties in the city. The ordinance requires landlords to participate in a so-called “Crime-Free Housing Program.” The ordinance allows police to order all members of a household evicted if any member or guest engages in what police deem to be criminal activity. These evictions can be ordered even without an arrest or prosecution, and even if a person is found not guilty in the related criminal case. Landlords are also instructed to refuse to rent to potential tenants with a criminal history, regardless of whether that record suggests a present risk for property or safety. The ordinance additionally limits the number of people who can live in a rental unit, disproportionately impacting Somali families, which often have five or more children.
The ACLU of Minnesota argues that the discriminatory policies of the Rental Licensing Ordinance and the Crime Free Housing Program violate the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, in addition to equal rights guarantees provided by the Minnesota Constitution. The lawsuit seeks to address the harms brought about by the Rental Licensing Ordinance on the tenants on this case and for the potential tenants in the Faribault community. There are six individual plaintiffs and one organization plaintiff, Somali Community Resettlement Services.