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University of Minnesota Extension


Knowledge is power for housing stability.

Nearly 30 percent of Minnesota residents—more than 600,000 households—live in rental units. As rental costs rise, many are paying more than they can afford.

Subsidized housing for low-income people in particular has long waiting lists, and some areas lack all kinds of housing. The situation poses challenges for those who haven’t rented before or who have had less than positive past renting experiences.

“It’s critical for families to have consistent and stable housing, which contributes to continuous employment and school success,” says Mary Jo Katras, University of Minnesota Extension educator in family resiliency. “But being a successful renter in the current housing environment requires certain knowledge and skills beyond what people typically learn in school.”

RentWise is a free workshop, developed by Extension and delivered by community partners, that helps people become successful renters. The class covers money management, tenant rights, caring for a rental, establishing positive relationships with property managers and neighbors, and using community resources to find affordable housing. Workshops are available in Spanish and English.

Top tips for renters

  • Sign reading "for rent"
    Know what you can afford
  • Check out the unit and neighborhood before moving in
  • Understand the lease and implications of not complying
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