Federal judge blocks housing advocates, tenants from joining rent control lawsuit

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			Federal judge blocks housing advocates, tenants from joining rent control lawsuit
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A federal judge has denied a request by two tenants and three housing advocacy groups to be added as intervening defendants in a lawsuit filed against the city of St. Paul over its rent control ordinance.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in June by landlords Woodstone Limited Partnership and Lofts at Farmers Market LLC, accuses the city, the mayor and city officials of violating both the U.S. and Minnesota constitutions in enacting a voter-approved city ordinance that limits rent increases to 3 percent annually without adjustments for inflation.

In October, renters Katherine Banbury and Angela Wilhight and three nonprofit organizations — the Westside Community Organization, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability and HOME Line — asked the court for permission to join the lawsuit as intervening defendants, allowing them to file motions.

U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Brasel on Monday filed a legal order denying the request. She noted their motion to intervene was filed well into the case, after the close of an evidence-gathering period and during preparation of both parties’ legal briefs. The parties had jointly requested an expedited time table, and the housing advocates filed their request two months later.

Brasel did not rule out allowing the tenants and housing advocates to join the case later, to file an appeal once her final order is published.

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