Sen. Eken, Rep. Lien work to assist housing market in Moorhead

ST. PAUL, MinnSen. Kent Eken (DFL-Twin-Valley) and Rep. Ben Lien (DFL-Moorhead) have strongly advocated for a bill that will help recharge the new housing market in Greater Minnesota. The bill, which passed the Minnesota Senate and House with strong bipartisan support will allow the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) to remove the requirement that requires twin-homes to have automatic fire sprinklers installed at the time of construction. These requirements can add anywhere from $7,000-$15,000 to the cost of a single unit in the twin-home.

“These building codes for twin-homes are unnecessarily restrictive and are really hurting Minnesota’s housing market, especially in communities located near the state border. None of Minnesota’s neighboring states require sprinklers in twin-homes,” said Sen. Eken. “Twin-homes are an important source of housing for new families and young professionals, but Moorhead and other neighboring communities are losing out as residents go across the border to purchase homes in North Dakota where they can be constructed significantly cheaper.”

“The passage of this bill is good for housing economies all across the state. Twin-homes are a great product for many people in the housing market from those looking for starter homes to those looking to down size,” said Rep. Lien. “This bill will immediately reduce the costs of twin-homes. Specifically in Moorhead, this will spur the housing economy and keep affordable options on the Moorhead side of the Red River. I’m proud to be a champion of this bill.”

Minnesota’s current residential building code defines a twin-home as two or more attached dwelling units. Essentially, this places two-family homes – often known as “twin-homes” – under the purview of a construction code that is more appropriately geared to influence commercial construction.

Since these regulations regarding sprinkler systems in twin-homes were implemented in 2015, construction of twin-homes in Moorhead has come to nearly a complete stop. The bill will ensure that one of Minnesota’s most affordable and desirable housing owner-occupied products are once again a viable option in the state. It is fully supported by area builders and the local fire service.

Senator Kent Eken
Kent Eken represents District 4, which includes portions of Becker, Clay, and Norman counties in the northwestern part of the state.

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