Requests for Public Data

Your Right to See Public Data

The Government Data Practices Act (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13) presumes that all government data are public unless a state or federal law says the data are not public. Government data means all recorded information a government entity has, including paper, email, flash drives, CDs, DVDs, photographs, etc.

The law also says that Minnesota Housing must keep all government data in a way that makes it easy for you to access public data. You have the right to look at (inspect), free of charge, all public data that we keep. You also have the right to get copies of public data. The Government Data Practices Act allows us to charge for copies. You have the right to look at data, free of charge, before deciding to request copies.

How to Request Public Data

You can ask to look at (inspect) data at our offices or ask for copies of public data that we keep.

To request public data, please use the Data Request Form or make a written request by mail, fax or email.

If you do not use the data request form, send your request to the agency Data Practices Compliance Official, contact information below. Your request should:

  • Say that you are making a request for public data under the Government Data Practices Act (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13).
  • Include whether you would like to inspect the data, have copies of the data, or both.
  • Provide a clear description of the data you would like to inspect or have copied.

You are not required to identify yourself or explain the reason for your data request. However, you may need to provide us with some personal information for practical reasons (for example: if you want us to mail copies to you, you need to provide us with an address or P.O Box). If we do not understand your request and have no way to contact you, we cannot respond to your request.

How We Will Respond to Your Public Data Request

Upon receiving your request, we will review it.  We may ask you to clarify what data you are requesting.

  • If we do not have the data, we will notify you as soon as reasonably possible.
  • If we have the data, but we are not allowed to give it to you, we will tell you as soon as reasonably possible and identify the law that prevents us from providing the data.
  • If we have the data, and the data are public, we will respond to your request appropriately and promptly, within a reasonable amount of time by doing one of the following:
    • Arrange a date, time, and place for you to inspect the data at our offices; or
    • You may choose to pick up your copies, or we will mail or email them to you.  We will provide electronic copies (such as email or CD-ROM) upon request, if we keep the data in that format and we can reasonably make a copy.
    • Response time may be impacted by the size and/or complexity of your request, and also by the number of requests you make in a given period of time.

Following our response, if you do not make arrangements within 10 business days to inspect the data or pay applicable costs, we will conclude that you no longer want the data and will consider your request closed.

If you do not understand some of the data (technical terminology, abbreviations, or acronyms), please tell the person who provided the data to you. We will give you an explanation if you ask.

The Government Data Practices Act does not require us to create or collect new data in response to a data request, or to provide data in a specific form or arrangement if we do not keep the data in that form or arrangement. For example, if the data you request are on paper only, we are not required to create electronic documents to respond to your request. If we agree to create data in response to your request, we will work with you on the details of your request, including cost and response time.

We are also not required to respond to questions that are not about your data requests, or requests for government data.

Requests for Summary Data

Summary data are statistical records or reports created by removing identifying information about individuals from entirely private or confidential data.

We will prepare summary data if you make your request in writing and pay for the cost of creating the data, if a cost is deemed appropriate.

You may use the  Data Request Form to request summary data.  We will respond to your request within 10 business days with the data or details of when the data will be ready and how much we will charge you.

Data Practices Contact

Minnesota Housing Finance Agency
400 Wabasha Street North, Saint Paul, MN 55102
Phone: 651.296.7608 or 800.657.3769

Responsible Authority
Rachel Robinson, Deputy Commissioner

Data Practices Compliance Official
Ryan Baumtrog, Assistant Commissioner

Copy Costs When You Request Data

Minnesota Statutes, section 13.03, subdivision 3(c) allows us to charge for copies. We do not charge for copies if the cost is less than $10.00 (40 pages). Multiple requests made within the same 30 business-day period will be treated as a single request for the purposes of calculating total copy costs.

If possible, and upon request, we will provide you with an estimation of the total cost of supplying copies.

For 100 or fewer paper copies – 25 cents per page

100 or fewer pages of black and white, letter or legal size paper copies cost 25¢ for a one-sided copy, or 50¢ for a two-sided copy.

Most other types of copies – actual cost

The charge for most other types of copies is the actual cost of searching for and retrieving the data, and making the copies or electronically sending the data.

In determining the actual cost of making copies, we include employee time, the cost of the materials onto which we are copying the data (paper, CD, DVD, etc.), and mailing costs (if any). If your request is for copies of data that we cannot copy ourselves, such as photographs, we will charge you the actual cost we must pay an outside vendor for the copies.

If, based on your request, we find it necessary for a higher-paid employee to search for and retrieve the data, we will calculate search and retrieval charges at the higher salary/wage.