Leases No More: MLB Teams Now Responsible for Minor League Housing

Image credit: (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

In September, owners approved a policy in which teams would be required to provide housing for all of their minor league players. On Thursday, a memo was sent to general managers, assistant general managers and farm directors outlining the details of that policy.

Housing permitted for minor leaguers during the regular season will include apartments and rental homes, while host families are still permitted provided all members of the family pass a background check. Any of these options must be located within a reasonable distance from the player’s home ballpark. Housing options during spring training can include dormitories and hotel rooms.

Notably, the memo notes that leases are not permitted. Players will not sign any lease or utility agreements. Those will now be the responsibility of the major league team. That is an important development for minor league players—leases often remained in a player’s name after they were promoted or demoted, requiring them to pay for their lease at their previous level in addition to their new level.

The housing policy does not apply to players on major league contracts or those making more than $20,000 per month.

All housing options must include a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and a shared living space, and all bedrooms must include one bed per player with no more than two players per bedroom.

Accommodations must also include all typical appliances (which are not defined). Air conditioning is optional depending on the normal summer climate of the team’s home city. All accommodations must include furnishings including, but not limited to, tables, chairs, sofas and a television, as well as cookware, silverware and linens.

Clubs are also responsible for paying for basic utilities, including electricity, water and WiFi. Clubs will not be required to pay for cable or streaming services like Netflix. 

Players may also opt out of these arrangements, albeit at their own expense. Clubs may establish their own policy toward handling any damages that occur to a player’s housing, but they may not require a player to pay, either directly or through payroll deduction, any part of the cost associated with meeting the minimum standards.

If no housing is available that meets the above standards, then a club may also pay for hotel rooms for players. A separate set of visiting hotel standards is forthcoming, and any hotel rooms used in lieu of accommodations at home will also be required to meet those regulations. 

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