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for rent signCity officials in Minneapolis took to the streets last week, participating with University of Michigan staff in a door-to-door campaign encouraging tenants to report their landlords for possible building code infractions or other disputes.

Student renters were encouraged to tone down rowdy parties and underage drinking, and then offered a phone number to call to report their landlords, according to a report by Minnesota Daily, a student newspaper.

This action comes on the heels of yet another new amendment to the rental housing rules designed to curb what the city views as abuses to the rental property inspection process. The council voted last week to pass a measure that prohibits any landlord who has had licensing issues in the past from receiving a license on any additional rental properties for three years.

The language of the new amendment also provides that action will be taken against the owner, the tenants, who will be forced to move, and any designated property manager.

According to council agendas, members routinely revoke a handful of rental licenses at each meeting. In early April, a landlord lost his rental license after an inspector appeared at the door and was refused entry by the tenant. The landlord was asked to reschedule, but had not called to do so.  Another landlord’s license was revoked after she was ordered to resurface the existing driveway.

The council also launched a website recently, posting names of delinquent landlords on the Internet. Currently, there are 114 landlords on the list. In a statement on its main website, the City of Minneapolis explains that it does not tolerate landlords who violate rental licensing standards. “We hold property owners responsible for the condition of their properties and hold owners responsible to proactively plan for, address and respond to issues of tenant behavior.”  The statement adds that the ability to rent out a property is viewed as a “privilege” rather than a right of ownership.

The city boasts that the number of rental license revocations has grown by 500% since 2005.

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  • Gary Carlson

    It’s really nice to see the good folks of Minneapolis rising to the challenge of trying to put landlords out of business. I’m sure their misguided efforts will have the usual effect of higher rental rates for the students.
    If the students are rowdy or making too much noise, why not go directly to the problem and apply some “disturbance of the peace” ordinance? Guess it’s easier to pass along their enforcement responsibilities to the landlord.
    If anyone intends to buy property in Minneapolis, be advised that it’s a “privilege” to be a landlord there. I’d say the City has too many employees with little to do to keep them busy. They need to trim staff and return some revenue to the taxpayers.

  • Bobbi

    I agree with Gary. Maybe they should spend more time going after real criminals instead of treating landlords like criminals. Next, they’ll be complaining that there isn’t enough affordable rental housing.

  • steve


  • Bill Johnson

    Minneapolis sounds like NYC on steroids. Absolutely no clue as to how making it difficult for landlords affects investment in rental housing and prices. Maybe they should fire their excess staff and hire more police to keep the rowdies in check.

  • Jim Mobley

    What are those city officials smoking? They’re probably former EPA employs are ACLU lawyers. Who else could be that stupid? The landlords should check on the public housing in Minneapolis thats usually where the problems exist.

  • joanne b

    I agree with Steve, universities are very powerful. They stopped the Charity Hospital from reopening in New Orleans even tho it had very little damage and met certification requirements. Why? THey wanted to build a university complex for billions including a Hospital that was not a county hospital and did not serve the poor and a VA hospital far way from where poor people live. The University of California buys up property and often forces people to sell so they can build soccer fields and other amenities including student housing.

  • Gary Carlson

    Yes, I agree Steve may be onto something there.

    Landlords are becoming the new “minority” without any real power. If Dr. King were still alive, I wonder if he would have agreed to organize us for a march to Minneapolis?

  • Mark

    Have any of you actually ever lived in near campus rental housing? Do you know know how many properties there are and what percentage of them have shady landlords or owners that don’t maintain their properties?? Speaking from experience at THIS campus, too many of these (very old) rental homes are in such dis-repair I’m surprised they are not condemned. What’s wrong with the city trying to protect students from poor living conditions? Isn’t that their job?! If you buy a property with the intent to rent it out you had better be prepared to do what it takes to make it (and keep it) livable to standards you would keep in your own home. Students will have parties, its college, but the city doesn’t really have any clout with that, the police do, so what’s wrong with coming at the problem from both ends? Also, last I heard, the dormitories were filled up every year with the 15k+ freshmen class, so I don’t think the University is losing much money there.
    Gary, if a landlord can’t maintain their property, they should be out of business. If you own a restaurant and can’t keep it clean, do you get to keep serving burgers? No, the health department shuts you down. Why should a rental home be any different? Do you like sleeping in a moldy house or one that might burn down because of a code violation?

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