City launches new website to send a message to substandard landlords

The City of Minneapolis has launched a website aimed at sending a message to rental property owners who don’t follow rental licensing standards. The new site posts the names of property owners who have had their rental licenses revoked, properties condemned or demolished, and those who have been ruled ineligible to hold a rental license for five years.

Since 2005, the City has changed more than two dozen ordinances to strengthen rental licensing and property ownership standards to protect tenants from problem landlords. Because of these changes, the City has increased the number of rental licenses it has revoked by more than 500 percent for owners who have violated one or more rental license standards. The new website will list these landlords as well as those who are ineligible to hold a rental license for five years because two or more rental licenses have been revoked or cancelled due to property condemnation.

The website also posts lists of condemned, vacant and demolished buildings. Condemnation of problem properties is based on substandard building conditions. Properties condemned for substandard conditions have the rental license automatically cancelled, which is equivalent to a revocation. After a property is condemned, it must be repaired and pass code compliance inspection in order to be reoccupied. Vacant buildings in our neighborhoods are managed by City staff and property owners to either restore buildings to livable conditions or demolish them. Demolitions are a part of the City's strategy to remove the most egregious blighted properties that present life safety concerns. The City uses authority under the Chapter 249 Ordinance to demolish substandard properties.

The City of Minneapolis continues to find ways to increase enforcement of those who own substandard properties and consume city resources. In response to these owners the City of Minneapolis has recently launched a tiered approach for inspection of rental properties based on severity and history of code compliance. Rental properties will be placed into three categories - 1, 2 & 3 - which will be based on a scoring system to determine the inspection cycle. The properties that require more city resources based on the history of property will be placed in Category 3 and will receive an annual inspection. Marginal properties will be placed on a two to five year cycle and properties with proactive management will be rewarded and placed on a longer inspection cycle.

Published Feb 16, 2011