More than 100 renters at Country Village Apartments in Burnsville face an uncertain future as the Burnvsille City Council opted Tuesday night to give the owners one last chance to bring the complex up to code or have their license revoked.
Council members appeared in shock as renters talked about their current living conditions – one was recently warned she had to move from her mice-infested unit because the floor was not stable; another said she is still paying rent on a unit she had to move from so repairs could be made.
Owned by Lindahl Properties LP, the problems came to the city’s attention in May. Several attempts were made to get the owner to address the multiple health and safety violations. When there was little action, the city put the hammer down in October and said the vacant units could not be rented until violations were addressed. They gave the Lindahls until the end of the year to bring the building into compliance. Read post Mold, mice, bad plumbing: The queasy Country Village story, for more.
The threat moved Lindahls into high-gear with the hiring of a contractor to complete the work. However, council members fear it’s a little too late, and the owners are still not putting enough resources into the effort.
A decision not to approve a 2012 rental license would have dire consequences for renters, as they would be forced out until the building is repaired – and there are few places for them to go, said Dakota Council Commissioner Liz Workman. Vacancy levels are at the lowest in years, and few units considered in the affordable range are available.
She also noted other issues forcing renters to stay put: some may not pass a credit or background check and others may have immigration issues.
City staff presented several options for the council to consider. Caught between a rock and a hard place, they opted for a strict series of deadlines to have the work completed – the first Jan. 15, or the rental license would be revoked.
About 40 units are considered up to code, with another 100 or so needing to be brought into compliance. Contractors say the work can be completed, if the Lindahls are committed to providing the financial resources.
Mayor Elizabeth Kautz put up the warning to residents: Start looking for another place to live.