Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde, the City of Minneapolis Department of Regulatory Services Director, held a follow up on a forum held a year ago. Primary discussion was updates on regulations and services for home owners and landlords.
She showed maps of Minneapolis and specifically Ward 1 showing all rental properties. There are 2,234 rental properties in Ward 1 indicating a breakdown by neighborhood with the most in the Holland and Windom Park neighborhoods. She also showed problem properties and types of problems. Problems have a wide range from keeping lawns mowed, to structure problems, to noise violations.
They are trying to handle situations by helping owners solve the problems. There are now specific standards on maintenance. For example, grass growth above a certain height, owners will receive two notices with deadlines. If deadlines are not met the city will mow the property and bill the owner.
Improper conduct on the property, noise, drinking by minors, etc. the charge must be witnessed by the police. Anything happening on the property is the owners liability. In 2013 there were 443 notices of conduct problems on the property in Minneapolis of which 30 were in Ward 1. In 2013 there were 5023 Nuisance violations in Ward 1.
The Department of Regulatory Services can approve, restrict, deny, or revoke a license.
There must be “good cause” for not approving a license. If the city cannot locate the owner and take over as property guardian of a vacant property they will clean, remodel and refurbish the property and put it back on the market. If the building is deteriorated too beyond repair they may demolish it. They have a homeowner navigation program in which they will help problem property owners to understand and trust them, and advise and assist them with fixing their problems.
There was a suggestion to form citizens groups in helping owners fix the problems. There are classes offered on “how to be a good landlord.” Landlords living out of state must have a local contact person. There are presently two large scale property owners, companies buying large amounts of rental properties. One has a large amount of properties in the North Minneapolis area and the other in the South Minneapolis area. They meet with the regulatory people to be given information on ownership requirements. At this point there have been no problems with them. What the landlord does with the property is more important than where they reside.
They are developing better inspection criteria on requirements and how often. They want to increase community partnerships on addressing housing issues as a joint effort and looking at issues trends form all angles.
A question was asked about possibly rewarding good landlords. They have a system now where landlords are listed with a tier level with their license information. Tier 1 landlords are the best. Rivera-Vandermayde says they “are not there yet but will continue to improve.”
Their plan is to have a new land management system in place by mid 2016.
Complaints can be, if emergency, reported by calling 911. Non-emergency call 311. The Department of Regulatory Services is upgrading their computer system to have a page with all property info. If you have questions or comments contact Nuria.Rivera-Vandermyde@minneapolismn.gov or call her at 612-673-3726. To reach the data analyst contact Noah.Schuchman@minneapolismn.gov or call 612-673-2781.