COMMUNITY VOICES | Safe, Decent and Sanitary Housing in Minneapolis? Where?


I have lived in the city of Minneapolis for 9 years and never once have I lived in an apartment that was not filled with serious Housing Code Violations. What this says about this city, is that the housing stock is anything but safe, sanitary and decent and we obviously have no problem with this. If we did, then why was there no real changes to code enforcement after 6 people (3 adults and 3 children) were killed in a fire in 2010? The tenants who survived spoke of a persistent odor of gas, hanging wires where a smoke detector once worked and a “rat’s nest of wiring” protruding from a wall and other serious issues. Fast forward to present day and problems similar to these still exist in apartments all across Minneapolis. I know because I am living in one.

The apartment that I currently live in, the steps leading to the building are crumbling and two steps are half way missing, my ceiling fan erupted in sparks that would rival a July 4th fireworks display. I contacted Emergency Maintenance and was told that they were “overbooked and could not come out and that I should contact Management and put in a work order.” I did. That was a month ago and still, no one was dispatched to even take a look at it. Nearly all of my outlets have a short in them. Three weeks ago, the refrigerator was still leaking all over the kitchen floor and this was after maintenance claimed to have fixed it. Another refrigerator finally arrived last week, obviously from another unit, but thankfully not leaking. This week’s issue is the bathroom. The light flickered on and off yesterday and I told my cousin that something was wrong. Yesterday, I heard the sounds of splattering. Yes, something was indeed wrong, water was gushing from the ceiling and from around the light fixture. I contacted Management and was told that Maintenance would be dispatched. A day later, I am still waiting.

I currently have three code violations and some of them have not been addressed. Not to forget that when I initially contacted 311 to report the issues, I was told that they had the same complaints on file, that I was reporting. I have no secure mailbox. It is just hanging open for anyone to take the mail. I was worried because I had checks coming and did not want someone to get their hands on them. We had to maintain a constant vigil until the checks came.

I would love to know how many landlords are living like this? How many Fire Inspectors and Regulatory Inspectors are living like this? How many city council members are living like this? Is the mayor(I contacted his office about the issues)living like this? What is being done to make landlords accountable when their buildings are in violation of code ordinances? Obviously, not a thing because I would think that when 6 people died in a building that had numerous and very obvious violations, steps would have been taken to ensure that this never happened again. So, why then am I reporting numerous and very obvious violations three years later?