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Tenants in Minneapolis Protest, Demand Better Living Conditions

August 15, 2016 07:31 PM

A few dozen protesters lined the sidewalk on the 3100 block of 22nd Avenue South in the Corcoran Neighborhood of South Minneapolis.

Tenants and members of the Corcoran Neighborhood Association were among those present.

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The sale of low-income apartments could push more than 100 families out of their homes, according to the Corcoran Neighborhood Association (CNA).

The tenants are demanding changes from the landlord and the city of Minneapolis.

There was a recent lawsuit, in late March, against landlord Stephen Frenz, alleging Frenz has been ignoring tenants' complaints and doing as little as possible to ensure habitable housing for tenants. 

A few months later, in mid-July, the CNA said it found out by chance Frenz was selling eight properties. The problem, according to the CNA, is a private sector buyer can revitalize the properties and dramatically raise rent.

Dirty, unhealthy and unsafe is how Monique Carrillo described her home. Carrillo invited 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS into her home. She showed us mice holes, pipe and appliance damage, water damage underneath sinks and on the floors, and mold.

The eight buildings at the center of the controversy are located on the 3100 blocks of Bloomington and Pleasant Avenues South, on the 3700 block of Cedar Avenue South and five buildings on the 3100 block of 22nd Avenue South.

The CNA said selling these properties to private sector buyers will negatively affect more than 130 families, mainly Latinos, single moms and older people.

The city of Minneapolis answered 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS' questions with the following statement:

The City of Minneapolis continues to closely monitor this case. Once there is a resolution and findings we can look at, we will review our options and determine the appropriate next steps. Regardless of the identity of a property owner, the City continues to be diligent and vigorous in responding to tenant concerns and complaints, issuing citations as needed, and enforcing relevant health, safety and maintenance codes to keep residents of all rental properties in our city safe and healthy.

During routine rental license inspections or when receiving complaints, Regulatory Services can require owners to comply with all standards contained within the City of Minneapolis Housing Maintenance Code. This includes, but is not limited to, pests, mold and other repairs. A reasonable period of time is given to the property owner to make those repairs. Non-compliance of lawful orders can result in monetary citations, increased tier designation (costing owners more money for their rental license and increased inspections) and direct actions against the property owner's license.

The CNA wants the city of Minneapolis to put measures in place so nonprofits, instead of private sector buyers, have a realistic chance to buy and repair properties, while keeping rents low.

Credits

Brandi Powell

Copyright 2016 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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