Minneapolis City Council to hear new policy that would protect renters

Minneapolis City Council to hear new policy that would protect renters

Minneapolis City Council to hear new policy that would protect renters

Minneapolis leaders will soon consider a new plan to protect renters within the city, after hundreds of students at the University of Minnesota were unable to move into their new apartment building at the start of the fall semester.

If approved, the ordinance would guarantee any renter who signs a pre-lease has the right to leave that lease if their unit is not ready by the move-in date.

According to city officials, a proposed policy will be noticed at Thursday’s City Council meeting, which begins at 9:30 a.m. It is expected to be introduced on Nov. 2 and get a vote by the full council before the end of 2023.

Councilor Robin Wonsley says the proposed policy should have been in place a long time ago, adding all renters in Minneapolis should be protected from “predatory landlords” throughout the city.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS heard from student Elena Mathern on Wednesday morning. Mathern said she was supposed to start the new school year by moving into the Identity Dinkytown building, and signed a pre-lease multiple months in advance, adding she paid the entirety of August’s rent on the first after hearing from the owners, who told her their unit would be ready later that month.

However, less than 24 hours later, that would turn out to not be true, as Identity Dinkytown told renters in an e-mail that the project would not be done for another month, if not longer.

RELATED: “Construction is still going on in there.” Some U of M students with leases at Identity Dinkytown say they don’t plan to move in

RELATED: Identity Dinkytown remains unfinished, unsent paperwork may cause more move-in delays

RELATED: Some U of M students suing after finding apartment building still under construction, fall semester begins Tuesday

Elena Mathern says it left her and her roommates scrambling to find another place to live, and are now forced to pay double rent, which meant Mathern could no longer afford to be a part of extracurricular activities.

“I’m fortunate to be able to pay two rents at once, I ended up taking out extra loans to do that though, so I know that future me will really regret this moment. It’s a learning lesson though, I’ll probably never sign for an apartment that’s not done ever again,” said Mathern.

Mathern says what happened to her and so many others has been a heartbreaking ordeal and should never be allowed to happen again.

RELATED: Students impacted by Identity Dinkytown move-in delay testify before state senators

RELATED: Apartment in Dinkytown sued for alleged “bait-and-switch” scheme

Wonsley adds she hopes to have it in the books by the start of 2024.

“Identity was a wake-up call about the ongoing housing crisis that has been happening here in Dinkytown impacting students for years, and it’s very clear we can’t ignore these issues anymore,” said Councilor Wonsley.

U of M students are still waiting to move into Identity Dinkytown.

The property owner, Capital Ventures, released a statement regarding the delayed move-in:

“After receiving the temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) on September 26, Identity Dinkytown has been working diligently to welcome all residents in as efficient a manner as we can. At this point, we have moved in a majority of residents, including all students on floors 4-6 as planned. We look forward to moving in the remaining floors through the end of October and into early November. We apologize for any inconvenience these delays have caused.”  

Capital Ventures Student Living Spokesperson