Students impacted by Identity Dinkytown move-in delay testify before state senators
University of Minnesota students testified before the Minnesota Senate on Wednesday afternoon requesting better student tenant rights after their apartment move-in date was postponed just weeks before classes started.
“I’m a STEM student. My class load is so heavy. I’m working in school, like, 24/7,” U of M student Wajd Suliman said.
Suliman should be focused on her college classes, but instead, her mind is stuck on living in limbo.
She and hundreds of other U of M students had an Aug. 27 move-in date to Identity Dinkytown, an apartment complex near campus, but that date was pushed back because construction is not done, sparking lawsuits from students.
Students said the complex did not tell them about the delay until one day after they paid the first month’s rent.
“I’m really angry because unlike a lot of students, I pay for everything myself and I pay my own rent,” Suliman said.
The apartment company is offering tenants a choice of a $150 gift card per day and rent abatement or an $80 gift card and housing in a hotel to make up for the delay.
Some students said it’s not enough, so they’re voicing their concerns to state legislators.
“For students living on campus, rent is a huge problem that students have faced for years on the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus,” said Siya Sakhardande, U of M government and legislative affairs state coordinator. “Landlords do take advantage of students.”
On Wednesday, Minnesota senators held a hearing to address what happened and draw attention to a bigger issue.
“It’s sort of unbelievable at first when you hear about it,” said Sen. Lindsey Port, DFL-Burnsville. “We know that this is just highlighting imbalances in power between tenant and landlord law.”
Port said if a landlord can’t provide basic essentials of a lease, Minnesotans should have more options.
“The tenant should have every opportunity available to them to not pay that rent, to break the lease to find somewhere else to live,” Port said.
Suliman said students have too many things to worry about and housing should not be one of them.
“It’s just not ideal, and hopefully something can be passed that this doesn’t happen again,” she said.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to the company that runs Identity Dinkytown regarding the delayed construction and possible additional compensation for students, and it responded with a statement:
“We cannot comment on any pending litigation. We understand that the delay is disappointing and inconvenient for students. We want each student’s experience with Identity Dinkytown to be seamless and this isn’t how we wanted to start our journey together. While unavoidable construction delays have impacted anticipated move-in dates, we are working directly with the contractor who has assured us they are doing everything they can to complete the remaining construction as quickly as possible. We are hopeful to have students moving in by the end of the month. In the meantime, we are committed to transparency and will provide students with regular updates until then.”CA Management Services