U of M students praise pre-lease protection ordinance after Identity Dinkytown delays

U of M students praise pre-lease protection ordinance after Identity Dinkytown delays

University of Minnesota students call Minneapolis’ new pre-lease renter protection ordinance a step in the right direction.

A new city ordinance lays out guaranteed protections if tenants sign a pre-lease but the building is not ready.

It all stems from Identity Dinkytown, an apartment building that wasn’t open at the start of the 2023 school year as promised.

Some U of M students said Identity Dinkytown’s image is tarnished.

“The people on the first floor they just moved in like a week or two ago, so that was pretty brutal,” said Mason Bauer, a U of M student.

Over 500 students were supposed to move into Identity Dinkytown in August, but they got the news after they paid rent that their move-in date was up in the air.

Students were forced to live somewhere else and commute to campus until the building was ready, but exiting their lease was not an option.

“I don’t know what I would do if I was put in this situation again,” Bauer said.

Minneapolis renters who sign a pre-lease now have more options when a unit is not ready by the move-in date: rent reimbursement, alternate living conditions or they can leave the lease penalty-free.

“I think students from this incident learn that they have a voice and that they have power to make changes happen and to make their landlords listen to them,” Siya Sakhardande, U of M student government leader, said. “I think this will really be awesome for students who are looking to sign housing for next year.”

“I like that they’re going in the right direction with kind of protecting our rights here,” Bauer said.

But right now, students are still dealing with the fallout.

Tenants at Identity Dinkytown said some amenities in the building remain unfinished and the damage is done.

Several students told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they will not be signing another lease with the apartment building.

City and student leaders said the hope is to make the ordinance statewide so all renters can benefit from the law in Minnesota.