Reporting Liz Collin
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s been more than three weeks since a tornado tore into North Minneapolis and enough time has passed determine who’s fixing up their houses and who isn’t.
The City of Minneapolis started a new inspection process Monday to identify the most damaged rental properties and keep their landlords from walking away.
Out of 7,000 properties damaged by the storm, inspection teams are focusing on 125 deemed uninhabitable, starting with the 55 rental properties.
“In rental properties, you have a property owner who owes a duty and has a responsibility to their tenants to make sure they are living in a safe environment,” said Henry Reimer, the assistant director of regulator services. “Owner occupants don’t have that environment.”
It’s the start of a three-phase process to alert landlords, get problems fixed and identify bigger ones.
“If we have rental properties where property owners are walking away, that is of particular concern to us,” Reimer said. “If we have property owners who were under-insured, or are over-mortgaged, there is a very high risk that some of those property owners will not be here to engage with us.”
The city is concerned about renters being left homeless by the process. Reimer says inspectors are in contact with social workers from Homeless Connect whenever they make a ruling that shuts off somebody’s housing.