Agencies to ask U to delist landlords

Molly Moker

The University Student Legal Service and Housing and Residential Life will finalize a proposal Wednesday asking the University to remove repeatedly cited landlords from the University’s off-campus housing directory.

University Student Legal Service attorney Bill Dane said landlords cited by the city three or more times would be removed. However, he said, students or tenants must bring the citations to the legal service’s attention.

While citations can range from not raking leaves to over-occupancy, Dane said the citations’ seriousness would be taken into account.

Dane said of the 3,166 landlords listed, he could only confirm that two – Jim Eischens and Joe Welp – would be immediately removed from the list.

Eischens said in a recent interview that if he is removed from the University’s off-campus housing list he will be upset.

“Just because I take legal action to resolve issues shouldn’t make me not be on the listing,” Eischens said in the recent interview. “Other landlords just let problems go. But it’s part of my business. I like to settle things. I pursue. Very few pursue me.”

Eischens said the University should take into account the good things people have to say, not just the bad things.

“Who’s going to be the most vocal against me? The people who couldn’t reach a settlement, and now they’re angry,” Eischens said. “They’re the ones complaining at legal services, not my tenants that don’t have problems.”

Once the legal service and Housing and Residential Life finalize their plan, it will be sent to the associate vice provost for student affairs for further consideration.

Jerry Rinehart, associate vice provost for student affairs, said the plan is “a good first step” and that University President Bob Bruininks is “very anxious” to enact it.

Student action

The Minnesota Student Association is educating students about bad landlords.

Tom Zearley, MSA facilities and housing chairman, said students are concerned they do not know what to look for in off-campus housing, so MSA is putting together a student survey to rate area landlords.

The survey will be based on a compilation of surveys the Student Legal Service office made from national conferences and will address safety issues, property conditions and a general landlord review.

Zearley said the survey should be ready and posted online within a month.

“We want this to be available by the spring so students can use it as a source of education when they go out looking for housing,” Zearley said. “By using this, students will be able to easily pick out landlords that are not good to their tenants.”

Zearley said he supports removing landlords with repeated citations from the University’s off-campus housing list.

“The plan is very realistic,” Zearley said. “It will be a non-judgmental way to get students to stop renting from those landlords.”