Student renters beware

Rental properties in S.E. Minneapolis will be inspected starting this month.

February is the start to what can often be a confusing and scary process – housing inspections. Many students are wondering if they are going to get evicted, especially those that signed leases knowing their properties are over-occupied.

For some, having to leave might be the case. But if, after inspection, students receive a notice telling them they have to move out within a matter or weeks, it doesn’t have to be the end-all-be-all.

Housing inspections are part of a citywide plan that looks to inspect all Minneapolis rental dwellings at least one time every five years. The inspection staff is now going through southeast Minneapolis. The staff starts with are properties with three or more violations in the last five months, ones that have been citied for over occupancies in the last three years, those whose landlords have unpaid license fees, those whose landlords have provisional licenses, houses that have recently been converted to rentals and ones that weren’t inspected during the sweep in 2003, for example.

Depending on the zoning in the area, many properties are not legally allowed to house more than three unrelated people, which accounts for many over occupancy issues. If inspectors find more people are living in the property than are legally allowed, they have the power to order everyone out of the house.

Students who are ordered out of their house from inspections have options. They are allowed to leave, as for whatever reason the inspectors found the situation to be unlawful is probably breaking the lease. Also, they might have the option of staying in the house with less people living there. Living in an over-occupied dwelling can have negative consequences, however, during inspection time, or if one of the tenants that isn’t on the lease wants to move out.

If students find themselves confused or kicked out of their house, there are people to help. Contact Student Legal Services for disputes with landlords or protection of rights at (612) 624-1001, City of Minneapolis Housing Inspection Service for concerns about inspections at 311, or Housing and Residential Life for on-campus housing at (612) 624-2994.