Tenants should hear test results

A new proposal would require landlords to tell tenants about more chemical testing results.

Southeast Como residents have dealt with controversy over chemical contamination since November. A new proposal would force landlords to disclose contamination results to tenants, which is vital information for residents at risk.

While there is already an ordinance in place requiring landlords to reveal this information, the ordinance doesn’t include the chemical in Southeast Como, trichloroethylene (TCE). Ward 2 City Councilman Cam Gordon introduced the proposal last week, which would give the city power to revoke an owner’s rental license if the owner does not comply with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency requests for chemical testing.

The TCE vapor contaminations have caused worry about cancer rates among some Southeast Como residents. The Minnesota Department of Health released a report last month that said cancer rates were normal in the 55414 zip code, which includes Southeast Como. However, the report noted that it did not take into account TCE specifically, and many, including Gordon, are wary of the report’s accuracy due to the neighborhood’s transitory nature.

Gordon’s proposal is best for the neighborhood because residents need testing results to know their safety risks. Due to the nature of the neighborhood, it is even more important for residents to know these results, because once they leave the neighborhood, they may not be able to know what caused their future health problems. The City Council should consider the new requirement to further communication among owners, landlords and residents.