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Five New Proposals Submitted by Members of Minneapolis Property Rights Action Committee to the Rybak Campaign

Proposal #1 The “Second Chance” Program

Background: Many landlords in Minneapolis are sitting on vacant apartments fearful of accepting applicants with undesirable rental histories. The goal is to find ways that these landlords will accept more people from the available tenant pool so as to ease the “housing shortage.”

The Proposal:

(1) Minneapolis Property Rights Action Committee would identify 100 vacant housing units whose owners have indicated willingness to rent to undesirable tenants under the right conditions.

(2) The city of Minneapolis would identify a social-service agency, perhaps church-based, which will supervise individual tenants and make certain guarantees of good conduct to the property owner.

(a) This agency would sign the lease and guarantee rent payments including damage deposit.

(b) This agency would provide mediation and counseling services where disputes arise between landlord and tenant.

(c) It would indemnify the landlord against loss through property damage or destructive behavior by the tenant.

(d) It might offer counseling for gambling addiction, alcohol or drug problems, domestic abuse, and other personal problems to its clients.

(3) The city of Minneapolis will hold the landlord harmless under its various tenant-behavior ordinances for misconduct related to anyone enrolled in this program.

Proposal #2 The “Easy In, Easy Out” Program

(1) The Mayor of Minneapolis would lobby the Minnesota Legislature to enact a bill submitted last session which would create a fund to subside court costs in filing Unlawful Detainers and expedite removal of problem tenants accepted under the “easy in” program.

(a) The courts would allow quick removal - in three days or less - by streamlining the court calendar.

(b) The fund would pay for the $132 filing fee for seeking Unlawful Detainers.

Proposal #3 Jump-Start Housing Repairs

(1) The Mayor of Minneapolis, working with the City Council, would order the Minneapolis Community Development Agency to release 100 of its boarded-up or condemned buildings to nonprofit and for-profit developers. Half would be developed by nonprofit developers and half by for-profit developers. This would be an experiment to see how effectively the two types of developers work.

(2) The 50 properties earmarked for the private sector would be sold at auction to the highest bidder.

(a) Private-sector bidders would be required to post a performance bond to ensure that they would complete the work in a certain time to put the building back in service.

(b) City inspectors would be instructed to check the completed work orders on the basis of compliance with the Housing Maintenance code - i.e., with standards that pertain to existing buildings rather than new construction.

(c) The properties would retain the previous “grandfather” status with respect to zoning, lot-size, and bsement-size requirements.

(d) Bidders would bid on packages of four buildings and have to pay in cash. This is meant to eliminate the small, unqualified bidders.

(3) Proceeds from the private-sector auction might be used to fund new construction of affordable housing.

Proposal #4 Tenant Training

(1) The city would sponsor tenant-training courses organized and taught by landlords.

(a) Although the courses might include references to tenants’ rights, this would not be their main focus. Neither would Legal Aid be involved.

(b) The courses would acquaint tenants with the landlord’s point of view, laying out expectations and requirements.

(c) There would also be “nuts and bolts” type content: terminology, how to read a lease, basic housekeeping techniques, etc.

(2) The city might publish a training booklet.

Proposal #5 Moratorium on Demolitions

(1) The city would halt all building demolitions under the Chapter 249 ordinance for three months or until a new policy about this practice is adopted.

Prepared by Bill McGaughey in accordance with suggestions made at our 9/ 25/ 2001 meeting and amended to reflect subsequent comments.

 

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