Minneapolis landlords suing city, Inspections Department

"A group of rental property owners filed a class-action suit Wednesday against the city of Minneapolis and its Inspections Department, alleging a pattern of discrimination against landlords by housing inspectors.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, alleges that rental property owners have been unfairly targeted under licensing and housing code polices, which often hold landlords liable for the misbehavior of their tenants.

The landlords, represented by the Minneapolis Property Owners Action Committee, allege violations of their due-process rights under the U.S. Constitution.

The suit was filed against the backdrop of a City Council debate about strengthening the 1991 rental licensing ordinary to hold landlords more accountable for drug dealing and other criminal activity on their premises.

“We have to do something; we feel we’re being driven out of business,’ said Charles Disney, executive director of the owners committee. He said that many rental property owners believe they have experienced unequal treatment by housing inspectors and that tenants often escape responsibility.

Licensing officials could not be reached for comment.

There are approximately 17,200 licensed rental buildings in Minneapolis totaling about 80,000 units.”

Star Tribune, June 8, 1995 p. 12A

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