South Minneapolis tenants declare rent strike; allege unsafe conditions

Tenants of a south Minneapolis apartment building declared a rent strike Wednesday in an effort to force the building’s landlord to make security upgrades and other repairs.

Residents of 3100 Bloomington Avenue in the Powerhorn Park neighborhood are organized by Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia, also known as United Renters for Justice, a non-profit organization that works to improve housing safety and accessibility for tenants in Minneapolis.

The group announced that five families have agreed to withhold May rent payments from their apartment landlord, property investor Matthew Brunnette.

At a press conference at the apartment on Wednesday, tenants said non-residents often enter the building through unsecured doors, creating unsafe conditions and sometimes leaving behind clothing, feces , needles and other waste.

According to Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia, several tenants said they were threatened by strangers who entered the building and a resident reported an assault.

Additionally, residents allege unattended repairs were carried out throughout the building and gray water seeped into some units.

“They don’t want to treat us like humans,” a tenant said Wednesday. “And I’m here today to speak up and try to be heard.”

Bring Me The News contacted Brunnette and received a response from an attorney representing 3100 Bloomington, LCC.

In a statement provided on behalf of the company, attorney Emeric Dwyer said the new apartment owners and property manager have made many updates and improvements to the building since acquiring the property last year. .

“Over the past 60 days, new resident concerns have been brought to the attention of the property manager, and the response has been quick and direct,” he wrote in an email, adding that the owners were working directly with the City of Minneapolis to ensure the property complies with city requirements and laws.

The property was previously owned by landlord Stephen Frenz, who was sued by tenants for poor living conditions in 2016 and eventually lost his rental licenses and went to jail.

The case involving Frenz led to the formation of Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia.

Dwyer said the current owners of 3100 Bloomington Avenue have no affiliation with Frenz or previous owners.

“The new owners want this to be a property where people want to live,” he said. “The new property owners and managers intend to continue discussions with residents regarding their concerns.”

On Thursday afternoon, Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia said tenants had yet to hear from Brunnette after news broke of Wednesday’s rent strike.

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