Marshall — A hearing on a proposed rental housing code for the City of Marshall has drawn some strong reactions from both Marshall landlords who said the proposal was too broad and supporters who called for better protections for renters. collected.
More than 30 people attended Tuesday’s hearing, and the public comment session lasted nearly an hour. Ultimately, however, members of the Marshall City Council sent the proposal back to the drawing board rather than act on it.
At the end of the hearing, council members instructed city officials to continue working on a possible rental code.
“I would like to hear more opinions from the tenant side.” Council member James Rosinski said:
The city has been talking about creating rental codes from 2021.
“We started down the path of a rental ordinance with regular inspections.” Marshall Public Works Superintendent Jason Anderson said: “After many meetings throughout 2022, we have revised the program.”
A proposed code filed last month included a requirement that all rental housing be registered with the city. Anderson said the proposal doesn’t include regular housing code inspections, but it does allow inspections if a tenant files a complaint with the city.
Under the proposed code, residential rental properties will also be required to have someone responsible for maintenance and emergency response within one hour. There were also conditions for short-term rentals, such as restrictions on street parking outside the rental property.
Residents of the Marshall region expressed their views on both sides of the issue. Some property owners, like Greg Taylor, have asked the city what exactly they are trying to address through the rental code.
“I would like to know some answers to the problems we have had in the past that cannot be addressed without this new bureaucracy and future spending.” Taylor said.
Attorney Kevin Stroup also spoke at the hearing. Stroop said he had been detained by a group of about 15 landlords who had concerns about the proposed rental code.
“Current Draft Still Has Problems” Stroop said.
Property owners had concerns about proposed registration fees, emergency response requirements, and proposals to allow inspections in the event of complaints. The proposed leasing code could lead to lawsuits by the city, which would result in more costs being passed on to renting tenants, Stroup said.
“If we don’t have a problem to solve, you are creating a problem by having this ordinance.” Stroop said. “This ordinance is not appropriate, hardly appropriate, not well thought out. City officials may think it’s a good idea. Landlords are upset.”
Other property owners also questioned the need for the proposed rental code.
“Tenants have a voice. It’s Minnesota.” said property owner Robert Arlens. “We are taking steps to protect our tenants and hold landlords and property managers accountable. I’m trying to get my head around how many officials are coming.”
Other community members who spoke at the hearing shared stories of their inability to get repairs or remove pests and mold from their Marshall rental homes.
“So many tenants I’ve spoken to in the last few weeks have pointed out that they’re having a lot of trouble with repairs, but not only are they ignorant of turning to the city, they’re legitimately afraid to do so.” It’s retaliation for coming here tonight to speak.” said Misty Butler.
Butler read a letter from a resident of the Windsong Apartments in Marshall. The letter described problems with black mold, unrepaired water leaks, and cockroaches.
Brianna Holmquist also shared her experience renting an apartment in Marshall as a college student. Her main issues she experienced included leaks, mold, cockroach damage, and lack of heat until her December.
“I came to the city in 2016 and 2017 about the issue. They told me they weren’t going to do anything because there was no ordinance that landlords had to turn on the heating.” Holmquist said. “That’s how I lived. It’s been years and it still hurts.”
“What will be done for tenants in the future? Given that the city is 44% rented, the population is over 5,000.” Sean Butler said. “Where are the tenant protections?
“I want to thank everyone who came here tonight and expressed their concerns.” Council member Craig Shaffer said: After the hearing, Schaefer said the city believes the work should continue rather than pass the proposal. “Obviously, I think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered and some things that need to be sorted out.”
Lozinski said the city should consider tenant feedback in addition to property owner feedback.
“If a tenant is afraid to speak, we need to provide them with an environment to speak.” He said.
Council members voted to end the hearing, after which they directed city officials to work further on the proposal.
On Wednesday, Marshall City Administrator Sharon Hanson said city officials will form a working group of city council representatives, property owners and tenant advocates to discuss possible solutions. City officials said they would approach the mayor and city council.
Get today’s breaking news and more in your inbox