Sept. 2-PAC: Housing Inspections

The meeting was called to order at 6:10 by Peter Radford.  We had 23 attenders.

We shuffled the agenda slightly because one of our speakers was also participating in the University District Alliance meeting at Van Cleve.

August minutes approved.   Treasurer’s report accepted.

PRECINCT REPORT: Inspector Loining  led off with his state of the precinct report which showed that while overall crime is down 9.2% from last year, sexual assault reports continue to rise, and are now up over 8%; this still may be an increase in the number of people reporting, not in the actual number of incidents.  Burglaries are down over 9%.  Last year saw 110 robbery reports, but only 101 on the books at the end of August, so that is down 8.18%.   Last week alone saw 8 robberies, but it also saw 5 arrests.  Among the arrests were two incidents in which citizens stopped a suspect and held him until officers could arrive, 1 in NE and 1 in SE. Those citizens will be nominated for citations.  While citizens are not encouraged to put themselves in danger, officers appreciate all cooperation and this was just stunning.

The Police Academy will have 54 more officers on the street by the end of the year.  With  Chief Harteau’s support, the 2nd will get its share.

An attender shared an event that prompted Inspector Loining to stress citizens who are concerned about police response should promptly call the precinct and ask to speak to a supervisor.  Jot down the facts as you see them, including time, squad number, officer’s name, nature of the concern, as much as you can.

UMPD Chief Matt Clark attended this meeting also.    Campus activities are just getting started and so far there is not much going on.  As always, they’re watching for  alcohol consumption by minors and loud parties.  He urges that if you have any questions about student conduct, you contact the UMPD. Easy to remember 62-4cops 624-2677 or https://police.umn.edu/ (Look for the Compliments or Complaints button at the top.) For emergency dispatch it’s 911, and the nearest squad car will respond.

HOUSING INSPECTIONS: Our speakers were Mike Rumppe, who leads Housing Inspections, and Ted Van Winkle who is responsible for all of SE Mpls and part of NE, as well.  Mike is in his 27th year in Inspections, and had previously worked in Fire Inspections.  He has now had one year leading Housing.  Ted has spent 9 years in Inspections, working in SE and part of NE Minneapolis.

Housing Inspections is a 65-person unit and is responsible for 33,000 rental properties in the city.  This unit is responsible for residential properties SFD to three-plexes.  For these buildings only the Housing Code Applies.   The Mpls Fire Dept does inspections for buildings with 4 or more dwelling units.

They also do exterior inspections of owner-occupied dwellings, but do not inspect the interiors.  For rental units, they are responsible for exterior AND interior.  Rental units earn their way to one of three categories:

Tier 1) Good.  65% of the properties are rated “good” and are only reinspected every 6 or 7 years.
Tier 2) Middle – 25% of all properties are not quite “good”  and need more attention.  They are inspected every 3 or4 years
Tier 3) Not-so-good.  10% of all properties; these get annual inspections.

QUESTION: Are Tier 3 reinspections done on a cost-recovery basis?  ANSWER: That’s being worked on.

QUESTION: Who handles long grass and overgrown shrubbery?  ANSWER: Report these on 311.  If there is more than one call in a year, the property goes on an “abate” list.  When they’ve mowed the lawn once, Inspections can call a contracted lawn service if violation is observed.  Three businesses have contracts with the city.  Long grass is actually the most common call.

QUESTION: We see inoperable cars on lots.  Why can’t they get pulled out.  ANSWER: We can’t always tow.  15 properties are currently being monitored.  The police get some at the curb.

QUESTION about Life Safety issues:  These always have short timelines for correction.

While Life Safety issues are only allowed a short time for correction, lower level violations are given longer timelines and those may be extended if there is evidence of effort and some progress is continually being made.  Weather may be a factor:  if an owner  is cited for house or garage needing paint in November, the time may be 6 months out.

Ted mentioned that sometimes additional social services need to be brought in, especially if owners are no longer able to care for the property themselves.

One new restriction is coming up:  In the 7-county area, there will be a restriction on how far  away a property manager can live from the properties he cares for.  This should help speed up repairs and abatement somewhat.  That doesn’t me the landlord can’t live in Winona or Phoenix, but the person responsible for fixing the plumbing will have to be closer than that.

QUESTION:  What are the rules about window well access:  Answer: The rules apply to basement bedrooms.  Someone in the bedroom must have access to the window from the inside.  The step-up can be a bed adjacent to the window or a footstool–something like that.  Once someone has exited the window, they must be able to get out of the window well  (ladder?) AND must have access to a public walk way, a street, or an alley, not find they’re in a back yard with a locked privacy fence.

LIVABILITY ISSUES:  Rentals have a long term problem with vermin, especially bedbugs.  5 years ago they had maybe 5 complaints.  Recently, they counted 500.  The problem is that bedbugs are good hitchhikers.  Heat is the best cure for bedbugs and a lot of other vermin also, but it’s very expensive.
SECTION 8:  Section 8 does its own inspections.  HUD standards are not the same as the city’s standard.

Ted emphasized that citizens should continue to call 311 for complaints.  If you live OUTSIDE the 612 area code, call 612.673.3000.  There are several inspectors for Eastside;  complaints that go through 311 (612.673.3000) will be more quickly assigned to the inspector designated for that block.

COURTWATCH:  Active cases: Cody Corbin His domestic abuse case is the lead case; he has pretrial on 9/27.  Jerome Darkow New theft from Home Depot which is a probation violation; 9/29 arraignment.  Kevin Foster: three open assaults and new property damage charge; in custody and will get a competency test later this month. Daniel Heacock: found incompetent so his felonies are suspended; re-evaluation in February 2017.  Jarid Jovanovich: In custody in Anoka County; had a hearing 2 weeks ago but info is not available.   Dae Nisell: In custody; he got out on a plea but in 2 weeks was back at the trespass property, now waiting for competency hearing.  Ryan Pilarski: bench warrant issued.  Ashley Sage: new misdemeanor, probation violationhearing on 10/31/16 and a 10/31/16 hearing for a theft in the 1st Precinct.  Jason Tucker: In custody with expected release date 11/14/16.

On probation: Osman Amin (to 06/15/17).  Michael Zaccardi (to 10/20/17

No updates:  Johnny Hall, Bryan Holmes, Curtis Laroque, Albert Moen, Michael Weston-Rose, James Zaccardi
Removed from the list:  Anthony Bilges

Added to the list:  Robert Schroeder: Trespass on Nicollet Island.  He has had 14 arrests since 2010 for livability offenses, 4 in the 2nd Precinct since 2014.

OLD BUSINESS: none
NEW BUSINESS: Our October meeting falls on Indigenous People’s Day (Columbus Day), and many city employees have the day off, including the City Attorney’s Office and some others.  We agreed we’d have our regular meeting on our regular day, Monday, October 10, and will lean a little more heavily on Deb Russell from the County Attorney’s Office to handle Courtwatch alone.
Peter Radford reminded us it’s time to start thinking about our December 24 10-hour dinner.

Adjourn: 7:34

REMINDERS:

You can find notes and announcements from previous 2-PAC meetings on our homepage:  https://courtwatch2pac.com/

You can find Second Precinct crime report summaries and maps  at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/police/statistics/index.htm

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