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Morris City Council revokes four rental licenses

MORRIS, Minn. - The Morris City Council voted unanimously Monday to revoke the rental licenses for four properties that have not met the requirements of the city’s Rental Housing Program.  

The properties are at 702 Imperial Drive, owners Roger and Elizabeth Anda; 400 West 7th Street, owner Jamie Swenson; and two properties owned by Timothy Bartram and Ursula Mentjes at 16 East 2nd Street and 103 East 7th Street.

City Manager Blaine Hill explained that the city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority administers the Rental Licensing Program and has a process for notifying landlords when their properties have not passed inspection.  

If a landlord does not respond to that letter, the city manager then sends a letter to let them know that they are out of compliance and that their rental license may be revoked.  Hill said the city council is asked to take action only after there is no response to either letter.  Hill said the original letter went out in October.

Hill explained that all landlords receive an inspection report noting any items that are out of compliance.   According to Hill, the issues for these properties were mostly minor, such as smoke or carbon monoxide dectors, the railing for a deck, or electrical outlets.

Hill reported that one of the owners recently contacted him regarding the notice, but as of Monday morning, the issues with the property had not been resolved.   

Councilmember Brian Solvie asked if the landlords technically were able to rent out these properties if their license is revoked.

Hill said that the next step is to notify the owners that their license has been revoked and they will need to go through the process to get it reinstated. The renters living in these properties are a whole different issue, Hill commented.  

In the meantime, Hill said that if the rental license is revoked, the landlords shouldn’t be collecting rent.  

City Attorney Aaron Jordan added that if the issues are not resolved, eventually the renters may have to move out.  

Hill noted that even though the city has many rental properties, there are only a handful that ever get to this step and he hopes that this prompts the owners to get things taken care of.  

Other business

• Hill reported that he has visited with Riley Bros. Properties, INH Companies and with the city’s bond consultant and he believes that they will have a purchase agreement for the Council to approve by their February meeting.

• The Planning Commission is continuing to work on developing a new zoning district for East 7th Street.