Renter Coalition Takes Ownership From Landlord, With City Help

A few months ago, it seemed that a large group of renters in Minneapolis would be forced from their homes as the economic effects of the pandemic hit. Now these residents will own their forms in a city-supported cooperative.

May 21, 2020, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


"Thirty-eight families in south Minneapolis will gain ownership of their five apartment buildings after spending years battling with their landlord, Stephen Frenz, who had been trying to evict them," reports Max Nesterak.

The victory goes to Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia (United Renters for Justice) after years of battling Frenz, who has a long-record of legal controversies—most ending poorly for him. 

"In 2017, Frenz was banned from holding rental licenses in Minneapolis for five years because of chronic neglect, fraud and pest infestations," according to Nesterek. "He then owned more than 60 apartment buildings in Minneapolis and faced one of the largest class-action lawsuits against a private landlord in the country." Aster settling that lawsuit for $18.5 million, Frenz served time in the county workhouse for committing perjury during that case, according to Nesterek.

The sale of the property is made possible with an interest-free loan from the city, and the blessing of Mayor Jacob Frey. "The Land Bank Twin Cities bought the five properties in the Corcoran neighborhood for $7.1 million with a loan from the city and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Twin Cities. The two entities will also provide financing to make necessary repairs to the properties," explains Nesterek. Ownership of the properties will be transferred to the residents over the next two years.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 in Minnesota Reformer

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