Bemidji City Council discusses strike system in rental code

The Bemidji City Council discussed at length whether or not to keep the crime-free, drug-free housing-related strike system in the city’s rental code.

Some cities have done away with that system, citing that it unfairly un-houses vulnerable groups such as victims of domestic violence and people of color.

Certain crimes and disturbances at rental properties are reported to the landlords by police, but many on the rental ordinance working group who’ve been meeting this past year say it isn’t enforced uniformly.

After three strikes, a landlord is at risk of losing their rental license.

After strike two,  building inspector Ben Hein handles the complaint with the landlord.

The working group has largely involved city staff, council members and landlords, with some involvement from tenant advocacy groups.

City Attorney Al Felix summarized some of the concerns from tenants raised in the meetings.

No formal action was taken during the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, but other concerns raised were around occupancy limits, such as the number of family members in a rental are not limited in the same way as unrelated persons in a rental are, which can impact student and collegiate club housing.


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