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Minneapolis council members want to give tenants the chance to purchase rental properties

Minneapolis City Council
MinnPost photo by Jessica Lee
Minneapolis City Council members believe the policy could be key in addressing racial disparities in homeownership.

As part of Minneapolis’ efforts to create and maintain affordable housing, a group of city council members are developing a proposal that would require landlords who want to sell rental homes to give tenants an opportunity to buy the property. 

The plan would require property owners who want to sell or tear down properties to put their renters first in line for buying the buildings cooperatively. If renters express interest, they would be able to solicit the help of the city of Minneapolis or a housing nonprofit to finance the purchase. Under the concept, the city would also provide the tenants with technical assistance such as help filing loan applications or preparing legal documents to see the transaction go through.

“Our housing market is really well suited to this because we have so many single-family homes as the rental stock,” said Council Member Steve Fletcher, whose Ward 3 includes downtown and the Marcy-Holmes area and who is co-authoring the proposal. “We have a lot of property that could fit this model very well and good, and it could be fairly easy to finance for low-income families that haven’t had access to ownership.”

The group behind the idea — Fletcher, Jeremy Schroeder (Ward 11), Cam Gordon (Ward 2), and Jeremiah Ellison (Ward 5) — is modeling the concept after D.C.’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, or TOPA, which the district’s council enacted more than three decades ago. 


Under the act, the district helps interested tenants match bonafide offers for properties, or considers buying the properties for public use. Gordon said the Minneapolis council members are considering that latter option, too. “Even if it’s just to slow the timeline and give us enough time for the tenant to purchase or for us to sell it to somebody else,” he said.

D.C.’s guidelines only apply to tenants of multi-family homes; they can buy properties and convert them into condominiums or cooperatives or establish development contracts with a third party. Renters of duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes can join together to purchase their homes, or individual tenants can pursue a sale. For larger apartment complexes, the law requires tenants to organize with an official tenant-advocacy association (such as Minneapolis’ Inquilinxs Unidxs) that can represent them in the buying process.

Council Member Steve Fletcher
Council Member Steve Fletcher
The Minneapolis plan aims to build upon a 2019 policy that requires owners of affordable rental housing to give tenants written notice of the landlords’ intent to sell, as well as new renter protections and zoning rules that aim to boost the city’s stock of affordable housing, say the council members behind the proposal. They have been exploring the tenant-purchasing concept for more than a year.

“It’s a preservation strategy, and it’s a pathway to ownership,” said Fletcher.

Currently, the group is finalizing a request for proposals from third-party consultants who would research real-estate trends and housing data to determine recommendations for the plan. The yet-to-be-named consultant will take on a similar role as Grounded Solutions Network, a Portland-based housing nonprofit, has played in Minneapolis’ efforts around inclusionary zoning: rules that require housing developers to dedicate a percentage of big multifamily complexes to low-income households. 

The council members are hoping to select the contractor before the end of the year. They anticipate getting policy recommendations from the consultant next spring and are aiming to host a public hearing on a draft ordinance in summer 2020.

A way to address home ownership disparities

The work on the new rule comes as residents of five buildings owned by the former landlord Stephen Frenz push for a collective property purchase. The apartment complexes, which are located in Minneapolis’ Corcoran neighborhood, are among the last in Frenz’s portfolio after the city took away his rental license in 2017, as tenants complained of poor building conditions and fraud


Gordon said Frenz is denying any buying offers from the tenants. (A jury convicted Frenz of perjury last month, and he is scheduled to be sentenced to up to five years in prison and-or pay a $10,000 fine in December.)

“We’ve all heard different versions of tenants asking for a tool like this, especially in cases where maybe the relationship between the tenant and their landlord has become hostile,” Council Member Ellison said.

Council Member Jeremiah Ellison
Council Member Jeremiah Ellison
Council members believe the policy could also be key to addressing Minneapolis’ racial disparities in homeownership; almost three-fourths of white residents own their homes in Minneapolis, according to census data, compared with 25 percent of black residents — the worst disparity in the country among cities with significant black populations, Urban Institute researchers found.

“There’s a big gap racially on homeownership in the city, and it’s not really closing very quickly,” Gordon said. “But this could really help with that in terms of people building some wealth and getting some assets.” 

Not anticipating intense pushback 

In initial discussions about the tenant-purchasing proposal, the group of council members faced skepticism from some colleagues, council staff and residents over the concept’s feasibility, Fletcher said. 

But then, in September, Minneapolis leaders and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) — a national nonprofit that provides gap funding for property deals — invited housing staff and renter advocates from the nation’s capital to explain the district’s TOPA, and that study session eased some skeptics’ worries, Fletcher said. “That overcame a lot of people’s concerns and got people much more moving together … and feeling like this is going to be a good thing,” he said. 

The council has sparked controversy with its approach to housing policy this year. While council members tout a menu of new guidelines to boost residents’ accessibility, some landlords and private developers have criticized council members’ actions.

This fall, for example, the Minnesota Multi Housing Association (MHA), which advocates on behalf of some 1,900 property owners, campaigned against ordinances that established limits for security deposits and changed how landlords can screen prospective tenants. The council finalized the rules in September. 


Meanwhile, a group of developers organized a campaign, “Building Minneapolis Together,” to push back against inclusionary zoning. They say the added cost of mandatory affordable units will keep investors from building in Minneapolis, further exacerbating the city’s housing crunch and eventually depleting the supply of affordable housing altogether. (The council is set to vote on a permanent inclusionary zoning policy next month.)

Council members said they are not expecting the same level of pushback on the tenant-purchasing proposal. Fletcher said he talked with representatives of MHA early in the brainstorming process, and some landlords have given feedback on the policy’s timeline and scope. “In general, I think they’re less concerned about this [than other policies] because, I mean, at the end of the day, they still get their money — if they want to sell, they can sell,” he said. “We’re not hearing the same kind of resistance so far.”

Comments (65)

  1. Submitted by Alex Schieferdecker on 11/25/2019 - 11:56 am.

    I’m curious if this will be a roadblock for site acquisition. For instance, if a developer wants to purchase some rental homes, combine their parcels, and create an apartment building, would the current owners first have to offer the homes to their current tenants? If so, how long would that process take? Would they be required to accept a lower offer from their tenants?

    Not opposed to this policy, just interested in more details for how it would work!

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/25/2019 - 02:04 pm.

      I think that’s the proposal. If a landlord wants to sell the rented property, they have to offer it first to the tenant(s). The landlord negotiates the price with the potential buyers, just as would happen in any ordinary transaction. There would be no requirement that a lower offer from tenants be accepted.

      Since the proposal is just in the proposal stage, the timeline isn’t there yet.

      • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 11/25/2019 - 06:58 pm.

        RB,

        Are you speaking with authority, or are you guessing at this? Are you associated with the Minneapolis City Council; are you an attorney and if so, have you read briefs on this matter.

        I enjoy much of what you write, and you write authoritatively, but if you are not directly in the loop and qualified to provide the sort of counsel required as on who is involved in this process, you should make your authority, or lack of authority, known when you write.

        • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 11/25/2019 - 07:23 pm.

          RB,

          My curiosity is based on my interest in both real estate and having had fairly good relations with city council members in my ward for many years until the current city council member came in. He is not part of the move to develop the language needed to allow renters a first shot at buying property that is up for sale. My other reason for asking is that my dad, for four decades, was a municipal, corporate and real estate law attorney; and I am aware of laws which limit a person’s ability to provide counsel when they are not licensed attorneys, and certainly those who do not practice in the field for which they are advising. My comment is not to discredit you, but to determine your comment’s relevancy.

          I wish you well, and look forward to reading more of your frequent posts.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/26/2019 - 08:57 am.

          I’m basing it on the article, some other posts (especially about the DC law), and a working knowledge of real property law. I’m not connected with the City Council.

          • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 11/28/2019 - 05:59 am.

            Thanks RB. Please indicate that you are not an attorney or affiliated with a group when you offer your opinions, if your offering is as well stated as you typically make them.

            I often write about things that I know about, as they happen in history, and as based on minor research I have done, as seen in the following link; I hope I make an effort to indicate that I am not an attorney or PhD, but like you, when I get going, I have a tough time stopping to make things short, or to indicate my lack of status in a certain niche. Here is the link from a recent MinnPost article. I wrote nearly an entire page:

            https://www.minnpost.com/foreign-concept/2019/11/one-question-the-impeachment-inquiry-probably-isnt-going-to-answer-what-is-it-with-trump-and-russia-anyway/?utm_source=MinnPost+e-mail+newsletters&utm_campaign=f680e537db-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_11_18_04_10&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3631302e9c-f680e537db-123791745

            As the son of an attorney, who is not an attorney, I have, like you, developed a great vocabulary and a somewhat authoritative voice when I write — despite the fact that I sometimes think I am flaky and write too much in these posts of mine.

            I believe that it is illegal to present legal information to someone, even if you know you’re not an attorney, if people believe you may have legal information or work for the City or another organization, and if others may think of you as an attorney, without stating that you are not an attorney (lawyers and judges, please correct me; I am writing at nearly 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and I’ve been awake since 1 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving, thanks if you do correct me). I may be wrong.

            RB, I greatly enjoy your posts. They are really “together” and interesting.

            Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, friends and colleagues or co-workers!

  2. Submitted by joe smith on 11/25/2019 - 12:28 pm.

    Interesting? Who sets the price for first bid? Are the 300 renters going to form a corporation? What happens when 75 renters are not in with buying their complex, are they thrown out? When does the “City” get involved?
    Buying and selling large rental buildings are more complex than a group of renters wanting to buy the building in which they live.
    I wonder how many on the council have owned or run a rental property?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/25/2019 - 02:11 pm.

      “Interesting? Who sets the price for first bid?”

      The seller. Did you not read the article?

      “Are the 300 renters going to form a corporation?”

      What 300 renters? If there were that many in one development, I suppose they could form a corporation.

      Incidentally, even a cursory glance at the article would have seen the reference to the fact that a lot of the rental stock in Minneapolis is single-family homes.

      “What happens when 75 renters are not in with buying their complex, are they thrown out?”

      That depends on their individual leases. That’s basic real estate law.

      “Buying and selling large rental buildings are more complex than a group of renters wanting to buy the building in which they live.”

      Oddly enough, the DC law the proposal is modeled after seems to be working.

      I know this is a proposal by Minneapolis, so is therefore suspect for all real Americans, but the proposal is still in the very basic drafting stage. Details remain to be worked out.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 11/26/2019 - 05:27 am.

        Basic real estate law doesn’t have a City Council making laws! Try forming a 300 individuals into a corporation.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/26/2019 - 09:01 am.

          Those are two different matters.

          The City Council cannot change the basic real estate law that says a tenant’s right on the sale of the premises is governed by the lease. Absent anything in the lease to the contrary, conveyances are usually made subject to the rights of existing tenants.

          Organize 300 people into a corporation? It can be done. How many shareholders does JPMorgan Chase have? In any event, I doubt the ordinance would be invoked for 300 tenant complexes very often.

  3. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/25/2019 - 02:15 pm.

    One would hope that the council would use the history of DC’s TOPA law to make sure the excesses that happened there are not repeated here.

    In particular, tenants selling their ability to transfer their right to first refusal to others in exchange for money. Tenants have used that ability to hold landlords hostage, dragging out real estate transactions for months or until the landlord agrees to buy out their rights.

    This was especially hard on owners of single family residences, until the DC council exempted them.

    We would also hope the Mpls council takes note of the fact that as with so many government interventions, TOPA hasn’t really helped anyone. Unfortunately, given the cast of characters we’re talking about here, confidence is not high.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/why-a-law-meant-to-protect-the-poor-from-gentrification-doesnt-really-work/2016/02/06/2a26f818-cc40-11e5-88ff-e2d1b4289c2f_story.html

  4. Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/25/2019 - 03:20 pm.

    I can’t imagine this actually gets used very often.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/25/2019 - 10:19 pm.

      I read up on this and it does get used only because the system has been totally corrupted. Tenants don’t by the properties, but instead assign their right to buy in order to legally extort money out of the owners.

      DC recently scaled back the law to exclude most single family homes.

    • Submitted by Terry Small on 11/26/2019 - 05:18 pm.

      lt’s currently used to hold the transaction hostage and delay the sale up to 210 days in DC. People use it in most cases to try to sell or assign their rights to a 3rd party.

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/25/2019 - 03:43 pm.

    Optimists. Give owners a chance to think about it and resistance will surface. Why? Longer sale time, possibly higher costs for the seller, possible opposition from real estate agents and brokers, etc.

    Council members said they are not expecting the same level of pushback on the tenant-purchasing proposal. Fletcher said he talked with representatives of MHA early in the brainstorming process, and some landlords have given feedback on the policy’s timeline and scope. “In general, I think they’re less concerned about this [than other policies] because, I mean, at the end of the day, they still get their money — if they want to sell, they can sell,” he said. “We’re not hearing the same kind of resistance so far.”

  6. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/25/2019 - 05:06 pm.

    A piece on the D.C. law

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/dc-council-should-clarify-tenant-opportunity-to-purchase-act-provision/2016/02/25/fa217f80-d4d2-11e5-9823-02b905009f99_story.html

  7. Submitted by Peter Mason on 11/25/2019 - 07:19 pm.

    TOPA “basically gives the renters the first right to buy the place they live once it goes up for sale. But the News4 I-team found even when tenants don’t want to, or can’t afford to buy it, they can rake in big bucks by selling those rights to the highest bidder.”

    https://www.nbcwashington.com/investigations/Some-DC-Renters-Make-Tens-of-Thousands-of-Dollars-Exploiting-Decades-Old-Law-421942054.html

  8. Submitted by Peter Mason on 11/25/2019 - 07:22 pm.

    DC amended its TOPA to specifically exclude single family homes.

    “One of the main reasons TOPA was recently amended is that many tenants were assigning TOPA rights for lots of money, much to the disadvantage of the landlord. And often landlords were literally held hostage by tenants demanding money to release their TOPA rights.”

    Assignability is the big thing to make sure Minneapolis does not allow … if this come about.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/how-dcs-revised-tenant-law-affects-renters-in-single-family-homes/2018/08/31/1ab0914a-a00b-11e8-83d2-70203b8d7b44_story.html

  9. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/26/2019 - 09:14 am.

    I would think provisions can be made to insure that the actual tenants are buying the property rather than some investor they’ve sold the rights to. Since the entire project relies on assistance from the city it shouldn’t be difficult to monitor the paper trail and keep track of who’s names are it. I would imagine a simple prohibition against transferring or selling the “rights” would be easy to monitor and enforce.

    I do see the potential for corruption that Pat Terry points to here, but one problem with comparing a program in a different to city to one proposed here is the differences in political climates. DC after all is a unique political entity will all kinds of weird features.

    I’m a little puzzled by the claim that intense push-back is NOT anticipated… I would expect incredibly intense push-back from landlords. After all, I wouldn’t expect tenants to out-bid developers or investors.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/26/2019 - 09:39 am.

      If the tenants don’t outbid other buyers, they don’t get to buy the property. The landlord still gets to sell the property for an agreed-upon price, so there really isn’t any financial disadvantage to them.

      • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/26/2019 - 10:01 am.

        “…so there really isn’t any financial disadvantage to them.”

        That might be true if these were conducted as straight up, legit transactions but in DC they have mostly been used as a form of legal extortion; pay up, or we’ll drag this thing out for months.

        In real estate, time is of the essence financially, which is why underwriting documents are time sensitive.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/26/2019 - 11:12 am.

          So prohibit the practice that allows it. Amazing how hindsight can be used to improve future outcomes.

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/26/2019 - 12:14 pm.

            Using hindsight would mean not even considering doing something like this.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/26/2019 - 10:53 pm.

              No, that would be paranoia, that because something bad happened somewhere, bad things MUST happen everywhere, no matter what precautions are put in place to prevent it. As I see it the intent here is to prevent a one group, (property owning landlords), with one set of interests (maximizing profit with no regard to the circumstances of their tenants), from exploiting another group (tenants), with another set of interests (not having their home sold out from under them with little notice or recourse). Additionally, the city has an interest in seeing that previously affordable housing isn’t converted into ever burgeoning “luxury” units further concentrating vulnerable populations into an ever shrinking supply of housing they can afford. If you’ve got a better way to address these problems, we’re all ears. Status quo clearly isn’t cutting it.

              • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/27/2019 - 08:26 am.

                “If you’ve got a better way to address these problems, we’re all ears.”

                It’s not rocket science, sir. Stay in school; do not have children out of wedlock; stay away from recreational drugs and do not abuse alcohol. Do those 4 things and you reduce your chances of becoming a ward of the state by 100%.

              • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/27/2019 - 09:48 am.

                The status quo for years has been to restrict the growth of housing. Until that ends (things like the 2040 plan help) and significantly more housing is added, you won’t be able to fix the affordable housing problem. Fake solutions like this and rent control (which actually decreases available affordable housing) won’t fix the underlying supply and demand problem.

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/27/2019 - 11:31 am.

                  So in other words, tell the people affected NOW, shut up and wait, sorry about your luck? Sorry, not good enough. If you have something that doesn’t require another generation to get done, let’s have it, otherwise be prepared for others, who don’t share your apparent patience with others misfortune, to enact that which will assist people TODAY.

                  • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/29/2019 - 09:34 pm.

                    What are you talking about? No one is getting assisted by this. Some people are able to extort some money, but no one is actually buying these places.

                • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/27/2019 - 06:00 pm.

                  The status quo has been to restrict housing? That’s a ridiculous statement on the face of if. We’ve had a nation-wide building boom on and off again for almost two decades.

                  The fact that we have building codes and zoning regulations does not make a anti-development status quo. The fact developers and builders don’t always get to build what they want to build wherever they want to build it, doesn’t mean building housing isn’t being built.

                  • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/29/2019 - 09:22 pm.

                    No, its absolutely the truth. Housing construction in Minneapolis has been artificially constrained by zoning laws, among other things. That’s a big reason the 2040 plan was passed.

                    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/30/2019 - 08:31 am.

                      Dude, those aren’t “artificial” constraints, they’re lawfully enacted regulations that represent constituencies and community interests. You’re faith in “free” markets is impressive but wherever developers are allowed to build whatever they want wherever they want, they don’t build perfect communities.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/26/2019 - 11:29 am.

        That’s not what has happened in DC. Tenants with no intention of actually buying the properties can still gum up the works and extort money from the sellers.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/26/2019 - 11:43 am.

          An easy fix to the law would seem to take care of that problem.

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/26/2019 - 12:18 pm.

            Actually, no. Its not just the assignment that is a problem. The process can delay a sale for months and even years, and tenants can proceed even with bogus financing. There are law firms that specialize in exploiting this.

            It would be a terrible idea for Minneapolis to adopt this.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/26/2019 - 10:55 pm.

              God forbid slumlords have to WAIT before cashing in their ill-gotten gains…the horror.

              • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/27/2019 - 09:39 am.

                Is every landlord a slumlord? The problem with a law like this is that it doesn’t distinguish between the good and the bad. The DC law got amended to exude single family homes because three sleazy renters were hurting normal people, not just big corporations.

                And a long delay can prevent a sale. If you have to wait a year while someone pretends to want to buy your property, it costs a lot of money. So they just pay people off instead, which is what the renters want.

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/27/2019 - 11:33 am.

                  All? Of course not, but a good number. Are all renter’s “sleazy”? The knife cuts in both directions of course.

                  • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/29/2019 - 09:24 pm.

                    Every single renter who used this to extort money but had no intention of actually buying the property is sleazy. Every songlr one.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/27/2019 - 08:59 am.

          Again, whatever happened in DC may provide lessons learned in terms of designing a more effective system here, but whatever happened in DC doesn’t prove that the policy can’t work here.

      • Submitted by Terry Small on 11/26/2019 - 05:21 pm.

        Currently a seller can close on a sale in about 30 days. With this type of legislation, it could be much much longer. Is the city going to compensate the seller when this unqualified buyer drops out?

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/27/2019 - 09:01 am.

          Terry, real estate sales fall through all the time. There are no guarantee’s in life. You want to sell? You pay your money and take chances like everyone else.

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/27/2019 - 09:40 am.

            The chances are significantly less when a buyer makes an offer with the financing in place ahead of time.

          • Submitted by Terry Small on 11/27/2019 - 11:29 am.

            We are most likely talking about people that are not even pre qualified. I guess I’ll have to perpetually put my properties up for sale and back off if I don’t want to deal with those scenarios as I’ll have no obligation to complete any sale just like they’ll have financing outs to not complete a sale. Think of how much that would tie up resources just like they’d be tying up my resources. I’m guessing the city is going to have to set a clearing house to track and monitor all of these including staff to advice, guide, “fund” some of the people trying to qualify for a loan- this will be a lot of resources the city will have to commit

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/27/2019 - 06:03 pm.

              Yes, we know you guys don’t want to deal with this scenario… that why it needs to be an imposed requirement.

      • Submitted by Thom Roethke on 12/02/2019 - 01:56 pm.

        But there must be, otherwise the law wouldn’t be necessary. When a property is listed for sale nothing is stopping the current tenants from bidding on the property themselves. To a landlord who cares only about money, the winning bid is the winning bid. Why is a law necessary to achieve an outcome that proponents of the law already insist is the inevitable outcome? Clearly the law must be financially disadvantageous to the landlord.

    • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/26/2019 - 09:57 am.

      “I do see the potential for corruption that Pat Terry points to here, but one problem with comparing a program in a different to city to one proposed here is the differences in political climates. DC after all is a unique political entity will all kinds of weird features.”

      Sir, they are both one party towns, completely dominated by far left Democrats. Unless and until one of them doffs their cloak and declares itself a Socialist junta, they’re marching to the same tune.

  10. Submitted by Gerald Abrahamson on 11/26/2019 - 12:56 pm.

    I see the intent behind the law, but am not sure it is viable unless abuses are not allowed. For example, only a lessee can be the buyer (or a 501(c)(3) business in which the lessee(s) are stakeholders or members (could be a co-op, for example)). That kills much abuse immediately (lessees can’t sell the right to buy–and non-lessees can not buy what is not allowed to be sold). Real issues will be about affordability (if lessees buy) and likely slowing of real estate growth as far fewer rental properties can be built within the city (no land on which to build) AND the number of available rental properties goes down. What does get built will be far more expensive to rent–or they will be built with the intent of selling as condos, thus eliminating lessees entirely. Be fun to see how a lessee of a condo would be covered if the condo owner decided to sell. Then there is the issue of commercial properties. Corporations are people too–remember (LOL !!)? Don’t they have equal rights? Or not? After all, they ARE lessees in many cases, so how to handle THAT?

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/27/2019 - 09:11 am.

      It’s important to note that single policies like this are not intended to control prices or provide/maintain affordable housing on their own. You can’t evaluate proposals like this in isolation. You have to enact a package of policies.

      Listen, landlords, builders, sellers, realtors, etc. are basically claiming that affordable housing puts them out of business. That’s a false claim. In business you make what you make, you don’t always get to make what you want to make, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a decent living.

      • Submitted by Terry Small on 11/27/2019 - 11:38 am.

        Yea, but the city doesn’t build anything and neither do housing advocates who like to talk in theory. If you make it so cumbersome/tough, we all can do other projects and those same politicians will wonder how come we don’t have the housing? You get there are other things we can build and other places (suburbs) other than MPLS, right?

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/27/2019 - 05:23 pm.

          Then others will replace you. See how that works? It’s almost as if developers and landlord feel as though the city and tenants should be thanking them for the privilege of THEIR making a killing.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/28/2019 - 09:21 am.

            Yeah, these talk like no one is building while we’re in the middle of building boom? Or like they’ll all go build in Hinckley or St. Cloud instead of MPLS.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/27/2019 - 06:37 pm.

          Oh Please, the problem isn’t a housing shortage, the problem is housing that’s too expensive. No one is searching for new apartment complexes, they’re all over the place. Builders build where people buy, and people are buying in MPLS and St. Paul.

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 12/02/2019 - 10:56 am.

            The reason its too expensive is that there isn’t enough housing.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 12/02/2019 - 12:53 pm.

              So just to be clear, your expectation is that the people who profit from the current price of housing are going to voluntarily build enough housing that their profit margin goes away? That’s your plan?

  11. Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 11/27/2019 - 03:12 pm.

    I realize I am late to the table with a comment on this 11/25 article, but please take note that DC is not the only model for a right of first refusal law. Minnesota has had one for 30+ years, for foreclosed agricultural property:

    https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/500.245

    That law specifically provides that the right “not be assigned or transferred except [for a certain type of waiver], but may be inherited.”

    Lenders are not overly fond of the law, but it was a response to another pervasive problem, the perpetual farm crisis, and I have not heard anything about corruption or extortion related to it.

  12. Submitted by Joe Musich on 11/27/2019 - 07:37 pm.

    So rent to own ? Building owners could also allow tenants to fully maintain the living space rented against rent expense as some do. A plumber is needed the renter gets someone or does it themselves. Building will be better maintained if renters are giving a greater stake in the property. There are many ways that could be done. It is the path we are allowed to the home we have lived since 1973. The owners were benevolent people.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/29/2019 - 09:35 am.

    I guess it’s kind of simple on a basic level. Whatever policies we adopt, we can always assume that none of the industry players will voluntarily do what they need to do to bring prices down. No one in a capitalist economy tries to restrains their profits or revenue so the idea that the “market” will bring prices down on it’s own is simply incoherent. Sure, when markets crash prices can drop for a while, but then everyone want prices to “recover”, not level out at affordable levels. You may note that the Great Recession did not solve our affordable housing crises.

    Whether you’re talking about coal mines, or 737 Max’s, or Twin Cities housing, industry always denounce anything that affects their revenue or profits. And they typically “warn” us that whatever we’re thinking about doing to put them out of business or drive them away. This is predictable.

  14. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 11/29/2019 - 11:09 am.

    Seems to me that if any of these government interventions worked, they would have worked in San Francisco, Seattle, LA, Boston and New York, all if which are under complete Democrat control, all of which have tried all these schemes and all of which failed miserably.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/30/2019 - 05:08 pm.

      Ah yes the miserable failures whose problems are caused by the fact that TOO MANY people are clamoring to live there, ya know, as opposed to conservative backwaters, all over the country, that cannot even convince their own children to stick around. But yeah, they’re just disastrous.

      • Submitted by lisa miller on 12/01/2019 - 09:13 am.

        Some of it has to do with increased jobs. So why not have larger businesses bear the cost? The above is a plan that may work in some small instances. The downfall is that builders than up the rent or mortgage to subsidize any losses they take on other units, again making it difficult for the working and middle class. I go back to a good minimum wage and good schools in every neighborhood to help people be stable. It is true in MN regulations add to the cost, and no not every regulation should be tossed. And why not adjust some requirements so that smaller homes can be built like in some pocket communities that have small homes arranged to encourage community.

      • Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 12/02/2019 - 06:16 am.

        You obviously don’t see it, but you’re supporting my argument, sir.

        Pie in the sky, lefty government interventions have never solved the problem of too many people wanting too few resources.

        Thank you for your support.

  15. Submitted by Joe Musich on 11/29/2019 - 07:56 pm.

    Interesting background discussion on the bigger picture regarding housing and ownership issues covered at with Aaron Glantz author of Homewreckers …Here is the link ….https://whyy.org/episodes/predatory-lending-redlining-gentrification-and-the-american-homeowner-2/?fbclid=IwAR1IGZoTMEhlBWKpnHtgtV_Yav14ESYQlr31a-NVAVXIrsNDdLjVvzlrQ1o

  16. Submitted by Kathleen Harriman on 12/01/2019 - 10:08 pm.

    I hope Minneapolis thinks about this very carefully. I live in Richmond CA and the city council there recently tried to enact a TOPA ordinance. Many people opposed it and the ordinance is no longer being pursued. Others have posted about the problems that occurred in Washington DC.

    https://richmondstandard.com/richmond/2019/11/20/richmond-council-quits-quest-for-topa-ordinance/

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