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Housing Occupancy and Advertising

In my recent search for housing for the coming academic year, I encountered a few problems with landlords. Houses were advertised for more bedrooms than they either legally had, or were zoned for. For instance, one residance was advertised as a four-bedroom though was only zoned for three un-related occupants. Another house was advertised as having four bedrooms, though clearly all were not legal bedrooms. I would like to know how often this occurs, what landlords' responsibilites are, what tenants' responsibilities are, and what are the penalties for not following through. This is newsworthy because it potentially puts people in harms way--in the event of a fire at the home, or even being evicted because your house is not zoned for that many people.

I would contact:
Minneapolis Inspections Division--they enforce the zoning and bedroom requirement ordinances
South District Supervisor Jack Allison, (612) 673-5852

Student Legal Services at the University of Minnesota--because of the large population of students living off-campus, they have extensive experience with this issue.
Bill Dane
(612) 624-1001

Sydne Westorff, Marcy Holmes Representative to the Minnesota Student Association, this person, coming from one of the neighborhoods surrounding campus, might have experience with this issue or might be able to suggest people who might
612-331-4033, westo029@umn.edu

Comments

GREAT story idea. The journalist's involvement here is important because the victims in these situations are not organized or informed, so they are not in a position to figure out the truth. They need you! Are you interested in pursuing this as your final news feature? It's surely worth! Let me know by the end of Monday. You can strategize with your T.A. and me to narrow your focus so you use your time well.

You don't have to be certain the person named would be your ultimate interviewee. Just identify someone there who you'd start with.