Tenants of a South Minneapolis apartment building declared a rent strike Wednesday in efforts to force the building's landlord to make safety improvements and other repairs.
The residents at 3100 Bloomington Avenue in the Powerhorn Park neighborhood are organized by Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia, also known as United Renters for Justice, a non-profit organization working to improve housing safety and accessibility for renters in Minneapolis.
The group announced five families have agreed to withhold May rent payments from their apartment owner, real estate investor Matthew Brunnette.
During a press conference held at the apartment Wednesday, tenants said non-residents often enter the building through insecure doors, creating unsafe conditions and sometimes leaving behind clothes, feces, needles and other refuse.
Multiple renters have reported being threatened by strangers who've entered the building and one resident reported an assault, according to Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia.
Additionally, the residents allege repairs have gone unattended throughout the building and gray water has leaked into some units.
"They don't want to treat us as humans," one tenant said Wednesday. "And I'm here today to speak up and try to be heard."
Bring Me The News reached out to Brunnette and received a reply from an attorney representing 3100 Bloomington, LCC.
In a statement provided on the company's behalf, attorney Emeric Dwyer said the new apartment owners and property manager have made numerous updates and improvements to the building since acquiring the property last year.
"In the last 60 days, new concerns from residents have been brought to the property manager’s attention, and the response has been timely and direct," he wrote in an email, adding the owners have been working directly with the City of Minneapolis to ensure the property is compliant with city requirements and laws.
The property was formerly owned by landlord Stephen Frenz, who was sued by tenants over poor living conditions in 2016 and eventually lost his rental licenses and went to jail.
The case involving Frenz led to the formation of Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia.
Dwyer said the current owners of 3100 Bloomington Avenue have no affiliation with Frenz or any past owners.
"The new owners want this to be a property where people want to live," he stated. "The new owners and property managers intend to continue their discussions with residents regarding their concerns."
On Thursday afternoon, Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia said tenants had not yet heard from Brunnette following Wednesday's rent strike announcement.