Steve Frenz, president of The Apartment Shop, said in the last year he's kept rent rates flat at the building and implemented a new utility billing system.
Instead of the landlord covering heat and water bills, residents are billed separately based on each unit's consumption.
said it's a newer practice in Minneapolis, but he's
used it at other properties for seven years, it's legal, and it's used nationwide.
said it encourages tenants to call when they have a leak, and discourages tenants from opening their windows in winter.
"It's meant to decrease consumption of gas and water," he
"Residents have direct responsibility for these bills."
seen a 20-25 percent decrease in gas consumption as a result of the change.
"We hope to have it implemented on all our properties in the near future," he
said it's unfortunate the new billing system coincided with one of the worst winters in terms of heating he's
ever had, so bills ended up being higher than the historic benchmarks disclosed to residents.
said 3325 Nicollet has a new boiler, and some of the windows were replaced about five years ago.
"It's old, but it's not in horrible shape," he
took over the property nearly two years ago from Spiros Zorbalas, part of a sale that included 38 Minneapolis rental properties.
With the acquisition, Frenz
fixed roofs, replaced a $250,000 elevator, and inherited several hundred work orders.
"It certainly was an undertaking, but it needed to be done," he
said, noting that most of the issues involved day-to-day maintenance.
"Today is a much different day than two years ago when the properties came on board."
Frenz said he hired a bilingual staff member about four months ago who has been a "Godsend" to help communicate with Latino residents.
met with about eight tenants at the Lyndale Community Center in late September, where he
offered to waive late fees if they visited his
office and started making payments.
Two days later, two of the meeting attendees received notices to appear in court.
About 25 residents subsequently protested outside The Apartment Shop's
Whittier office on Oct. 25, speaking with Frenz
said the eviction notices were unrelated to the meeting - there is a five-day lag time between the forms' filing and when they are served, he
said, and he
didn't know who was coming to the meeting in advance.
said both of the tenants served with notices had several months of unpaid rent.
"I thought we had a good conversation," he
said there are no outstanding extermination requests at 3325 Nicollet.
said they've had a few cockroach and bedbug incidents, but said they've also met with resistance in terms of preparing for extermination.
Residents need to take out trash, empty out cupboards and clean, he
evicted two residents because they did not prepare for bedbug exterminators.
"If they continue with the infestation, it will spread to other units," he
said that occasionally tenants are afraid to make maintenance requests because they owe money on rent.
wants tenants to make requests regardless, he
"It doesn't do any good to have an apartment falling apart," he
Marcia discovered bedbugs on the sofa, and her
son is waking up with bug bites, she
hasn't called the landlord yet to address the issue, as she
could solve the problem by throwing out the couch.
recently felt something bite her
leg while sitting on the carpet.
"After the contract, all I want is to find a place that's nice," she