Hibbing renters call on city leaders for landlord accountability

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 7:25 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - Some Hibbing renters are saying enough is enough when it comes to their living conditions.

Last week, a letter was sent to city leaders asking them to hold landlords accountable, and now some residents are speaking out.

Gina Leslie has lived in rentals her whole life in many cities and units, but she said none are as bad as what she’s experienced in her hometown of Hibbing.

“There’s a lot of things here. The windows don’t seal. The mold is a real issue. It’s from the basement all the way up,” said Leslie.

Leslie has reported all these issues, which she said have gone unaddressed by her landlord.

“I have dropped off a letter each time I dropped off my rent for the first six months of my lease saying this needs to be fixed. Minnesota state law states you need to remove this mold and make it a safe living environment,” said Leslie.

The City of Hibbing currently does not have an ordinance laying expectations for rentals, and they are not regularly inspected.

Instead, the city follows Minnesota state protocols and code standards.

According to the group Hibbing Housing Advocates, because of that, they claim some landlords allowed their properties to fall into disrepair.

“The actual appearance and pride you take in your home take a back seat because the safety issues are so extreme,” said Erin Ningen with Hibbing Housing Advocates.

Last week the group sent a letter to city leaders urging them to adopt a policy and hold landlords accountable.

Ningen said if they don’t enforce these standards now, it could keep people from calling the Iron Range home.

“The Iron Range is in a period of transition, and unless we take a look at the housing stock, we are not gonna attract new businesses,” said Ningen. “A business is not gonna locate to a place where their employees can’t find affordable and quality housing.”

Hoping to make safety, and accountability, a priority.

“I think it’s pretty clear we need to do something now before someone gets seriously hurt,” said Ningen.

According to Ningen, city leaders have responded well to the idea of a housing task force and are taking the matter up at a city level.

We also reached out to Leslie’s landlord for more on her conditions. He did not want to comment.

To read the Hibbing Housing Advocates letter, click here.

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