Apartment inspections in Minneapolis by the numbers

The Star Tribune today reported that 273 buildings in the city have not been inspected for fire-code violations for at least five years. The story was spawned by last week’s tragic fire in the city in which six people died. That building had not been inspected since at least 1994.

“We need an expose from a local news station on fire inspectors. Similar to the recent videos of city workers in St. Paul. Your tax dollars NOT at work,” one commenter said on the site.

It’s an easy leap to make given the details the Star Tribune provided.

But it ignored a significant question. Are 273 uninspected buildings a lot? No. (Update: See comments section below. The answer may well be “yes”)

According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey released in 2008, there were 177,069 housing units in the city. Fifty-one percent of occupied housing units are renters. That’s 90,305 rental units in the city.

The 273 buildings that went uninspected total 1,000 units.

That means about 98.9 percent of the apartments in Minneapolis were inspected within the last five years.

  • justacoolcat

    As a rental property owner, this scares the crud out of me. We try to do everything by the book, but it’s still unnerving.

    I was at the rental last week and noticed the renters removed a co/smoke detector in the kitchen because it was “in the way” of where she wanted to put a small wine fridge.

    Ugh.

  • http://www.startribune.com James Shiffer

    Bob, the fire department only inspects multi-family housing of four units or more. There are 2,967 of those larger apartment buildings in Minneapolis. Also, those 273 buildings that have yet to be inspected have AT LEAST four units in them. We don’t know how many there are altogether. — James Shiffer, Star Tribune

  • CHS

    Just over 1% not inspected within 5 years, extremely impressive if you ask me. Bob, do you have any indication of whether or not the approximately 1% of units not inspected are in a similar inspection situation to the one that burned? Meaning, If it didn’t get inspected within 5 years, it’s likely to not have been inspected within 15-20? Or is this a story about a particular building that fell through the cracks for some strange reason, and the 1% that didn’t get inspections done within 5 years get caught sooner than later.

  • Julie McClintock

    For the past 3 or 4 years two friends of mine have been living at 5416 Beacon Hill Rd. #510 and recently black mold has been growing in the kitchen area. The apartment managers sent someone to clean it with bleach but was unsuccessful because the mold came back. The wife of the couple that resides there is highly allergic to black mold and became extremely ill. She has had to remove herself due to Dr. orders and stay with family in the state of Iowa. Her husband is also sick due to the black mold and is staying with his daughter. According to the woman, the apartment managers are not going to do anything about this matter because it would involve having to remove a section of the wall to find the black mold and they do not want to spend the money, they would rather rent it out to a couple from Russia. I do not know the names of the Managers but I am complaining on my friends behalf. If this problem with the black mold because if it is not taken care of, any other renter will become ill as well. Something needs to be done about this and not just covered up. If the managers were to spend a few days or even a week, they would become ill themselves. I will bet that the whole apartment complex has not been thoroughly inspected in a long time, especially the roof which is probably where the problem started and the current couple lives on the top floor. This is America, where are the tenents rights when it comes to living in a safe apartment.? Both of my friends are also handicapped and on low income. I believe a good thorough inspection of the apartment complex is vital to not only the current tenents but for future tenents.

  • Julie McClintock

    I appolgize for not mentioning the area in Minnesota the address 5416 Beacon Hill Rd #510 is in Minnetonka. I hope something will be done about this matter because if it is not there could be a law suit.