Rochester landlords must learn about safety

Rochester landlords have until Oct. 31 to comply with a new city law that requires them to attend a public safety and crime training seminar.

Earlier this year, the Rochester City Council passed a controversial ordinance that requires rental property owners to take a day-long class to specialize in tenant/landlord issues, including leases, evictions, building and safety, gangs and street crime.

The next safety seminar will be held tomorrow. Landowners also have the option to complete a take-home DVD seminar and test.

If they fail to attend the class or take the test, rental property owners will lose their rental certificate and will not be able to rent their properties until they comply with the requirement, according to Darrel Hildebrandt, a crime prevention specialist with the Rochester Police Department.

Hildebrandt said many of the city’s roughly 1,000 landowners have expressed apprehension and doubt before complying with the requirement, but walk away from the training with useful information.

“I think it’s an eye-opener for a lot of people,” he said. “A lot of people are still stuck in the 60s and 70s-style of renting and we’re getting a lot of problem tenants coming in from out of state and out of city.”

Hildebrandt said the police department wants to encourage landowners to do the criminal background checks on prospective tenants, including national checks.

“We have a lot of [tenants] coming in from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and they’re bringing in all of their baggage with them,” Hildebrandt said.

To register for the class, call Hildebrandt at 507-328-6890 or email him at DVDs are also available to check for a two-week period from the Rochester Building Safety office.