More details are emerging about landlord Paul Bertelson, the owner of a house where five children died in a fire last month.
The father of the children, Troy Lewis, said broken radiators led him to use a space heater and the oven to keep the duplex warm.
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Bertelson says Lewis never raised any concerns about the heat.
"We monthly are going around to our units and checking in, and I had no conversation with him in his tenancy about baseboard heaters not working," Bertelson said.
Bertelson, whose company owns about 20 rental properties in Minneapolis, says a licensed electrician installed the heaters in 2009. A city inspection last year found no problems with the apartment's heating system.
On The Daily Circuit, we discuss what a city can do to make sure landlords are keeping their properties safe and in good repair.
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LEARN MORE ABOUT RENTING, LANDLORDS:
• HOME Line
Provides free and low-cost legal, organizing, education, and advocacy services so that tenants throughout Minnesota can solve their own rental housing problems.
• Legal help
In Hennepin County, Legal Aid (612-334-5970) provides free legal advice and representation to low-income tenants facing eviction and repair problems. In Ramsey and Washington Counties, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (651-222-4731) provides free legal advice and representation to low-income tenants with those problems. Tenants in those and other counties can also find information on a variety of legal matters at www.lawhelpmn.org.
• 12 Must-Know Tips Before Becoming A Landlord (Forbes)
• Foes of Urban Blight Take Aim at Landlords
A Baltimore woman's five-year campaign to pressure landlords to repair blighted buildings has attracted fans and imitators in other cities, the ire of some property owners, and now for the first time, a pair of lawsuits. (Wall Street Journal)
• Magner v. Gallagher
Magner v. Gallagher addresses the question of whether the FHA's ban on racial discrimination can be violated by someone who does not actually engage in racial discrimination: Owners of rental properties in St. Paul, Minnesota brought this suit claiming that the city's enforcement of its housing code — ensuring that rental units were safe and otherwise habitable — violated the FHA because the repairs and maintenance necessary to comply with the code would increase rents and price out many of their African-American tenants. (Cato Institute)