Columbia Heights City council revokes rental license after lengthy history of ordinance violations

By Vicki Ikeogu
Contributing Writer

With over 42 visits to the property for various complaint inspections in the past year and a half, Columbia Heights city councilmembers have revoked the rental license for the property at 1336-43 ½ Ave. NE at the Monday, Aug. 28 meeting.

“The item we are asking for revocation on is basically for failure to remove trees and stumps and little things like that which are a property maintenance code violation,” said John Larkin, Columbia Heights assistant fire chief. “But we have had a significant history with this property.”

Larkin said calls from neighbors over the property had started in 2009, but have steadily escalated within the past two years. Last year, Larkin said the fire department made 27 trips to the rental property.

So far, 2017 has had the fire department visiting the rental property 15 times.

“When we go out on a complaint inspection we not only find that the items aren’t corrected, but we find new violations,” Larkin said.

According to Anoka County’s Property Records and Taxation database, 1336-43 ½ Ave. NE is owned by Jemal A. Hassen and Ismael Omer. Neither property owner was present at the public hearing.

Several neighbors addressed the council, complaining about the disarray of the property. One neighbor stated the property was “a mess.”

Larkin said the revocation of the rental license would be used to help get the property back to “an acceptable level.”

Larkin said the property owners could be given their rental license back if they pay the up to a $1,000 fine, make all the necessary corrections and undergo a complete property inspection.

Larkin said the if the property owner receives a second rental license revocation within a five-year period, all rental licenses held by the property owner within the city of Columbia Heights would be revoked for a period of five years.

“I’m very disappointed in this,” said Mayor Donna Schmitt. “We have great people who live in this city. We have good landlords and then we have a few that just are not as good as others. Hopefully this will take care of the situation.”