Saturday, February 15, 2014

JNS BLOG EXCLUSIVE: City of Minneapolis Was Threatening To Shut Off Water At 2818 Colfax Ave. N. On Very Day Of Fatal Fire That Killed Five Children...

Wikipedia creative commons image, blog post by John Hoff

A commenter on this blog left information and my following up proved the information true and highly relevant. On Valentine's Day, February 14, the very day of a fire that claimed the lives of five children at 2818 Colfax Ave. N., the City of Minneapolis was threatening to shut off the water for an unpaid balance of $271.69.

The information can be found by...

...going to the city's online utility bill paying site and using "standard access" which requires no individual account information. Checking on 2818 Colfax Ave. N. causes the following information to appear:
You are viewing account information for 2818 COLFAX AVE N  |  Log Out

Account Summary
Welcome to WebConnect - 24/7 online access to your Minneapolis account information.
Account Number
Service Address
MINNEAPOLIS, MN  55411-0000
Account Status
Water On
Service will be shut off if not paid before  is not paid before February 14, 2014
Current Amount Due
Hide Details
ServiceCurrent ChargesPast DuePenaltyAccount Balance
Total Charges
Last Billed Amount
Due Date
February 28, 2014
Service will balanceDetails.shutoff.ifNotPaid  February 14, 2014
Last Payment
$235.15 paid February 05, 2014
GO GREEN - receive your municipal utility services bill electronically. Within the Premium Access, simply go to My Profile and Select Electronic Bill Delivery Option to sign up for paperless e-Bill today!

Everything this blog unearths about 2818 Colfax Ave. N. (click here, and here and here also here) and everything in the mass media paints a portrait of a desperate family at the mercy of unseemly and ongoing slumlord practices by Mission Inn Minnesota, one and the same with Paul Bertelson.

Somebody needs to sue Paul Bertelson, and if those lawsuit papers aren't signed from a hospital bed then it isn't happening fast enough.


Anonymous said...

Was the third floor considered a legal bedroom? Where there exits from that floor besides the stairway or were the children trapped up there with no way out? Why did the family need a space heater? How well insulated was the house? Electric baseboards are a cheap way to make each unit pay for their own heat (first floor had heat from furnace) and are generally very expensive, inefficient and unsafe if not properly maintained.

These are the questions that should be asked, not who may have been visiting the downstairs or previous inhabitants of the unit. Section 8 needs to be revamped. It has become a travesty and a waste of money.

Anonymous said...

And just to be clear, landlords are responsible for water, sewer and trash removal charges on duplex rental properties, not tenants. I don't think everyone realizes that.

Johnny Northside! said...

Well, I think the landlord is ULTIMATELY responsible, and responsible unless otherwise specified in the lease.

But, yeah, this situation tends to look like the fault of BERTELSON unless contrary facts come to light. It looks like an example of his bad and slummy landlording.

Anonymous said...

This goes beyond the pale when you say it is an example of "bad" slumlording. I call it negligent murder on behalf of our city and state governments for letting people who buy up these houses and then do not keep them up to code, rent them out through our pimp government and babies are killed.
Bring the owner to court for his day of reckoning and let the city of Minneapolis think about how far they have come in their greed and horrible negligence at these children's expense.
Searching the country over and recruiting people to our killing fields. Hodges needs to launch an investigation or let the blood and misery come down on her and her predecessor.
SLUMLORDS KILL PEOPLE WITH THE OKAY FROM BIG BROTHER.. and so do negligent leaders. Hodges, Ellison, Dayton, what are you going to do? Let the killing continue?

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth there is an error on the utility webpage. There's no way they would turn off water for a balance of $260. You can clearly see that he paid last month's bill on 2/5 and he has ZERO past due. It even says on the bottom that the due date is 2/28. That makes this guy a slumlord?

Anonymous said...

..and just to be clear, landlords are NOT responsible for water, sewer and trash just because it's a duplex. landlords are responsible for the utilities that are agreed upon in the lease. some duplexes are metered separately and tenants can pay their own. The individual units could also be submetered and each unit would have their own portion to pay. everybody is a little aspiring legal aid attorney over here huh?

Johnny Northside! said...

I don't see any error and I don't see why the City wouldn't shut off water for a past due of more than $200. The page is the page, though. If it contains any error then it would be the City of Minneapolis threatening to shut off water due to an ERROR, but...

What can I say?

The page is the page.

Anonymous said...

I can guarantee you, this duplex does not have 2 meters.

Read on:

2000 the Minnesota Legislature revised Minn. Stat. § 504B.215 (formerly § 504.185) to allow a landlord in narrowly prescribed circumstances to apportion a shared meter bill among residential tenants. Minn. Laws 2000, Chapter 268. The revision is effective August 1, 2000, but is retroactive to August 1, 1995, only for leases which already included a provision for apportioning shared meter utility charges where no judicial or administrative court had rendered a decision. The amended statute includes a new subdivision to small a, which provides the conditions under which a landlord of a singled metered residential building may apportion bills among tenants. The landlord must provide prospective tenants with notice of the total utility cost for the building for each month of the most recent calendar year. The landlord must state in writing an equitable method of apportionment and the frequency billing by the landlord. The lease must contain a provision that upon a tenant’s request, the landlord must provide a copy of the actual utility bill for the building along with each apportioned utility bill. Upon a tenant’s request, the landlord must also provide past copies of actual utility bills for any period of the tenancy for which the tenant received an apportioned utility bill for the proceeding two years or the period since the landlord acquired the building, whichever is less. The landlord and tenant may agree to use a lease term of one year or more with the option to pay bills under an annualized budget plan providing for level monthly payments based on a good faith estimate of the annual bill. By September 30 of each year, the landlord must inform tenants in writing of the possible availability of Energy Assistance, including the toll-free telephone number of the administering agency.

The reference to the covenants of habitability should make it clear that a tenant is entitled to rent abatement when the tenant is forced to pay for utility service through a single meter which does not reflect the use in the tenant's apartment. Amsler v. Wright, No. UD-1960502510 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. May 30, 1996) (Appendix 186) (landlord responsible for all utilities services which do not separately and accurately measure the tenant’s sole use of utilities); Robinson v. Schaapveld, No. UD-1951006523 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Dec 15, 1995) (Appendix 209) (utility meter which can operate as a separate meter or a shared meter cannot reliably and accurately measure usage, requiring the owner to contract with the utility for service; when one tenant pays gas service for another tenant of a separate unit, the owner is responsible for one half of the tenant’s service costs); Henderson v. Schaapveld, No. UD-1950127501 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Apr. 10, 1995) (Appendix 119), the court ordered the landlord to pay a reasonable portion of the utility bill where the tenant did not have a separate and accurate meter. Local ordinances may contain similar requirements to the new statute. See Minneapolis Code of Ordinances § 244.270 (Appendix 138); discussion, supra, at VI.E.1.d.(3).

Shared meters are common in duplex units. Even where there are meters for each unit, one meter may be covering the common areas. Washington v. Okoiye and Okoiye v. Washington, No. UD-1981029901 (Minn. Ct. Dist. Oct. 8, 1999) (Appendix 426) (compliance order in consolidated unlawful detainer and emergency relief actions: landlord violated shared meter statute where tenant's meter covered her first floor apartment and the common basement which the landlord used for an office and for personal use; $500 for violation of the shared meter statute, all of which could be credited against rent).

Anonymous said...

You've got a point. He has paid his water bill regularly though for like 2 years though.

Also, I'm so glad I've never had my name tagged in a story on your site. I must be doing something right.

Anonymous said...

The City seems to be quickly pulling all the stops in an effort to resolve itself from any suggestion that this property was not "up to Code" following the news that it had recently inspected and passed a rental license for this slumlord.

The truth is our local government is just as culpable as the psychopathic money grubbing slumlords of the murder and victimization of low income families by looking the other way while substandard conditions are blatantly apparent.

If this structure truly passed a licensing inspection, then the bar needs to be raised so that children don't live in these conditions.

Anonymous said...

Just ask Jennifer Waisanen or any other of the "crime specialists" how business works here. This is the fruit of their labors. John likes them though! :)

Anonymous said...

By law the City has to post the duplex with the notice of shutoff and this gives the owner (or the tenant) 30 days to bring any unpaid water bill current. Do your homework you idiots!

Anonymous said...

God bless slumlords without them alot of ppl would not have a place to call home! Oan #Thoughts&Prayer To The Family

Anonymous said...

God bless slumlords without them alot of ppl would not have a place to suffer.

And a special thanks to the City for keeping it this way!

Why is it that the City has one standard for people who can afford a home and another lower standard for those who profit on the poor?

Anonymous said...

There's reason why most slumlords don't live anywhere near their slums Anony. 10:25PM.

Sue Jacobson said...

I see the City of Minneapolis has changed the bill for 2811 Colfax Ave N. It says they owe 62.xx. No shutting off statements, no large bill. So where did the other bill go? Confusion.

Anonymous said...

many slumlords pay the water bill the day of shutoff notice,then put a stop payment on the check,after a few turns at that the city requires cash and they never allow the bill to go beyond 30 days.that is why some people have a bill in the thousands, their reputation shows they are good for payment.

Johnny Northside said...

Well, it's 2818 Colfax Ave. N.

Did you look up the wrong address by mistake? It's kind of ironic, because you were the one who showed me how to look up that stuff in the first place.

Sue Jacobson said...

Whoops! Wrong address.

Anonymous said...

Because Jennifer Waisanen's name has been stated here,I'm taking the opportunity to ask,if Mr. Hoff will allow it, what are our "crime prevention specialists" doing to earn the title and the paycheck? I have tried to get help from her with the criminals next door who daily terrorized my family & the experience was very negative.