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Frenz said tenants bear some responsibility for the pest infestations. Sometimes he sends an exterminator into an apartment only to find that the tenants haven’t removed food from cabinets, cleaned the range or done other necessary prep work.
Frenz said the lack of Spanish-speakers in his office doesn’t present any obstacles for communication with Spanish-only tenants. Some of the maintenance workers speak Spanish, and Frenz speaks a little. “You can walk in and talk to me,” Frenz said. “I’ll understand what you’re saying.”
He sends letters to the tenants explaining what needs to be done, but the letters are only in English.
“They usually have someone who can translate it for them,” Frenz said. “They can ask their neighbors.”
Velde said language barriers are one reason why the city requires landlords to post multilingual city notices in common areas directing tenants to report problems to 311. Reporters could not find the posters in a recent walk-through of two Corcoran buildings.
Council Member Gary Schiff led the council’s effort to evict Zorbalas from the rental business and touted that fact in his now-abandoned campaign for mayor. In response to a Star Tribune inquiry, Schiff asked city staff for more information on Frenz’s record and said the city should have an online app to better track violations.
“I believe our city’s rental property records need [to be] more transparent,” Schiff said in a statement. “It’s too difficult for renters, neighborhoods and City Council members to view this data and take action.”
Eric Roper • 612-673-1732 • Twitter: @StribRoper
Alejandra Matos • 612-673-4028 • Twitter: @amatos12