The Minneapolis City Council unanimously revoked 60 rental licenses belonging to landlord Steve Frenz on Friday, culminating a two-year saga that began when low-income tenants sued him over heating problems, vermin and bedbugs in their apartments.
He is banned from renting in Minneapolis for five years.
Frenz, who has been one of the city’s biggest landlords, can appeal the revocation to the state Court of Appeals, but the council voted to deny his request to stay enforcement while an appeal is pending.
Frenz did not respond to requests for comment.
The revocation was prompted by the discovery that Frenz and Spiros Zorbalas jointly owned his rental property. In 2011, the council voted to prohibit Zorbalas from renting apartments in Minneapolis. Frenz announced he had bought out Zorbalas, but did not disclose that he was sharing ownership with him.
Frenz announced over the summer he had sold his apartment buildings. Many were purchased on contracts for deed. The city’s regulatory services division has refused to grant the new owners rental licenses on the grounds Frenz and Zorbalas still have an interest in the properties.
Chelsea Hanvy, a Frenz tenant, said she was happy with the council decision. “There is an element of justice that has been served,” she said. But she said she was “scared” of how tenants will be impacted and has not heard from the city since it began the revocation process.
Noah Schuchman, director of the city’s Regulatory Services division, said officials will now begin the process of working with tenants “impacted by their landlord’s unwillingness to play by the rules.”
“The City of Minneapolis requires rental property owners to follow the City’s ordinances, and we hold them accountable if they do not. Mr. Frenz is no exception to this. Today’s action is the result of intentional deception by Mr. Frenz and Mr. Zorbalas.”