The city won a court victory this week in its crackdown on landlord Spiros Zorbalas, who could lose his rental licenses for three properties where inspectors discovered multiple code violations and unpermitted repair work.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the City Council's decision last April to revoke the rental licenses for three Zorbalas-controlled properties: 905 W. Franklin Av., 1830 Stevens Av. S. and 3725 Cedar Av. S. Last April, I wrote about the long record of conflict over these properties, as well as Zorbalas's hiring of a new manager who fired staff, evicted bad tenants and made long-needed repairs.

The city has stood by its efforts to revoke the licenses, despite the possible evictions of dozens of tenants, as part of its continuing crackdown on negligent landlords.

Among other arguments, Zorbalas told the appeals court that the city didn't have "good cause" to revoke the licenses. But the opinion by Judge Edward J. Cleary found evidence of work conducted without city permits and health and safety violations at the properties, including a lack of heat and hot water, uncollected rubbish and debris, pest infestations and other problems.

"In sum, based on the totality of the record, we conclude that substantial evidence supports the city's determination to revoke the rental licenses for the apartment buildings at 905 Franklin Avenue, 3725 Cedar Avenue and 1830 Stevens Avenue," Cleary wrote.

It's not clear yet what the next step will be for the tenants of these properties. The revocation of these permits could affect all of Zorbalas's rental properties, which as of last April housed some 2,000 people.

Read the opinion below: