Minneapolis landlord Mahmood Khan looked at the progress of an apartment that was being cleaned and repainted at 315 Buchanan St. N.E. in Minneapolis after the tennant left. Photographed on 8/3/12. (Bruce Bisping)

After years of wrangling with North Side landlord Mahmood Khan over dilapidated properties, a key city panel took its first official step Tuesday toward stripping his licenses.

The revocation, which would be the city’s largest since 2012, must be approved by the full City Council next week. But Khan intends to appeal the matter to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, likely leaving the properties – and their approximately 350 tenants – in limbo for much of this year.

Khan owns 50 properties, 42 of which are rentals. The city says they have racked up more than 3,500 violations altogether, largely since 2008.

City ordinances dictate that a landlord is ineligible to hold rental licenses for five years if two or more of their licenses have been revoked. That provision was triggered after an appeals court upheld the city’s second revocation in December 2014.

Khan’s attorney, Ed Rooney, argued Tuesday that the city’s action flies in the face of federal fair housing and civil rights laws – a position Khan has also stated in a complaint this spring to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Rooney listed off a number of shelters and non-profit organizations that he said regularly refer tenants to Khan.

“The record shows that Mr. Khan is providing a valuable service by providing affordable housing,” Rooney said. “It also shows that he is providing it to people coming out of homeless shelters, coming out of prison, people who are at the very lowest margin – the hardest people to find rentals for.”

He continued: “And if we acknowledge that we have a homelessness crisis in this community, we should be giving Mr. Khan an award for helping deal with it, rather than taking away his licenses.”

Council Member Jacob Frey noted that Khan’s properties have drawn 1,390 requests for service and more than 2,200 site visits by city staff.

“The amount of staff time, money spent and effort that has been given simply to deal with this one property owners’ parcels has been extensive, to say the least,” Frey said.