United Against Evictions

Four years ago, residents in several properties began organizing with InquilinXs and UnidXs por Justica (United Renters for Justice) for repairs and better living conditions in the buildings they live in. The buildings — owned by Stephen Frenz of The Apartment Shop — are currently being rented illegally because Mr. Frenz’s license to operate rental properties was revoked by the city of Minneapolis one year ago. Mr. Frenz held onto five buildings in the Corcoran neighborhood, where renters are now facing eviction from their homes as a result of their landlords poor business practices.

In order to protect their housing, the residents have been organizing over the past year to secure funding in order to purchase the buildings they live in and operate them as a housing cooperative. Tennants made an offer of $4.75 million for the property, which Mr. Frenz has refused. The buildings last sold for $7 million, and it was suggested that Mr. Frenz was seeking more money.

At a press conference today in front of the Hennepin County Jail in Minneapolis, residents spoke to their goals as Mr. Frenz faced a court hearing inside on perjury. Chloe Jackson, a leader from one of the five Corcoran buildings, spoke at the press conference addressing a need for justice. Justice, she said, meant that her community members would be allowed to own and operate the buildings they live in as a collective. She spoke to the need for secure healthy housing for her community, and the injustice that their housing is being put at risk due to the negligence of Mr. Frenz.

In an interview speaking through an interpreter, Jazmin Mendoza, one of the other speakers, said that she’s been living in her building for four years. “It’s not very well maintained, there’s still quite a few problems. For example, there’s water leaks, the closets in my apartment are all broken, and there’s problems with infestations.”

Residents are demanding ownership over the buildings, and offering a substantial sum of money for poorly maintained buildings that they would then need to repair themselves. Mr. Frenz, who cannot legally operate the buildings at this time, is refusing to sell them to the community. Mr. Frenz could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Photos: Martin Sheeks

Post Editing: Kayla Koterwski

Words: Martin Sheeks

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