Worst Landlord in Minnesota?

Tonight I caught a Fox investigative report on Jim Eischens, owner of Twin Cities Housing & Realty, LLC, who sounds like he may be one of the worst landlords in Minnesota. (Although we have reservations about that, since we are currently suing two landlords who may be far worse.)

Eischens apparently owns about 80 properties in the Twin Cities, mostly in student neighborhoods. He has had nearly 1,500 code violations in the last ten years. His attorney, Patrick Burns, was remarkably evasive, and pled ignorance at every opportunity. But we suppose there isn’t much else he could do, since the proof is a matter of public record.

More after the jump.

In a statement TCHR said it provides housing for more than 2,000 students each year. It also said “The specific reports and incidents contained within this news story are impossible to address because TCHR was not given an opportunity to review each one before the story aired.”

Well, we would have difficulty addressing—to say nothing of keeping track of—an average of 150 code violations a year, as well. Tenants talk of being afraid of living in Eischens’s properties. The segment showed dangerous wiring, exposed wall structures, holes, bedrooms the size of broom closets, and worse. It isn’t difficult to see why dangerous code violations may have caused the 2003 fire that killed three students, even if there is no direct evidence.

The one positive aspect of the story is that many of Eischens’s student-tenants seem to have found their way to the University Student Legal Service at the U. I was a board member of USLS at one point, and they can at least provide student-tenants with some guidance and, if needed, representation. And in this case, it is well needed, as Eischens seems to take as much enjoyment from retaining security deposits as he does in ignoring repair requests.