Anti-Crime Course Required for Wayzata Landlords

Updated: 07/20/2013 1:26 PM By: Beth McDonough

Wayzata is known as a quiet lakeside community. 

A prime place to own or rent a home.  That's right, rent.  It has the second highest number of rental housing in the metro.  That's why city leaders are requiring landlords to take a crime control class.  If you don't, you can't get a rental permit.

The rule is rankling some residents like Andy Brehm.  Rather than sell the colonial home he loves on Barry Avenue, he's renting it out.  That's so he could live closer to his job in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.  Knowing he's not a professional landlord, he screened the would-be resident, "as a property owner I have more incentive to rent my house out to a responsible tenant than the city of Wayzata does."

Brehm couldn't understand why Wayzata insisted he take an anti-crime crash course, just to rent out his one and only home, "there's a lot of risk in renting my property out, I own it the city doesn't so the fact that they then have to burden you with a day off just kind of offended me."

City leaders say because a third of the housing here is rental apartments or homes, and after dealing with a number of troubled tenants, something had to be done.  "If you've got a problem neighbor and the landlord can't do anything to get rid of them, or it takes a long time to get rid of them it absolutely affects the quality of life in a neighborhood," says Chief Mike Risvold of Wayzata.

Police calls involve disorderly conduct, nuisances, drugs or theft.  The Chief argues they drain resources.  Wayzata joined 100 other towns in Minnesota mandating the one-time training.

The Institute for Justice contends, "this is massive regulatory overreach."  Anthony Sanders says landlords shouldn't be treated the same.  Or all renters, "more and more governments are treating tenants as a criminal class, people to be suspected, people that landlords need to be keeping a careful eye on."

It's too early to gauge if the new rule reduces rental property crime in Wayzata.  It's worked in other cities like Champlin and Savage, cutting crime in half.

For more information check out Tom Steward's Watchdog Minnesota piece.