Don’t want to be in jail for being a lanlord in Hennepin County? Read this

Wanted to share with every landlord or real estate investor why I don’t recommend owning rentals in Brooklyn Center MN and how I got petty misdemeanor for owning rentals in Brooklyn Center
Several years ago I owned 6 single family houses in Brooklyn Center.
And one day I got a letter from the City of Brooklyn Center to appear in court and face CRIMINAL charges from the City for operating a rental property without a rental license.
Here is the story. One of my rentals was occupied by a tenant that didn’t pay for water, and she owed around $800. My property management Co applied for a rental license renewal, passed rental license inspection on time, however the rental license was placed on hold, due to outstanding water bill.
We notified the tenant that she had to pay for water many times and she didn’t pay. One week after our rental license has expired I received a letter to appear in court and face CRIMINAL charges with a fine up to $2500 or 90 days in jail. Not very exciting to get a letter like that, is it?
At the beginning I wanted to fight it and thought that I could explain everything to the judge, that it was tenant’s fault not paying for water, etc. I did everything I could to get my rental license, passed rental inspection, applied for license on time, paid rental license fee, etc.
But after I calculated how much time I needed to spend defending myself and how much I needed to pay to the attorney to defend me, I decided to let it go. The City has free attorneys that we are- tax payers paying for, and according to my attorney, to prove that I was innocent would cost me more than 15k plus my time.
Thus we agreed with a prosecutor to make a deal, I paid $1500 fine for operating a rental property without a rental license, pleaded guilty and got petty misdemeanor on my record, plus paid my attorney $3000.
After this incident I sold all my 6 rentals that I had in Brooklyn Center and hopefully would never deal with this City.
I didn’t want to post it on my site until today, because it’s been 3 years since this happened. But last week my best friend that has a rental in Brooklyn Center, was charged with the same offence ‘’operating a rental property without a rental license’’, because there was outstanding water bill not paid by the tenant and rental license was not issued.
Here is my advice: do not own rentals in Brooklyn Center or if you have rentals in Brooklyn Center, pay for water and charge the tenant higher rent; do not allow tenants pay for water, because some of them will not.
Also this is for the mayor of the City of Brooklyn Center: your City will stay the poorest City in Hennepin County, because you treat people unfairly. Real estate investors save your City and buy foreclosures, fix them up, provide jobs and housing for people and you punish them. Not cool!

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