Bemidji landlords say they should be reimbursed
BEMIDJI – More than a dozen landlords argued in Beltrami County conciliation court Monday that the city should reimburse them after recent changes in the rental ordinance.
The 13 landlords’ claims, which total $4,417.56 including filing fees, come after the city council changed its rental ordinance last October from a three-year inspection-based permitting cycle to an annual license cycle with an inspection every two years.
Some landlords argued Monday against how the ordinance was approved, but all agreed that they should be reimbursed for the time they still had left on their three-year permits after the new system launched Jan. 1.
All the landlords in court Monday were members of the Headwaters Landlords Association.
City attorney Al Felix said the city didn’t have the resources to properly administer the previous inspection program, and landlords would often be allowed to have their license despite not having an inspection in more than three years.
The new system would also provide a more predictable flow of revenue for the one and a half full-time employees it requires, he said.
The claims will likely be decided in the next two weeks, Felix said.
Felix argued that due to the nature of the case, it should go to District Court, a suggestion that Judge John Melbye took under advisement.
That would require the landlords to hire an attorney.