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Landlords keenly interested in training

A long-dormant landlords association in Alexandria may be revived.

The association was a prime mover in creating a rental registration program in the city in the late 1990s and there is interest in starting it up again, according to information shared at Monday night's Alexandria City Council meeting.

In a memo to the council, City Planner Mike Weber said there was "good discussion" about reviving the association during a landlord training session at City Hall on Jan. 29.

The city started having the sessions a year ago and they've been well-attended. Weber noted that despite temperatures of 33 below zero, 15 landlords representing nearly 100 rental units attended the third session.

So far, about 100 property owners/managers have gone through the sessions, representing more than 700 rental units.

The "faculty" at the latest session included Sarah Moore with Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota, Assistant City Attorney Mike Cass, Kelly Garner with Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Alexandria Police Captain Scott Kent and Weber. They all volunteered their time and materials.

Topics included how to attract and screen tenants; why to have a written lease and what the lease should include; how to terminate leases; the rental registration program history; how and when inspections are conducted; how the city's nuisance ordinance affects residential properties; the attorney general's handbook on landlord and tenant responsibilities; and what information rental property owners can get from the police department about activities at rental units.

Participants completed evaluation sheets of the session and gave it an average score of 4.7, with 5.0 being the highest possible score. Because of the high level of interest, another training session will be scheduled for the end of April.

"The benefits this training provides cannot be overstated," Weber said in his memo. "In addition to the relationship-building opportunities it provides, the knowledge shared improves landlord/property owner understanding of their important economic development role, which in turn builds a better community."

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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