Ordinance Changes Incorporates Waived Conversion Fee, Encourages Increase of Affordable Housing Options

The City of Duluth will now be waiving a fee that’s been in place for years. It’s part of an effort to help promote affordable housing in the area.

DULUTH, Minn. – The City of Duluth will now be waiving a fee that’s been in place for years. It’s part of an effort to help promote affordable housing in the area.

The Duluth City Council has changed an ordinance to help encourage people to invest in condemned properties and turn them into rentals.

The city has been charging a $1,500 fee to convert a single-family home into a rental property.

This rental conversion fee will now be waived for turning abandoned or condemned properties into rental housing.

“Try to get that property actually under someone’s control that’s managing it appropriately,” said Shawn Krizaj, the fire chief of the Duluth Fire Department. “It’s an eyesore sometimes for the neighbors. You know the neighborhood likes to, everyone wants to have a safe, safe neighborhood and nice property around them.

For the $1,500 fee to be waived, landlords must keep ownership of these rental properties for at least two years after improving them. This is to prevent buyers from house flipping by just making fast repairs to properties and quickly reselling them.

The main goal is to increase affordable housing options.

“There is a shortage, we hear that all the time from the community, from the city council, from other people that we need to do more to provide more housing,” said Krizaj.

About 140 houses in Duluth are now condemned for habitation. City leaders are hoping this new fee waiver will lead to sales for some of these properties so they can be fixed up and rented out.

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