Maria Collaco has rented an apartment at 3023 Pleasant Ave. in Uptown for 19 years without having any major problems.
Then QT Properties took over the the building.
Over the last five months, Collaco says the entryway and hallways stayed dark for days before anyone replaced burnt-out light bulbs, the building's washer and dryer disappeared one day without notice, and management altered her lease and started charging for parking and requiring rent to be paid online.
Collaco is not alone. Another tenant living at 3114 Pillsbury Ave., Ofelia, says in the two-plus years she's lived in a QT-owned apartment building the shower drain plugged up 10 times, she's had five holes in the wall, four ceiling leaks, and problems with her floor.
She says after multiple phone calls and an in-person visit to QT headquarters, problems only got fixed after she called 311.
According to Hennepin County property records, QT Properties or one of its affiliated companies own eight apartment buildings in a two-block stretch of Uptown. Collaco and about two dozen fellow Hispanic QT Properties tenants representing every one of those buildings camped out in front of QT Properties's Hennepin Avenue headquarters last Thursday to protest its shoddy management.
"It's lack of respect for tenants, it's not keeping the apartments in good condition or responding to repair requests when tenants make them, it's not respecting leases and the terms of a lease for the times it's allotted," says Jennifer Arnold with the Lyndale Neighborhood Association. "We've gone to court, called 311, sent letters, done group visits to the office, so this is just the next step in a list of a lot of them to get the landlord to talk to us."
We called QT Properties numerous times over the span of a few days, but never got beyond an unfailingly polite secretary, Natalie, who assured us someone will be calling back.
In March Southwest Journal managed to get a hold of a QT Properties general manager named Fernando, who declined to give his last name.
"People have options, it is a free market," he told the SWJ when asked about the switch to online-only rent payment, which was difficult on renters without easy internet access. "We comply with all Fair Housing laws."
"Come out Fernando, we know you're in there," one woman taunted during last Thursday's rally. After an hour of reading letters explaining problems with management, chanting and singing, protesters left QT headquarters.
Fernando never came out.
Send news tips to Ben Johnson.
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