Dunlevy Law, P.A
Downtown seems empty. Shoppers don’t come because the stores are gone. Homelessness and crime are up. Residential foreclosures and evictions are up. Commercial buildings are lacking tenants.
This is our urban landscape as we move from a pandemic society to an endemic society. It requires legislative and judicial attention, which it is getting, said Minneapolis real estate lawyer Kevin Dunlevy. “This is a burden society has to bear,” he said.
Dunlevy is the legislative co-chair of the Real Estate Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association. The other co-chair is Jennifer Carey.
There are at least a half-dozen bills addressing eviction at the Legislature right now. “They are pro-tenant,” Dunlevy said. “Whether they will be effective or passed, I don’t know.”
Dunlevy’s main concern is making sure that the proposed changes do not have any negative effects on the eviction/foreclosure processes. He is concerned that liens will attach to property and thereby cloud the titles, he said, and foreclosures have increased by a factor of about five, he said. Commercial buildings lack tenants.
Also, there is legislative interest in the notices of amounts due that are served on residential tenants when an eviction is only for unpaid rent, Dunlevy said. The forms should help tenants to cure, since eviction carries major consequences. Dunlevy thinks the notices should be uniform in the state, but right now Minneapolis has its own form.
It’s clear from a stroll down Nicollet Mall that commercial property is empty as the population continues to work from home. It’s also clear that people live on the streets.
One solution, posits Dunlevy, is turning commercial property residential, any income level. It’s about getting people downtown, where they will need goods and services. “There has got to be some way to convert these buildings,” he said.