The Saint Paul Police Department has several legal tools it can use to address violations.
Saint Paul Police can issue criminal charges (tagging) on the first instance officers observe a violation.
Excessive Consumption Charges
If code inspectors make repeated visits to a property, the City will send a bill for excessive consumption of City services. If the bill is not paid, it will be added to the property owner's property taxes.
Nuisance Abatement Order (Sec. 45.04)
This City ordinance states no property owner shall allow a “nuisance.” A nuisance is anything that bothers or annoys more than just one neighbor. If the nuisance activity continues, after the property owner receives a notice to discontinue the unacceptable behavior, Police may charge a misdemeanor.
Nuisance Abatement Order (Sec. 617.80)
This Minnesota state law states that no property owner or occupant shall maintain or permit a nuisance. A nuisance is defined as anything that bothers or annoys more than just one neighbor. Under state law a court can take someone's property away from them for up to a year. Because this is such a serious sanction, the law requires two prior nuisance incidents, provable by clear and convincing evidence, then a City attorney issues a 30-day warning letter, then a third nuisance incident must occur after the 30 days is up, before bringing the case to court. This state law defines nuisance activity to include criminal activity such as drug dealing, prostitution, etc.
Certificate of Occupancy Revocation
If there is a single nuisance incident or documented excessive code inspection visits, a “Notice of Intent to Revoke” is mailed to the landlord. If the landlord cooperates and abates the nuisance, agrees to better lease management practices, and allows an interior inspection, the intent to revoke can be withdrawn. If the landlord does not cooperate, City Council may revoke the landlord's license to do business.
City-initiated Tenant Remedies Actions
The City can initiate a lawsuit when a rental property has outstanding code or nuisance violations. The first court hearing must be within 10 days. There are no jury trials. If the landlord admits the violations exist (or the Court so determines), the landlord is given a reasonable period to comply or faces fines. In rare cases the Court temporarily places the property in receivership, has the receiver make repairs, and charges costs to the landlord's property taxes. The City has a $200,000 repair fund to front the repair money, which gets replenished by property tax assessment against the owner.