Apartment inspections in Minneapolis by the numbers

The Star Tribune today reported that 273 buildings in the city have not been inspected for fire-code violations for at least five years. The story was spawned by last week’s tragic fire in the city in which six people died. That building had not been inspected since at least 1994.

“We need an expose from a local news station on fire inspectors. Similar to the recent videos of city workers in St. Paul. Your tax dollars NOT at work,” one commenter said on the site.

It’s an easy leap to make given the details the Star Tribune provided.

But it ignored a significant question. Are 273 uninspected buildings a lot? No. (Update: See comments section below. The answer may well be “yes”)

According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey released in 2008, there were 177,069 housing units in the city. Fifty-one percent of occupied housing units are renters. That’s 90,305 rental units in the city.

The 273 buildings that went uninspected total 1,000 units.

That means about 98.9 percent of the apartments in Minneapolis were inspected within the last five years.