AG Ellison files suit against landlord who forced tenant to vacate home during pandemic

Friday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a lawsuit against a landlord who illegally forced a tenant to vacate a home during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

In an executive order put in place by Gov. Tim Walz, property owners are prohibited from evicting residents for the duration of the peacetime emergency.

According to a release from the attorney general’s office, Ikechukwu Micahel Nwachukwu, the owner of a mobile home park in Cosmos, turned off a tenant’s water when the tenant could not pay the bill due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Ellison’s office said Nwachukwu terminated water service on three occasions.

Water was restored Thursday after Ellison’s office told Nwachukwu that his actions were illegal. However, Nwachukwu threatened to terminate water service again Friday, causing the tenant to leave his home and stay with a friend.

The suit seeks emergency relief that would ensure water service to the tenant.

"Most landlords are doing right by their tenants at a time when it’s harder and harder for Minnesotans to afford their lives," Ellison said. "Most landlords recognize that their tenants need safe, stable homes at a time when it’s necessary and required to stay at home. But my office is demonstrating once again that if you’re a landlord who’s violating the Executive Order and breaking the law during this crisis, we’ll take swift and strong action against you on behalf of all Minnesotans."