Minnesota Attorney General Sues Minneapolis Landlord
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison sued a Minneapolis landlord this week, accusing him of scheming to profit off of evictions and punishing tenants for reporting housing problems. The landlord in question, Steven Meldahl, controls 25 properties in North Minneapolis.
Ellison’s lawsuit alleges that Meldahl’s tenants live in deteriorating properties, are forced to pay thousands of dollars in security deposits that are never returned, and are forbidden from getting health and safety inspections at the threat of fines or eviction. The Attorney General alleges that Meldahl has, and has bragged about, evicting 99 percent of his tenants. Meldahl did at one point have a clause in his lease agreement requesting tenants not go to health and safety inspectors in an effort to address the issues with him first, but Meldahl says the clause has since been removed. He also denied ever punishing his tenants for reaching out to housing inspectors. When the clause was in place, the landlord fined his tenants $100 if an inspector showed up without giving him notice, in an effort to ensure that Meldahl was present for every inspection.
Steven Meldahl has been cited more than 1,300 times in the last decade for city housing code violations. Meldahl argues that at least 95 percent of those violations are tenant-caused damages and that Ellison’s lawsuit is a form of harassment against the landlord. However, Meldahl is also currently involved in a class action regarding his tenants.