Minnesota Attorney General files emergency motion, lawsuit against property management company

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Thursday that his office has filed a new lawsuit and emergency motion against property management company Investment Property Group (IPG). 

Ellison alleges that the landlord started charging thousands of tenants in numerous Minnesota apartment complexes for large electric and gas fees in the middle of their leases, in violation of several laws, according to a release sent by Ellison’s office. 

According to court documents, in early 2023 IPG started charging their tenants for electric and gas bills that were supposed to be included in their rent and their leases required IPG to cover the cost of gas. Tenants that couldn’t pay were being faced with eviction.

Thirteen complexes in Hennepin County, mostly in Minneapolis, have been affected by these charges.

The Attorney General’s office stepped in last spring, and the property management company agreed to dismiss dozens of eviction actions at one of their properties. But, according to court documents, since then IPG has continued to charge tenants with the utility fees at all of its properties and has ramped up eviction actions when tenants dispute the charges.

The emergency motion for a temporary injunction asks the court to order IPG to cease eviction actions of 21 tenants at the 13 apartment complexes for not paying the charges and to stop charging all tenants for the utility fees. 

Minnesota law states that landlords with multifamily apartments with only a single utility meter must disclose many facts before charging their tenants for a portion of the utilities, including disclosing past costs on utilities and the exact formula used to divide up utility costs. 

Ellison alleges that IPG did not comply with any of these laws when charging its buildings’ electrical and gas usage. 

"It’s tough enough for low-income renters to afford their lives. When landlords charge them illegal, extra fees they never agreed to pay, then try to evict them when they don’t pay those illegal fees, I will step in to stop it," Attorney General Ellison said in a prepared statement.