Attorney General Ellison files emergency motion, lawsuit to protect tenants from unlawful evictions and illegal utility charges

Requests court stop Investment Property Group from charging its tenants illegal gas utility fees imposed in the middle of their leases, immediately halt eviction of 21 tenants on the basis of non-payment of the illegal fees

October 19, 2023 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that his Office has filed a new civil enforcement lawsuit  and an emergency motion  against Investment Property Group, UT, Inc., (IPG) today, alleging that the landlord started charging thousands of tenants at numerous Minnesota apartment complexes for exorbitant electric and gas utility fees in the middle of their leases, in violation of several laws. Earlier this year, IPG instituted its illegal utility fees, some as high as $200 per month, at 13 of its complexes in Hennepin County, most of them in Minneapolis. The 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 illegal charges and to stop charging all tenants for them.

“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.

Minnesota law explicitly requires that landlords who rent out multi-family apartments with only a single utility meter (instead of a meter for each apartment) disclose several facts before charging their tenants for a portion of the building’s shared utility. The law (Minnesota Statutes section 504B.215 ) mandates that before rental applicants sign a lease, a landlord inform them of the building’s past utility costs so they can make an informed decision about whether to move in or not. The law also requires landlords to provide the exact formula used to apportion the building’s utility costs to each apartment and provide tenants with copies of the buildings’ bills so they can verify they are not being overcharged. Lastly, the law requires landlords to provide utility assistance information to tenants so that low-income renters can get help with their bills. 

IPG did not comply with any of the legal disclosure requirements when charging its tenants for its buildings’ electrical and gas utility usage and in fact began charging them in the middle of tenants’ leases.

The AG’s lawsuit also seeks to stop IPG from evicting any of its tenants on the basis of non-payment of the unlawful utility fees. In April 2023, IPG filed dozens of unlawful eviction actions against its tenants at Greenway Apartments on the basis of fake and illegal utility fees, which the company dismissed and expunged after Attorney General Ellison’s Office stepped in . The motion Attorney General Ellison’s office filed today seeks to stop IPG from doing the same to at least 21 more tenants at 13 Hennepin County apartment complexes: Aldrich Apartments, Bolero Flats Apartments, Cambridge Towers, Creek Point, Central Park Manor, Hopkins Apartments, Grandview Terrace Apartments, Greenway Apartments, Knollwood Towers, Lyndy Apartments, Maven Apartments, Parkview Apartments, and Wayzata Woods Apartments.

The Attorney General’s Office asks that anyone with information about IPG and/or its illegal utility charges, especially tenants, contact the Office. The Office can be reached by filling out a tenant report form online in English Spanish , or Somali