AG settles with Meeker County landlord who disconnected water during pandemic

Landlord Ikechukwu Michael Nwachukwu physically terminated water service to the property of a tenant after attempting to force the tenant out of a manufactured-home park in Cosmos.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison spoke to reporters at the Capitol on Friday, March 13, 2020, regarding new community mitigation measures to contain the coronavirus. Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service

ST. PAUL — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Friday that his office has reached a settlement with a Meeker County landlord who repeatedly disconnected a tenant’s water service in violation of Gov. Tim Walz’s Executive Order 20-14 and Minnesota’s landlord-tenant laws, according to a news release from the Attorney General’s office.

The consent judgment, filed in Meeker County District Court, requires landlord Ikechukwu Michael Nwachukwu, who does business as Divine Estates, to waive rental and contract-for-deed payments that the tenant previously owed at a manufactured-home park in Cosmos and reduce the tenant’s balance to zero.

In addition, Nwachukwu is required to pay a $1,000 civil penalty, as well as an additional $9,000 if he violates the terms of the consent judgment.

Nwachukwu also agrees, in accordance with the terms of the consent judgement, to comply with Executive Order 20-14 and Minnesota law by not interfering with any tenant’s ability to live at the park during the peacetime emergency as well as not interfering with any tenant’s utility services at any time.

“It’s in every Minnesotans' interest that everyone have a safe place to shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most landlords are doing the right thing by their tenants, and I thank them,” Ellison said. “But if any landlords illegally interfere with a tenant’s need for shelter during the pandemic, I’m showing again and again that my office will quickly take them to court and firmly hold them accountable.”


Nwachukwu had repeatedly attempted to terminate the tenancy of a tenant who resides in one of the homes in the manufactured-home park in Cosmos.

When his tenant told him he could not afford to pay the water bill due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the landlord physically terminated water service to the property on two occasions, in violation of Minnesota law.

Meeker County District Court previously granted a temporary restraining order requiring that the landlord restore water service to the property.

Under Executive Order 20-14, property owners are prohibited from filing eviction actions or terminating residential leases for the duration of the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. The disconnection of such services is considered a constructive eviction.

In addition, it is illegal under Minnesota’s landlord-tenant laws for a landlord to interrupt or cause the interruption of electricity, heat, gas, or water services to a tenant.

Ellison’s office has now received 300 complaints from tenants across Minnesota who are threatened with or facing removal that, under Walz’s order, is illegal during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

Ellison encourages Minnesotans to report suspected violations of Executive Order 20-14, which suspends evictions during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, by filling out the dedicated Tenant Eviction Complaint Form, available on the front page of the Attorney General’s website. Minnesotans can also do so by calling his office at 651-296-3353 (Metro) or 800-657-3787 (Greater Minnesota).

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at
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