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Minneapolis landlord fined for ‘horrific’ rental conditions

November 20, 2021 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Hennepin County district judge has fined a north Minneapolis landlord $133,500 for what he called horrific conditions in his rental properties.

The Star Tribune reports Judge Patrick Robben ruled Thursday that landlord Steven Meldahl operated in bad faith by telling tenants that they were not allowed to contact city inspectors, violating the rights of 267 families who rented his properties.

“Infestations suggestive of biblical plague proportions — squirrels, mice, rats, gnats,” the judge said

Robben levied a fine of $500 per family.

He also issued a permanent injunction preventing Meldahl from engaging in illegal and deceptive practices, and gave him until Dec. 15 to comply with all housing correction notices.

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David Shulman, Meldahl’s attorney, declined to comment.

The case was brought by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who praised the tenants for stepping forward to testify during an eight-day trial in May.

Ellison filed the case against Meldahl and his business, S.J.M. Properties Inc., in September 2019 and immediately secured a temporary injunction to stop Meldahl from barring tenants from contacting health and safety inspectors.