Skip to main content

Landlord who forced tenant to quit townhome to pay $3,500 fine

Attorney General Ellison has settled its lawsuit against the landlord.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison's office has resolved the action it took against a Dakota County landlord who forced her tenants to move out in violation of Gov. Tim Walz's executive order. 

Ellison had filed a lawsuit against landlord Joanna Wentzlaff in February, alleging she attempted to violate one of the governor's COVID-19 executive orders when she forced her tenant to move out of the Apple Valley townhome she owns, and falsely claimed she or her family member needed to move into her rental property.

Instead, she directed her real estate agent to kick her tenants out with days' notice in order to put her property on the market, Ellison claimed. Wentzlaff's tenants reported her to Ellison's office. 

Under Gov. Tim Walz's Executive Order 20-79, tenants can't be evicted unless it meets one of a few exemptions, including if a property owner or their family need to live there. 

The AG announced Wednesday his office won relief for the tenants, noting the court's consent judgment requires Wentzlaff to pay $3,573.86 to reimburse the tenants for their out-of-pocket costs in being forced out of the home. 

The judgment also requires Wentzlaff to remain in compliance with the governor’s executive orders protecting tenant rights.

“Having a safe and affordable roof over your head is essential to living with dignity and respect. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s also been essential to protecting people’s lives,” Ellison said in a statement. 

“The vast majority of landlords have done the right thing by their tenants and their communities during the pandemic: for those that have not, this case shows once again that my office will hold landlords accountable who violate the executive orders and put the health of their communities and the lives of their tenants at risk.”

A moratorium on evictions was implemented during the pandemic to prevent a flurry of evictions in the wake of surging unemployment. Legislators are currently discussing an "off ramp" for the moratorium.

Ellison's office has received nearly 3,000 consumer complaints related to executive order violations and it has filed eight enforcement actions against landlords for violating the governor's orders. 

All but one have now been resolved. A lawsuit against a landlord in Pine County who is accused of going into a tenant's home and disconnecting their electricity to get them to move out is in litigation. 

Next Up

walz flanagan lorie shaull flickr

Gov. proposes 'Walz Checks' for most Minnesotans

The governor wants to use $700 million of the state's surplus to fund the payments.

Hutch crash booking photo

Walz, Flanagan call on Hennepin Co. sheriff to resign

"I would say that it is time for him to resign," the Lt. Gov. said.

line 3 enbridge portage lake hubbard county mn tony webster flickr

Months after missing deadline, Enbridge says Line 3 aquifer breach is fixed

The company told Bring Me The News it "successfully stopped the flow of groundwater" at the site.

canada bodies found

Baby, teenager among 4 found dead along MN, Canada border

Authorities believe all four froze to death.

unsplash roller rink skates CROP

Former roller rink, tennis courts will become new sports hub

The Wooddale Fun Zone has been closed since spring of 2020.

hibachi daruma

Popular hibachi food truck opens second Twin Cities restaurant

The much-anticipated Daruma opens for takeout Thursday evening.

20211128_Vikings_49ers_REG12_0144 (1)

What changes are coming to the Vikings' offensive line?

Once again, Minnesota has work to do to figure out its interior spots

Kris Ehresmann

One of Minnesota's key COVID-19 leaders is retiring

Kris Ehresmann has given more than 30 years of her life to public health in Minnesota.

summit beach park orono

Plan to develop Orono park on hold after Daytons object

The Dayton family donated the land to the city for the park in the 1970s.

covid nurse doctor hospital wikimedia commons

Child from Twin Cities, school staff member die from COVID

Both deaths were reported by the Minnesota Department of Health Thursday.


3 clippers will deliver snow to Minnesota through Tuesday

Clippers move through Friday night, Saturday night and again Monday.

Screen Shot 2022-01-20 at 10.45.51 AM

Video: Inebriated Sheriff Dave Hutchinson after high-speed crash

Hutchinson was unaware of his location and repeatedly said he wasn't driving.


Keith Ellison

AG Ellison sues Apple Valley landlord for evicting tenant during pandemic

The landlord allegedly forced her tenants to move out so she could sell her townhouse, which is a violation of a COVID-19 executive order.

Keith Ellison

AG Ellison sues landlords for trying to evict tenant during peacetime emergency

The lawsuit is against two landlords of a Roseville property.

Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville.

Judge: Alibi Drinkery will be fined $3K for every day it stays open

The Lakeville bar reopened in mid-December and has been the subject of several actions by the state for defying orders.


Monticello restaurant will pay profits to state after violating COVID order

The Minnesota Attorney General's Office has settled a lawsuit it filed against Cornerstone Cafe in Monticello.


Small town gym refusing to close facing lawsuit from attorney general

The gym is facing a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order to halt their operations.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Walz's order makes it easier for attorney general to investigate COVID-19 violations

The order gives the attorney general, county attorneys and city attorneys the ability to investigate violations and recoup costs.

Keith Ellison

AG Ellison announces $81 million settlement with tobacco companies

Ellison's 2018 lawsuit alleged that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company failed to make required payments to the state.

the interchange

Albert Lea bar plans COVID relief-funded party for Friday night, faces $9K fine

The Interchange is throwing a "Nail it to the Walz' Reopen MN Party" on Friday night.