Attorney General Ellison protects more manufactured-housing residents
September 22, 2022
AG Ellison conducts another successful law-enforcement effort against management company that threatened mass evictions of residents against Minnesota law; company commits to comply with the law and retract eviction threats
September 21, 2022 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today announced that his office has successfully protected more residents of manufactured housing, by gaining compliance with Minnesota law from Summit Management, LLC, the owner of nine manufactured home parks across Minnesota. Summit Management’s parks are located in Shoreview, Lino Lakes, Lakeville, Hastings, Hugo, St. Cloud, Owatonna, St. Joseph, and Forest Lake.
Beginning in spring 2022, Summit Management began conducting stringent and invasive inspections of residents’ homes across many of its parks. Following the inspections, Summit Management sent mass notices to residents with demands to perform time-consuming and expensive work on their homes. The notices included eviction and court-cost threats if the work was not completed within 30 days. Many of the notices had more than a dozen demands—some more than 20—and included demands that residents repaint their entire house, paint sheds to match the house, remove sheds, remove replace windows, replace siding, replace decks, and other orders for which residents had no prior warning. Some residents were threatened with eviction for not weeding their yards thoroughly enough or not storing their garden hose in a manner approved of by the park owner. Residents of parks owned by Summit Management reported to the Attorney General’s Office that park rules were being enforced against them suddenly and aggressively, and without clear specifics about what rules were being broken or when. They reported that the notices made them feel “continuously anxious, stressed, and feeling harassed and threatened.”
Each demand was accompanied with a threat that a failure to comply could result in an eviction. Even when they did not receive an eviction notice, the rules and threats alone terrified the residents.
After investigating the matter, the Attorney General’s Office contacted Summit Management over what appeared to be multiple violations of Minnesota law related to manufactured-home park rentals and requested that the company cease and desist issuing eviction threats. In response, Summit Management has agreed to retract the eviction threats. The company has also committed to refining its inspection and rule-violation notification process so that it complies with the law.
This case is another win for the Special Outreach and Protection Unit that Attorney General Ellison created, which includes the successful enforcement of Minnesota law in the Viking Terrace manufactured home park community in Northfield and successful litigation against Minneapolis slumlord Steven Meldahl.
“My job is to protect the safety, wallets, and dignity of all Minnesotans. This means everyone, including residents of manufactured-home parks: they have rights under the law that must be respected and deserve as much protection as homeowners and tenants,” Attorney General Ellison said. “I’m proud that these residents organized themselves and reported their concerns to my office, despite being afraid to do so, and I encourage residents of any manufactured-home park who feels their rights are not being respected to reach out to my office. I’m pleased that Summit Management promptly and voluntarily agreed to do the right thing after we contacted them. I will continue to monitor this situation to ensure the company respects residents’ rights and complies with the law. All owners of manufactured-home parks need to know my office is watching to ensure they do the same.”
Under Minnesota law, a park owner looking to enforce park rules must notify residents of the approximate time and date of any rule violation, and must “specify [ ] the nature of the alleged rule violation.” The notices must give residents at least 30 days to correct the violation. Even if a park owner files eviction based on a rules violation and wins, the presiding court must give the resident an additional 10 days to come into compliance with the rules in order to cancel the eviction.
Minnesota law requires manufactured home park rules to be reasonable. When a park owner changes the rules, homeowners already living in the park do not have to follow any new rules that are a “substantial modification” of the old rules.
AG Ellison’s record of protecting manufactured-home park residents
Attorney General Ellison has a long record of protecting the residents of manufactured-home parks. In addition to his successful effort to enforce the law to protect the residents of Summit Management parks:
• In July 2021, Attorney General Ellison, successfully enforced Minnesota law when Lakeshore Management, Inc. began issuing long, stringent new rules across several parks it owns including Viking Terrace, rules that prohibited residents’ children from playing with other children in their yards and prohibited residents from going for walks at night.
• In August 2021, Attorney General Ellison sued the owners of Broadmoor manufactured-home park in Marshall, alleging among other counts that Schierholz charged residents unlawfully high late rent fees and persistently failed to maintain the park and its roads to the standards required by law.
• In July 2017, while a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Attorney General Ellison introduced H.R. 3256, designed to protect manufactured-home residents against the abrupt sale of their communities/parks.
About the Special Outreach and Protection Unit
The Special Outreach and Protection Unit that Attorney General Ellison founded is designed to expand the Office’s consumer-outreach and -protection efforts into historically disenfranchised communities. These communities are facing consumer-protection issues that make it hard for them to afford their lives and live with dignity, safety, and respect, but lack the resources to solve those issues on their own and often lack the awareness that they can contact the Attorney General’s Office for help. Staff of the Unit go into those communities to meet people in their languages where they live, find out directly from them what their consumer-protection needs are, and build enforcement around them.
Recent actions of the Unit include:
• Winning a landmark court victory against Minneapolis landlord Steven Meldahl’s “brazen and deplorable” practices in violating tenants’ rights and a judgment of more than $1 million in legal fees.
• Reaching a settlement that requires a landlord in Kandiyohi and Lyon Counties to refund 877 tenant households for illegal utility fees.
• Suing Havenbrook Homes, one of the largest landlords in Minnesota, for failing to repair rental homes and violating Minnesota law.
Attorney General Ellison encourages tenants who believe their landlord is violating their rights to submit a Tenant Report Form on the Attorney General’s website or call the Attorney General’s Office at (651) 296-3353 (Metro area) or (800) 657-3787 (Greater Minnesota).