A landlord who tried to kick a family out of their home despite Minnesota's ban on evictions during the coronavirus crisis is facing charges—and has been ordered to restore their electricity. Authorities say Howard Mostad on March 4 told a Pine County family of three they had to be out by April 1 as their lease was ending, the Duluth News Tribune reports. But the family had trouble finding new accommodation—especially after a shelter-in-place order was issued March 25. According to court papers, Mostad showed up at the property April 2, saying he wanted to show it. When the family refused to let anybody in, saying their 4-year-old daughter has a pre-existing condition that puts her at risk in terms of COVID-19, Mostad allegedly pushed his way in and removed circuit breakers.
"We are sitting in our home with no electricity, heat, or running water," one of the tenants said in an affidavit. "My daughter is telling me that she is cold. We have nowhere else to go and cannot risk exposing my daughter to other people." Authorities say that when Assistant Attorney General Katherine Kelly called Mostad on April 3 to inform him that the state banned evictions on March 23, he "concluded the call by calling her a crude name" and hanging up, the Pine City Pioneer reports. The Guardian reports that when it contacted Mostad about the case, the 77-year-old admitted the family was current on rent (though the Pioneer reports he said they were behind on their electric bill) but that he was looking to sell the property due to his own financial needs. (Read more Minnesota stories.)