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How far is too far when it comes to landlords and tenants during pandemic?

Landlord sends aggressive messages to tenants

Posted: Apr 17, 2020 9:42 PM
Updated: Apr 18, 2020 7:20 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Rochester's Opportunity Realty LLC is a property management operation with a lot of tenants.

On April 1, long before anyone's rent could be considered late, the company's Brenda Thomas Lipkie sent out a missive to tenants that said in part, "Tenants must still pay their rent on or before the first. Tenants that usually drop rents off will need to contact me or pay through portal to prevent 8% late fee. Tenants that haven't paid or contacted me, I will be stopping at unit on April 2nd."

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An Opportunity Realty tenant who spoke with KIMT News 3 said she was intimidated by the message. "I'm not behind on my rent and their messages are just awful. They give me anxiety I don't need at this time," she said in a text message.

As the Covid-19 pandemic worsened, Brenda Thomas Lipkie followed up with another message. Like the earlier missive, the second contained bold white lettering on a black background. "Opportunity Realty LLC and owners have be (sic) notified that people are now receiving their stimulus checks to help pay towards their rent, utilities and food as a reminder monthly rent is due on or before the first of the month."

We showed both messages to Rochester City Council member Michael Wojcik who didn't hesitate to offer advice to the realtor.

"There is no law against being a difficult person, or obnoxious or just plain rotten," Wojcik said during a FaceTime call. "That's part of how our capitalist society works, but I think you'll find that how you handle these situations in the interim when people are truly going through great challenges will speak volumes to how successful you are on the other end of this."

KIMT News 3 has made frequent calls to Brenda Thomas Lipkie beginning in early April and continuing until April 17th. None of those calls has been returned.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 60898

Reported Deaths: 1698
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Hennepin19271835
Ramsey7572265
Dakota4414106
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Nobles17646
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Scott155919
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Sherburne7238
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McLeod1810
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Lake of the Woods20

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 48781

Reported Deaths: 929
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10309207
Woodbury371952
Black Hawk312766
Linn237588
Johnson209619
Dallas188535
Buena Vista179412
Scott171814
Dubuque167631
Marshall144426
Pottawattamie132526
Story116614
Wapello90033
Muscatine84748
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Sioux6343
Cerro Gordo62517
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Jasper47826
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Plymouth4629
Clinton3973
Dickinson3814
Louisa37814
Washington29810
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Hamilton2461
Franklin24110
Bremer2267
Clarke2013
Carroll1921
Emmet1924
Clay1901
Shelby1841
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Jackson1561
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Jones1302
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