By Kayla Ross, Back Page Editor
The City of Cincinnati is taking legal action against rental property owners who it alleges are insufficiently repairing and maintaining their properties.
Last Tuesday, the city announced that a lawsuit had been filed against Williamsburg Apartments of Cincinnati due to “unlivable” interior conditions. The Williamsburg Apartments of Cincinnati are located near North College Hill on the west side of Cincinnati.
Mayor Aftab Pureval announced on Instagram and Twitter some of the steps the city intends to take against the rental company.
“Today, we stand here to fight for neglected tenants in Cincinnati,” Pureval tweeted.
He was joined on the steps of City Hall by City Manager Sheryl Long and City Solicitor Emily Smart Woerner for the formal announcement of the lawsuit.
This lawsuit is not the first time legal action has been taken against Williamsburg Apartments of Cincinnati.
The owner of the property, Avi Ohad, had already faced charges last January for failing to provide adequate heat to residents. Ohad pleaded no contest. Now, Ohad may face 180 days in jail, a fine and a 10-month probation period.
In addition to an alleged lack of adequate heating systems, Pureval noted that residents of the Williamsburg Apartments of Cincinnati also face other issues.
“Many of us have unfortunately seen the fallout from this property’s neglect. Residents, Cincinnati families dealing with water damage, mold, blocked sewer lines, hazardous wiring,” he tweeted.
Pureval described these conditions as “unlivable” in a later tweet and said that there have been several complaints about this property specifically, beyond the two events that ultimately resulted in lawsuits.
Long wants this lawsuit to serve as a message to negligent landlords in Cincinnati.
“Property owners and landlords are responsible for maintaining their residences and providing safe, quality places for tenants to live.,” Long said.
“These are people’s homes. Anyone doing business in Cincinnati who doesn’t take those responsibilities seriously will be held accountable,” Long continued.
Cincinnati officials are attempting to increase the task force’s efforts regarding housing code enforcement.
Pureval added that their work will be done in tandem with emergency rental relief and counsel for tenants facing eviction. The expansion of the rental relief task force was announced on Jan. 4 at the State of the City address.
If residents of Cincinnati have concerns about their living conditions, Pureval asks that they call the Cincinnati Non-Emergency Service Request line at 311 to report the issues they are facing.
“They need to reach out to the city immediately. Reach out to buildings and inspections. Reach out to the mayor’s office and to the city manager’s office so that we can document this pattern of behavior and start the process for getting the landlord to comply,” Pureval said.