An apartment complex on Cleveland’s east side with documented issues including mold, mice, faulty plumbing and electrical outlets will undergo a massive inspection later this month, according to City Councilman Kevin Conwell.
Residents have described the living conditions at Park Place Apartments as deplorable and unfit for inhabitation.
On Wednesday, city officials and Park Place tenants held a meeting about the conditions at the 112-unit complex. In addition to issues like exposed plumbing and electric, residents described an out-of-control rodent problem.
For Councilman Conwell, one story stood out.
“[The tenant said] she had to fight rodents off so her kids could eat,” Conwell said. “She said, 'When I go to the store, there’s rodents and mice feces everywhere.' That’s sad. You wouldn’t want people to live like that.”
It’s sad, but it appears to be the case in some of the units, as News 5 has revealed.
Last month, News 5 profiled Elizabeth Jackson’s apartment unit. She said her living conditions were unsafe and unsanitary. Among the issues were mice, mold, faulty electrical outlets, failing plumbing fixtures and a persistent leak coming from the second floor. The leak caused the subfloor below to rot. Jackson alleged property management failed to have repairs made despite her asking multiple times.
A few days after News 5's report, property maintenance finally began to make repairs.
“As soon as they saw it on the news, the next day they came in. They looked at everything,” Jackson said. “They said, ‘We will repair every single thing that’s wrong.'”
So far, it appears the property maintenance team is well on its way to fulfilling that promise — holes in the drywall have been patched, light and plumbing fixtures have been replaced, new flooring in the bathroom and dining room has been installed, and a new stove has been brought in.
While positive progress has been made at Jackson’s unit, other residents said the same cannot be said for their's.
Councilman Conwell said after the tenants' meeting on Wednesday, he received a call from officials with the property management company, Independent Management Solutions, a Michigan-based firm with properties across several states.
“Management called me up today and got upset with me. I asked them this one question: would you want to live there? They didn’t answer,” Conwell said. “You get upset with me when it’s your fault as management, because you’re not supposed to let things happen. You’re supposed to do preventative maintenance. I don’t care about them getting mad at me. Get mad and move into one of those apartment s and live at those apartments like you have my residents living in.”
Residents have alleged the management company has purposefully deferred maintenance in order to maximize profits.
In about two weeks, Conwell said officials from the city’s Department of Building and Housing and the county health department will converge on the property. The point of the inspection is to create a checklist of items that must be completed. Housing court is also an option, Conwell said.
Conwell also said officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are paying close attention to the situation at Park Place. Many of the tenants at the complex are low income and qualify for government-subsidized housing.
“We want [management and ownership] to fix it up. We don’t want to go this route. I want my residents to live in a nice place with quality of life. They deserve that,” Conwell said.
Officials from Independent Management Solutions have not returned calls or emails for comment. Officials from the company that owns the property, American Community Developers, have also not returned emails requesting comment.