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Cleveland residents upset by lack of housing inspector violations on problem homes

Posted at 10:19 PM, Feb 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-07 22:19:11-05

CLEVELAND — Cleveland residents living in the areas of Lester Avenue and East 123rd Street believe city housing inspectors must issue violations on problem homes they say are plaguing the safety of their neighborhoods.

Denise and Joe Premo told News 5 they've been living across the street from a hazardous and vacant home for nearly three years.

The house is once again a wide open haven for crime after the boarded up entrance ways in back of the home were pried open.

Denise Premo is concerned about dozens of neighborhood school children who walk past the house everyday because it stands just 250 feet form Willow Elementary School.

"The school children, a lot of them are on their own," Premo said.

"A lot of the kids are walking by with no parents and stuff like that, going to school everyday."

"They put up boards on the windows and the doors, and then somebody breaks-in, the wood is down. And then the neighbors come in, and somebody will put it back up again."

According to Cleveland Housing Court records, the homeowner has not been issued even one violation on the home, even though the city has been boarding up the home since 2017.

The City of Cleveland confirmed the home is not on Mayor Frank Jackson's Safe Routes demolition list, even though it meets the criteria.

Joe Premo told News 5 housing inspectors must issue violations to get irresponsible homeowners into housing court.

"Obviously nothing is being done, it's not working, because there are so many abandoned houses," Premo said.

"These parents, they need to step-up and complain the city too. The school should be doing something about it."

"It's urgent, I mean you don't want to wait until somebody gets hurt, or you find somebody in there."

Slavic Village neighborhood activist Ed McDonald reported the home to Cleveland Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland and the home is now in the system.

McDonald also toured the vacant unheated home on East 123rd Street, where a squatter was found frozen to death on Feb. 1.

Cleveland Housing court records indicate the house was boarded up in 2014, but the court said not one violation was issued by housing inspectors, calling the homeowner court for the past 5 years.

"People like me are getting frustrated and very upset, by seeing this," McDonald said.

"There is absolutely no accountability, and we need some accountability, especially in Slavic Village and the surrounding neighborhoods."

"We need as taxpayers for them to get their act together."

News 5 contacted the Cleveland Mayor's office and councilwoman Cleveland, and both pledged to look into securing the homes, and determine why housing inspectors failed to issue violations in these cases.