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'I don't know what to do' — Desperate mother reaches out to News 5 for help with apartment leak

Toria Ferguson says she's had water leaking on her floor since August, leading to additional problems for her and her family.
Leak causes flooded floors inside tenant's unit at Rainbow Terrance Apartment.
Posted at 5:35 PM, Jan 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-05 18:16:42-05

CLEVELAND — A mother desperate for help reached out to News 5 after feeling hopeless due to a leak in her apartment, leaving her concerned for her and her family’s safety.

“All I want is for that to be fixed, that’s all I want,” said Toria Ferguson.

When we arrived at Toria Ferguson’s apartment early Wednesday morning, we met an emotional mother of three young boys who told News 5 she felt hopeless due to her living conditions.

“I don't feel strong at all,” said Ferguson. “I just feel like I want to give up, and I feel like I've already given up because it's been days where I just sit here, like I don't even know who to call.”

Since August, Ferguson says she's had water leaking on her floor, leading to additional problems for her and her family.

“I can't cook in there,” said Ferguson. “I can't walk in there. We can barely lay in our beds because of the bugs and flies, like I'm watching flies fly around your head right now," she said to reporter Remi Murrey.

Ferguson says she reached out to her property manager multiple times, and claims they told her they would make hotel accommodations this past Monday to start working to fix the issue.

But Ferguson says she still saw no action, so she gave us a call.

“I don't know what to do,” said Ferguson. “I can't fix this.”

After speaking with Ferguson, News 5 brought her and the property manager together to clear any confusion between the two parties in order to figure out the next steps.

The property manager claims Ferguson denied workers entrance to do an inspection they say was needed before work could begin on the unit.

They tell News 5 they then planned to get her a hotel.

Ferguson admitted to their claim, saying she feared their work would involve loud noises, which she says would harm her five-year-old-son who has a rare genetic disorder.

“The drilling and the loud noises kind of messes with my baby’s ear and his eardrums,” explained Ferguson.

Very shortly after, Ferguson and the property manager came to an understanding, and within an hour, she allowed workers to enter, not expecting the inspection would go as it did.

“They've did this process before, so I thought the inspection was something totally different from like the cameras and everything,” said Ferguson.

But she was relieved to finally hear that she and her family would soon have arrangements at a hotel.

“We can go to sleep without bugs crawling on us, and flies crawling on us,” said Ferguson. “Somewhere safe where my kids can do normal stuff like walk around without having to walk in water.”

While this is a positive outcome for Ferguson and her family, Consumer Watchdog Program Director Teresa Murray says not many cases end like this, so it's important to get information in writing, or to record the conversation, and then keep track of it.

“In the state of Ohio, you can record a phone conversation as long as one of the parties knows that the recording is occurring, and if someone doesn't have the means to record a phone conversation then at the very least kind of keep your own diary log,” said Consumer Watchdog Program Director Teresa Murray at U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

This way, Murray says, you'll be prepared.

“If you can show that you have your act in gear and you mean business, you're more likely to get results,” said Murray.

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