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In-Depth: Cleveland tenants left concerned about eviction warning notices

In-Depth: CLE tenants left concerned about eviction warning notices
Posted at 10:11 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 00:29:19-05

CLEVELAND — The snow-filled deep freeze that's gripped Northeast Ohio in recent days has left some Cleveland tenants with even more to worry about after 15 residents at Cleveland's Monticello Apartments received eviction warning notices on their doors.

The complex located on East 71st Street and Carnegie Avenue has just changed management, with ME Real Estate Cleveland taking over earlier this month.

Tenants like Charmayne Harris, who is trying to raise children at the complex, said the eviction warning took her by surprise since new management hadn't reached out to residents individually before issuing the stern warning.

“To not even try to communicate with us and ask us if there’s anything they can do, just try to put us out," Harris said.

“They spent time putting a letter on everybody’s door individually, you think they could have knocked and try to talk to us about it, but that didn’t happen.”

Harris said new management should have tried to work things out with residents first, especially with a federal COVID-19 eviction moratorium in place and the winter storm moving in.

“There are mothers in this building with a lot of small babies, there’s a lot of elderly people in here, in hospital beds and breathing machines,” Harris said.

“The conditions that we’re living in this building, on top of them trying to evict us, introducing themselves as new management and right of the bat, it’s crazy.”

Tenant John Jimenez, who was laid-off from his job due to the on-going pandemic, is hoping the new management will give residents some financial latitude until the eviction moratorium is lifted.

“There is something going on with PUA right now, which has held up my pay, so that’s why I haven’t been able to pay rent on time," Jimenez said.

"Business is business, but at a time like this I think business should take a break.”

“I feel pretty hopeless right now, trying to find some help, trying to work things out with the new landlord right now because I have nowhere to go.”

News 5 contacted the Regional Manager for ME Real Estate Cleveland and Cleveland Home Management and the company responded immediately to our story.

A company spokesperson told News 5 it will not be following through on any eviction proceedings at this time, that the notices were just standard protocol in letting residents know about the company rent payment policy.

The company spokesperson said structural and equipment repair issues were inherited from the old management team, and it's already in the process of make heating, plumbing, and other repairs at the complex.

Meanwhile, Chris Knestrick, Executive Director for the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless told News 5 he's in full support of Cleveland Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland, who is reaching out to both tenants and new management at the complex, directing them to city rental assistance resources.

“It’s unconscionable that anyone would move forward with an eviction notice on a day like today," Knestrick said.

“I hope the city would remind them there’s robust housing assistance, the Cares Act sets aside funding, and you can help your tenants apply if you’re worried about not getting the rent money you need.”

The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland continues to provide legal assistance and rental resource information on its website for tenants who are facing eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic.