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Northeast Ohio tenants fight to have air conditioning restored amidst heat wave

Posted at 10:41 PM, May 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-30 08:59:08-04

Some Northeast Ohio renters find themselves in a battle with their landlords to have their apartment air conditioning restored as the region endures record-setting high temperatures.

Rose Carter said she's been without air conditioning in her unit at the Archway Apartments in Shaker Heights since last summer. Now that temperatures are climbing once again, she has been after management to make repairs.

"It's hot, I don't know how they expect people to live in these sort of conditions," Carter said.

On Monday, Cleveland reached a record-setting 93 degrees. On Tuesday, the city reached a record-tying 91 degrees.

"I myself have asthma. There are other tenants as well who have asthma. There are elderly people in the building. This is a dangerous situation for anyone who lives here," Carter said.

Carter said she was promised repairs would be made numerous times, but so far she's been unable to get any answers.

Cleveland Housing Court Judge Ron O'Leary said tenants can contact their city housing court or city building department to get advice on their rights when battling to have apartment air conditioning repaired.

O'Leary said in Cleveland air conditioning issues are not considered a code violation, therefore a tenant cannot apply to have their rent held in a court escrow account until the landlord makes repairs.

However, if air conditioning is written as required within the lease, or is listed in advertising or information about an apartment unit, it may be subject to housing court action.

O'Leary said tenants can also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or take their case to small claims court.

In some cases, renters can hire an attorney or get representation from legal aid in trying to get their air conditioning restored.

News 5 contacted KRI Properties Inc. about the situation at the Archway Apartments where Carter lives. The company responded quickly and said it will be starting on central air conditioning repairs to 33 units at the complex on May 31.

The company said it is also sending crews to Home Depot to purchase temporary air conditioning units to help tenants deal with hot temperatures while permanent repairs are on-going.

Meanwhile, Carter pointed to KRI Properties' website information on her apartment unit, which listed central air conditioning as a featured amenity.

Carter urged other tenants to fight for their rights.

"We are paying money for a service that we deserve to receive," said Carter.  "You're not doing us a favor, we're paying you, and they need to realize that."