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'It’s borderline abuse': Some residents of East Cleveland's Crystal Tower Apartment still don’t have heat

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Posted at 6:26 AM, Jan 14, 2022

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — News 5 has reported on heating issues at Crystal Tower Apartment in East Cleveland. On Wednesday, officials from Odin Properties, the owners of the complex, told News 5 it was fully restored, but tenants said that’s not the case.

Raechel Toensing moved into Crystal Tower 4 months ago. A majority of her time in her new apartment has been spent in the dark and in the cold.

“It’s been so cold you can’t get comfortable. The pipes are cold, my feet are cold, everything is. No amount of blankets can help with that,” she said.

Toensing said her apartment hasn’t had working heat for 10 weeks and when she has tried to use space heaters, it blew a fuse in her apartment which resulted in her also not having electricity in her living and bedroom area.

“It can’t handle the amount of power it takes,” she said. “You don’t have electricity to even run space heaters.”

She showed News 5 maintenance request after request after request.

“I have not had heat since they turned it on at the end of October and I submitted my first maintenance request Nov. 3 and I still do not have heat,” she said. “No solution to it, just ‘sorry for the inconvenience. This is out of our control.’”

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Toensing stays at friends’ houses to avoid her own apartment.

“It’s hard. You work really hard to be independent and be able to provide for yourself and I feel like I’m impeding on other people’s lives because I’ve been dealing with this for so long,” she said. “I just resorted to sleeping in my car one night and I notified the leasing office and said I slept in my car tonight.”

She’s not alone. News 5 spoke to several residents who said while heat is on for some tenants in the building, other residents aren’t so lucky. One man said he is working overtime so he doesn’t have to go home to his cold apartment.

“It upsets me to think that people’s grandmothers live here, children and animals. It’s borderline abuse, you know? Heat is a necessity. You can’t live without heat,” said Toensing.

Over text message, an official from Odin Properties said “Heat should be restored for all tenants. Please ask any who contact you to reach out to the office.”

News 5 went to East Cleveland officials for answers but received the runaround, too.

City Council President said it was Mayor Brandon L. King’s responsibility to put pressure on the property owners, the Office of Housing and Development forwarded our request for comment to Mayor King’s office, where the phone went to voicemail. After News 5 called again, a spokesperson for the mayor said it was in the Housing and Development’s realm and said someone would call us back from that department, but we never received a call and got a voicemail when we called back.

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