Local 12 Investigates: Tenant worries about building maintenance

MOUNT WASHINGTON, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) — A Mount Washington man said after his apartment flooded his landlord failed to respond to some serious concerns in the building. Frequently when Local 12 gets involved in stories like that the last place a landlord wants to be is in front of the cameras. But in some ways it was not a usual story and certainly not a usual landlord.For nearly three weeks, Wally Stropes has lived with a bed spread across his kitchen door. He hopes it’s keeping the smell and mold on the other side. 2:30 in the morning Jan. 11, the radiator in Wally’s kitchen virtually exploded.”It was terrible,” he said. “Water just pouring out; the whole boiler was just pouring out and the water was so hot I could barely even stand in it. So I pulled the range and that’s what I was concerned about.”With water flooding the floor Wally also noticed the range had a floor plug; a possible electrocution threat. He called the fire department and his landlord but not before the water soaked the carpet and pad in his dining area. Looking at the rusted pipe and fitting it was easy to understand why the radiator blew apart. Wally and his landlord have been going back and forth ever since about repairs.”And he wasn’t gonna contact me, until I called you and I informed him this is not the way we’re gonna do things. You’ve got responsibilities as a building owner to provide safe and healthy environment for all your tenants,” Wally said.Wally was also in the basement when a neighbor was taking a shower. The basement ceiling clearly showed long term water damage. But owner Mike Chambers said he wasn’t aware of any such problems when he bought the building in May. The landlord and his tenant clearly aren’t getting along very well.”I’m not a bad landlord,” said Chambers. “Don’t make me out to be one. I will take care of this immediately.”One of the sticking points has been a plan by the landlord to steam clean Wally’s carpet with Clorox to kill any possible mold growth. Wally said he thinks it needs a lot more. While Local 12 News was in the apartment, the landlord bled the bathroom radiator and got it working again.The apartments were clearly in better shape than many of the ones Local 12 has shown. And Chambers is a bit of a different landlord. He agreed to meet with Local 12 and walk through the issues. He also seemed willing to deal with his tenant in a pretty reasonable fashion.The radiator finally got replaced Monday, Feb. 2, 22 days after it blew. As for the structural issues, still waiting to hear what a building inspector has to say. Someone from the health department has been out recently and told Wally, she didn’t think there was a mold issue in the apartment.An update on a story Local 12 reported Monday, Feb. 2. Tenants in Fehr Woods Apartments were without water for five days until late Monday when Local 12 News got involved along with legal aid. Their landlord, Ernie Stahman, had told the residents that he didn’t have money to pay the water bill until all of them paid their rent. While the water came back on, one of the residents called and told Local 12 Wednesday night the heat was shut off. Their landlord now said he didnt have money to pay his Duke bill again. Local 12 News contacted legal aid and attorneys there are working on how to get the heat back on for the residents.If you have issues with a problem landlord, let us know. You can send us a message whoownsit@local12.com.Follow Rich Jaffe on Twitter @rajaffe, and LIKE him on Facebook.

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