CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A mother of five is now homeless after she says she was forced to move out of an apartment that was infested with roaches and mold.
It happened at the Coachwood Apartments in Westwood. The mother moved into an apartment there in March, but after making several complaints to her landlord, the city and the health department she eventually had to move out. Now she’s fighting to get her deposit back.
Richarda Gottenbusch says her brief stay at Coachwood Apartments is a nightmare that won’t end. She said she first noticed the ceiling in the bathroom was leaking. She says she pointed it out to the landlord and he promised it would be fixed. However, as time went on, she says maintenance never made the repairs which created a mold issue.
“My kids were constantly sneezing coughing, had runny noses," she said. "I took two of my children just to get cleaned out from Children’s just because it was so hard for them to breathe.”
She says the problems didn’t stop there. A week after she moved in, she says roaches also started settling in.
“I would unscrew my daughter’s bottle -- they’d be under the cap. There you could set your plate down for five minutes, run to the bathroom, and come back and have numerous roaches in your food," she said.
Gottenbusch sent photos to FOX19 of what she says are roaches invading her refrigerator.
“I stayed up many nights crying because I would watch my kids -- you could see them crawling on my kids and I’d be there in the middle of the night flicking roaches off of my kids," she said.
The owner of Coachwood Apartments spoke with FOX19 off camera. He said the tenants' living conditions are causing the roaches and that it is not an issue with the building. A city inspector found several violations in the apartment and the owner was ordered to exterminate, repair doors, and to replace broken plaster in the bathroom.
Gottenbusch says after she made a complaint to the city her landlord sent her a 30-day eviction notice forcing her to move out and kept her $1,300 deposit.
“We don’t have a home, you know? I don’t know where we’re going, so -- to tell your 3-year-old son that, that’s hurtful," she said.
The owner says Gottenbusch was evicted because she stopped paying her last three months of rent. She shared documents with FOX19 saying she received a letter from management June 18 saying her rent is current. Then, on June 28, she said she received a letter that read, in part: “We have decided to end leasing with you and July will be the last month of rent accepted. Please use the next 30 days to vacate the premises.”
Gottenbush says she didn’t pay the rent in July because of the eviction and told the landlord to take it out of her deposit. She is now working with legal aid to try to get her money back.
The owner of Coachwood says he called the city inspector Tuesday is working to correct the violations. The city says if it’s not done in a timely manner he will be fined.