Cleveland woman gets eviction notice, loses Section 8 after complaints about unsafe conditions

Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 11:45 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A young Cleveland mother was served with an eviction notice just one day after she asked Cleveland Building and Housing to do an inspection on her Harvard duplex.

24-year-old Ashley Abernathy, 24, told 19 News she’s living a nightmare after moving into a duplex on Harvard Avenue in July.

Hours after moving in, Abernathy learned the sinks in the kitchen and bathroom won’t drain, as well as the bathtub.

Abernathy showed our 19 News Team that most of the electrical outlets in the unit don’t work, and the situation is so bad, there is no working outlet for her to use her stove.

She also had to move her refrigerator in front of her sink to get to the only functioning kitchen outlet.

“It’s not okay, it’s not safe, it’s not healthy and I have a 4-year-old asthmatic daughter who can’t even be here because it’s not livable,” Abernathy said.

But, there’s more issues that cause the young mother even more health and safety concerns.

“Feces are in the basement. We were getting this weird smell from the vents and one day I went down and water, toilet paper rolls, urine, feces are just floating at the bottom of the stairs in the basement,” she explained.

Even the carpet that was in the hallway presented a tripping hazard.

Abernathy said she only went to Cleveland Building and Housing after she claims the management company JBS Realty and Parma Public Housing failed to take action.

But, she believes her decision lead to retaliation and an eviction notice.

“Not a day later, I received a three day notice,” she stated.

With no idea where she’ll live now, the Cleveland woman admitted she used foul language out of frustration when addressing the issue, and she said that cost her the Section 8 voucher that covered her rent.

Cleveland Councilman Joe Jones told 19 News he’s appalled at how she was treated, and angered that anyone would expect her to live this way.

“She should not be kicked out on the street because she did not want to live in these conditions. My heart bled out thinking this is how we treat people?” he stated.

The Harvard Road home was cited with nine code violations by the City of Cleveland, but, Abernathy and Councilman Jones question how the unit passed an inspection in the first place.

“We’ve already cited this property, and I’m going to ask for their permit, their occupancy permit to be pulled.”

The property manager with JBS Realty Jeff Swiecicki declined an on-camera interview, but told 19 News that Abernathy was uncooperative.

He claimed she failed to let plumbers and electricians into the home after appointments were made.

Abernathy disputed that’s not true.

When asked how the Harvard Avenue home passed an inspection in the first place, the property manager just credited the work of the inspector.

If you or someone you know receives an three day eviction notice, please contact Cleveland’s Housing Court to find out how the eviction process works and your rights under the law.