BROOKLYN, Ohio (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team is investigating claims that some of your neighbors were forced out into the cold, told to move out of their apartment building with a less than 10-day notice.
Edward Molzan, Grady Duffey Jr. and Mary Duffey, filed a lawsuit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, saying the landlord of their apartment building issued notices to all tenants on Dec. 28 that the building was deemed uninhabitable and they need to turn in their keys by Jan. 6.
“They just decided to throw everybody out while they were repairing,” Duffey told the I-Team.
Duffey said he and his wife lived at the apartment building for more than 12 years.
A spokesperson for the landlord, Re/Max Haven Realty, replied to our email seeking to discuss the issue, saying since there is pending litigation, they are unable to comment at this time.
A notice given to the residents on Dec. 28 states the winter storm on Dec. 23 caused “catastrophic damage to the building from boiler failure/freezing, plumbing repairs and damage.”
The notice further stated the water had to be turned off to prevent further damage.
“We will be forgiving any past due balances on your account, not charging for January rent, and preparing a check for your security deposit to be given to each resident on January 6, 2023 (during the time frame of 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.), when we have a staff member on site to get all keys that each resident has, sign a mutual release and key return form,” the notice stated. “All keys must be returned, the units will be rekeyed and we will have each resident sign a mutual release and key return form to get the deposit check.”
“Some of them were locked out. They changed the locks,” said Rob Slattery, an activist in Brooklyn who is trying to help those that lived in the building. “People came home from being out of town on the holiday weekend to find this notice and they came home on New Year’s Eve and found they have to be out by the 6th. It’s unrealistic.”
According to the lawsuit, there are 15 apartments inside the building. We are being told that some of the residents that live there are elderly and some are disabled.
“As of this writing, the defendants are coercing tenants to leave the building because of the defendants’ own failure to provide those tenants heat,” the lawsuit states.
The suit filed by Attorneys Peter Traska and Michelle Traska also alleges the defendants are “engaging in unlawful ‘self help’ and evicting all tenants of the building without any legal process whatsoever.”
Duffey, who called the building his home for years, says he now wants his day in court.
“They violated our civil rights, our renters rights and just every moral issue,” Duffey said. “Who throws people out in the middle of this?”