By Mollie Lair
City of Cincinnati
The City of Cincinnati sued the owners of the Williamsburg Apartments of Cincinnati for maintaining substandard living conditions at the premises. The lawsuit was filed by the Quality of Life Division of the City Solicitor’s Office and will be heard in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.
Issues at the 976-unit apartment complex in Hartwell include water damage and mold from leaking pipes, blocked sewer lines, and hazardous wiring. Recent incidents include water service being disconnected during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays for some residents.
At a press conference today, Mayor Aftab Pureval and City Manager Sheryl Long spoke about the issues at the complex. They were joined by City Solicitor Emily Smart Woerner and Mark Manning, Chief Council of the Quality of Life Division.
“I want to be clear that we aren’t talking about a one-time violation here. This is a pattern, and we’re filing today’s lawsuit to put an end to that pattern,” Mayor Aftab said. “Williamsburg Apartments should have been accountable to tenants. They should have been accountable to the City. And they simply haven’t been.”
“Despite our efforts as a City, we do not believe ownership has shown a strong commitment to quickly and comprehensively responding to this critical situation. It is their responsibility to provide a safe place for these residents to call home. And we are here to hold them accountable,” said City Manager Sheryl Long.
The Law department has explained that “The City engaged the owners in order to fix the problems and avoid litigation. While the owners say they are committed to making repairs, our experience to date raises significant questions about their ability to fix the problems in an acceptable timeframe.”
The lawsuit documents the nuisance conditions at the property and requests that the court order the owners to fix them in a timely manner. If the owners fail, the lawsuit also requests the court appoint a receiver, who steps into the shoes of the property owners, to make the necessary repairs.