CINCINNATI — Residents of a Mt. Auburn apartment building are speaking out against their landlords who are forcing them to move.
Common areas of 2341 Burnet Avenue will have electricity shut off if the residents don't pay a $1,000 Duke Energy bill in addition to utilities in their own units. The public utility disconnection notice was the last straw, residents said, and it prompted them to take their concerns public.
"I hate to leave this place," resident Cory Cook said. "I like the rent. It's very convenient to my job."
He said affordable apartments like his are an increasingly rare find in the area.
Cook and his neighbors found out in December they'd have to move because the recently-sold building is being remodeled. Its owners said it will be affordable housing again one day, but for now everyone has to leave.
"Affordable housing for us means a lot, and here is what we call home," resident Aliah Englemon said. "We've been here a very long time. I've been in this community since 1994."
A legal representative of Kingsley and Company, the real estate firm owned by Cincinnati Bengal Chinedum Ndukwe, said the company is connecting its former tenants to local organizations that can help them find new places to live and transition out of their current apartments. Only one remaining resident has a lease.
"All the few remaining tenants that have nowhere to go are asking for a little more time and help with funding, not organizations that do not have the means to help," resident Heather said.
Longtime residents said rising rents citywide make starting over harder. The agencies tasked with helping them find new housing take on a bigger workload every day.
"Until we change laws to say you can't just force people out of their homes without proper cause, we will keep having these street fights throughout the city," said Josh Spring, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition.
Ohio laws require residents be given a 30-day notice by their landlords to vacate the property.