Revisiting the census: a suggestion for preserving and increasing the population of Cleveland Heights

An open letter to Mayor Edward J. Kelley; Vice Mayor Phyllis L. Evans, and Council Members Cheryl L. Stephens, Mark A. Tumeo, Dennis R. Wilcox, Bonita W. Caplan and Kenneth Montlack

Honorable Mayor, Vice Mayor and Council Members,

The purpose of this letter is to open a public discussion about how to encourage temporary rental occupants to stay as permanent, homeowning residents.

In reviewing the data and information provided in "Fewer Residents, more diversity in Heights cities," as published in the April issue of the Heights Observer, I noticed that an important factor in preserving and growing the city's population may not be sufficiently addressed by the city administration. I refer to the impact of the city's policies concerning housing preservation enforcement as it relates to landlord-tenant relations.

My impression is that there is reluctance to enforce ordinary housing standards in single-home rental units. Normal safety standards, such as windows that can be secured, are overlooked, leaving tenants vulnerable to monetary loss, physical risk, and landlord abuse. This, in turn, may result in short-term tenants moving on and leaving the area instead of purchasing homes and settling down.

To open the conversation, please take a look at a first floor window in a rental house in Cleveland Heights. My observations include a lack of storm window on the first floor, peeling paint and rotting wood, and an unstable frame. To keep out the wind, the occupant stuffed plastic between the screen and window. This ground-floor window cannot be secured to discourage, let alone keep out, burglars. A large pipe right below the window makes unauthorized entry even easier.
Here's a question to the mayor and council members: When a Cleveland Heights building inspector makes the periodic visit to this property, and sees this window, what steps would you expect him or her to take?
I hope that you--Mayor Kelley, Vice Mayor Evans, and Council Members--will respond, and that the Heights Observer will publish your responses. Thank you.

Elisheva Rubin
Bendemeer Road, Cleveland Heights

Elisheva Rubin

Elisheva Rubin
Bendemeer Road
Cleveland Hts.

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 10:40 AM, 05.03.2011