‘Clear retaliation;’ Residents face eviction after speaking out about living conditions

OXFORD, Ohio — Some residents in an Ohio apartment complex complained to the city council last week about safety and living conditions, only to receive eviction notices from the complex not long afterward.

The residents of Parkview Arms Apartments and Oxford’s Vice Mayor and Chantel Raghu feel the notices were given in retaliation, our news partners at WCPO-9 TV reported.

The complaints detailed insect infestations and issues relating to drug use.

“I found roach carcasses everywhere,” said Lacey Hill, a former resident of Parkview Arms apartments, who talked about her breaking point and why she decided to move out in January. “When my child couldn’t take a bath, because she was so scared to literally take a bath, because roaches were coming out of the walls.”

Hill showed WCPO-9 TV videos from inside her apartment which showed several roaches in the bathroom and in the kitchen.Last week, Gary Landrum showed reporters inside of a now vacant apartment, where they saw roaches, holes in the wall, and a dirty carpet.

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“Walking into something nasty,” said Landrum. “If the job doesn’t get done, it just goes away.”

Landrum said residents deal with property management not fulfilling maintenance requests, which go unanswered.

“We knew this was going on, but it’s very challenging to get residents to want to speak out about it,” said Raghu.

Raghu spoke in support of residents last week during a city council meeting after some residents like Landrum spoke about their experiences living at Parkview Arms.

“Since the meeting, we get termination notices,” said Landrum, showing his notice that says ‘non-payment of rent.’

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Landrum said not only did he pay his rent, but he never got a notice about his rent being late. He feels he got the eviction notice because he publicly criticized the property management company at the city council meeting.

Raghu agrees the eviction notices feel targeted.

“Yes, I think those four people, for them all to get a notice on the same day and on top of it the claim is that they were overdue on their rent, but they were never given a three-day notice that they were overdue on their rent,” said Raghu. “They were never given an opportunity to comply with that, so this is something that is retaliatory in my opinion, and under the guise of not paying rent.”

WCPO-9 TV reached out to LSJ Management, the property management company behind Parkview Arms, but was told the property manager was not in the office. When Reporters visited the apartments last week, they spoke with a representative from the property management company who did not want to be named but said she was unaware of any concerns regarding safety and management.

Raghu said the city may need to intervene even sooner, possibly even suing the complex owners.

“I think we would have to talk as a council,” said Raghu. “It really seems that this is pretty brazen behavior and very dangerous behavior too, very clear retaliation. It’s my opinion that that time is now.”

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Last week, she said the property has been a high drain on police, fire, and EMS resources and she wants to introduce legislation to allow the city to get more involved.

“We need to make sure that we have the tools in our pocket to hold the property, the property owners accountable,” she said.

She wants to introduce a property nuisance ordinance, which would allow city officials to deem problem properties a nuisance.

The issue came to a head after a fire in a unit inside the complex two weeks ago. Oxford City Manager Doug Elliott said tenants had torn out their smoke alarm after it allegedly had been regularly going off.

Elliott said issues with smoke detectors were a major issue at the property during the city’s last inspection in 2022, but issues were resolved after the inspection.

“A lot of the smoke detectors were not there and many of them were not operable,” he said during a city council meeting.

Currently, four residents are facing eviction after speaking out about the apartment complex.

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