Renters raise questions at Tenant Association Meeting

NOW: Renters raise questions at Tenant Association Meeting

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- There's been conversation over what renters rights are and what can be done to get landlords to fix issues.

Renters at Cedar Glen have been dealing with chronic property management issues, like losing hot water multiple times this winter.

After Tuesday Night's Tenant's Union meeting, they finally feel like a step is being made in the right direction.

"Would you have your grandchildren or anyone you love living under these conditions?," asked Cedar Glen resident Todd Bogunia who got emotional discussing his two-year struggle of regularly losing heat and hot water, never being sure either would work.

Conditions he and neighbors call unbearable.

"But these people at Cedar Glen, and Beacon Heights, and Carl King Apartments, and even Hillcrest don't feel like they have a home environment... a safe and affordable place to stay," said Rodney Gadson who formed the South Bend Tenant Association 5 years ago in hopes to educate tenants on their rights, and to give them the tools to advocate for themselves.

In hopes tenants can find power in numbers, Gadson said the group has been in contact with Cedar Glen's Indianapolis based property management group, Barrett and Stokely to find a solution.

"You need to have numbers to actually get people to listen, and get them to act," Gadson stressed the importance of coming together.

Portage Township Trustee, Jason Critchlow has sad he's taking legal action against Cedar Glen's owner.

At Tuesday's meeting, Critchlow said his team has been doing inspections, making contact with property management, and the Attorney Genral's office who said they've opened up an investigation.

"The short-term solution... to provide relief to the residents of Cedar Glen...but long term we would like this to have some kind of citywide impact, so that other residents who are facing these same issues will have some kind of avenue for recourse,' said Critchlow hoping for short and long-term solutions.

Bogunia, has been advocating for himself and neighbors since the start, he says he left today's meeting with new tools to take action. 

"It brought me peace because I know that we are getting real help now. So if you live out at Cedar Glen and you're watching this right now, don't be afraid speak out because they more that do the more they can help us," he added.

The tenant union is asking renters to document issues, and try to get atleast 20 neighbors involved.

There will also be a legal advice session February 15th from 1 to 4 at the Francis Branch of the St, Joseph County Library on Ironwood.

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