Housing Authority investigating landlord after reports of violations

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A NBC4 investigation is getting results.

The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority is looking into a Franklin County landlord after we uncovered multiple reports of housing violations and failed inspections.

Rodents, leaks and mold are some of the issues people with Section 8 housing said they are dealing with under property manager, Jeff Ihlenfield.

“Nobody should have to live in environments like his properties,” tenant, Cheetara Peterson said.

Across the county, 106 of his units are registered with the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority and since the beginning of the year he failed 47 of their housing inspections.

“Any failure is alarming. We keep track of it,” VP of Housing Choice Vouchers, Chad Meek said.

Less than a week ago, Vickie Myers said her home failed the inspection.

We spoke to her last week after we found that Ihlenfield had 11 active housing violations with the city.

“I think he preyed on the underclass,” Myers said.

Two of his units are on on the abatement list after failed inspections weren’t corrected.

“A landlord can have up to six per year at their properties, if they do then they are put in suspended state,” Meek said.

Meek said since we brought this landlord to his attention, they are now working with the city.

“We can suspend a landlord that had a numerous amounts of findings through code enforcement and not wait until six abatement,” Meek said.

If Ihlenfield is pulled from their program, Meek said 106 families would get vouchers and be forced to find new places to live once their leases are up.

“I have no way of moving, I don’t have that type of money,” Myers said.

However, Meek said he can’t ensure that they will find a place.

“There is already a shortage in Columbus for affordable housing,” Meek said.

Even with the risk of not having a roof over their heads, some of his tenants said he needs to be held accountable.

“It’s not fair at all to nobody,” Peterson said.

NBC4’s Danielle Avitable spoke with Ihlenfield’s attorney and he called him an above average landlord.

He also said if the housing authority or city doesn’t think he is keeping properties in exceptional shape, then it speaks volumes for those who are keeping housing standards.

As we mentioned last week, the Franklin County Auditor’s office is also investigating Ihlenfield.

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