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Landlord fails to appear

Defendants miss fourth court date

CHESAPEAKE — A Huntington landlord who is being sued in a dispute involving rental property in Chesapeake missed another court date on Tuesday.

Ramona Hall is being sued by tenant Rhonda Jones, after it was alleged that water service was lost after the rent was paid at a property on a private drive in Chesapeake.

Jones said although utilities were included in the rent, she and other tenants allegedly lost their water service due to unpaid bills on the part of the property owner. The meter covers multiple residences.

This was the fourth time Hall has failed to show in Lawrence County Municipal Court on the matter.

Mark Cardosi, of Southeastern Ohio Legal Service, represented Jones and two others, Francis Fox and Amber Deeson, who also had suits against Hall.

Cardosi said that, in addition to failing to show for court, Hall is now refusing to accept certified mail on the matter.

He said he now intends to seek a default judgment against Hall.

However, he said bankruptcy can exempt a landlord in such matters.

“The question in a civil suit is ‘What did I win?’” he said. “If you win and the other party is in apposition to pay, that’s great. If not, how do you get what you’re looking for? Which, in this case, is decent and sanitary housing.”

In an interview with The Tribune following the hearing, Jones and the other tenants showed copies of a notice to leave the premises that they said they each received on Saturday from the new property manager for Hall. The notice said they needed to vacate their residences by Wednesday.

“I’m sorry, but I’m not leaving,” Jones said, as she did not feel the property manager had the standing to make the demand.

Cardosi has worked with the water company to get service turned on, though tenants have had to pay the water company, Aqua America, while still paying the rent, which she said has been going into escrow.