The CLEVELAND TENANTS ORGANIZATION (CTO) was founded in 1975 to serve as an information and advocacy agency, to publicize the benefits of the Ohio Landlord Tenant Act of 1974, and to encourage renters to utilize its provisions so that unacceptable living conditions would be promptly addressed and remedied.
The Cleveland Tenants Organization was made possible through grants from the CLEVELAND and GUND FOUNDATIONS. Its first president was Daniel R. Elliott, Jr., and its first executive director was John Battiste. During its first 2 decades of existence, the Cleveland Tenants Organization has been involved in various ways to improve tenants' living conditions. In 1979 CTO established a telephone hotline to answer renters' questions. It lobbied to have the Cleveland Housing Court established and has fought for more comprehensive property inspection procedures. It has advocated the principles of fair housing and worked for their enforcement, serving as a mediator in landlord-tenant disputes. It has continued to serve as an educational forum to make sure that renters are fully aware of their landlord's responsibilities to them. Approximately 10,000 individuals used CTO's services in 1995.