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City of Akron passes legislation prohibiting housing discrimination, including against tenant's income

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Posted at 2:40 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 14:40:55-04

AKRON, Ohio — The City of Akron has now made it illegal for landlords to discriminate against a prospective renter based on his or her income, like housing assistance or a nonprofit source.

Mayor Dan Horrigan announced the measure Tuesday Akron City Council passed two pieces of housing legislation aimed at protecting renters in Akron.

The legislation received support from 10 council members, with the remaining members, council persons Russell Neal, Mike Freeman and Sharon Connor abstaining from the vote.

The two pieces of legislation, commonly referred to as “pay to stay” and “source of income protections” will do the following:

  • Prohibit housing discrimination based on any individual’s lawful source of income. For example, a landlord would be prohibited from treating a prospective tenant differently (e.g. refusing to review their application) simply because they receive housing assistance from a government or non-profit source. Tenants using non-traditional forms of payment can still be rejected or evicted for any non-discriminatory reason.
  • Require landlords to accept full payment of back-owed rent and late fees if a tenant provides the funds before an eviction action is finalized. Eviction actions can still proceed on any other relevant basis (e.g. failure to comply with lease terms, damage to property, etc.).
  • Limit fees for late rent to $25 or 8% of the monthly rental amount, whichever is larger.

The passing of anti-discrimination related to housing comes in the middle of a pandemic that has brought housing issues like evictions and discrimination to the forefront.

The City of Akron has one of the highest eviction rates in the state at 6.06% in 2016, which is double the state average at 3.49%, according to the city.

“The pandemic has brought to the forefront some long-standing issues with housing segregation and discrimination against low-income Akronites, and disproportionately households of color,” Council President Margo Sommerville added. “Now, with these legal protections in place, we must start the necessary process of working with landlords, renters, and community partners to ensure these laws are more than just words on paper.”

Need help? Complaints of source of income discrimination will be investigated by the Akron Civil Rights Commission. Information about how to file a complaint is available here or by calling (330) 375-2030.

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