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New legislation being introduced to keep Cuyahoga County renters in their homes

Downtown Cleveland.
Posted at 6:30 AM, Mar 16, 2023

CUYAHOGA COUNTY — Across Downtown Cleveland, there are apartments on nearly every corner filled with renters who make monthly payments to call these places home.

But, sometimes the road gets tough where tenants can’t afford to pay due to financial constraints.

With this economy and people not being able to pay their rent, it’s definitely a big deal,” said Cuyahoga County resident, Matthew Foell.

In a way to protect residents, Cuyahoga County Councilman Dan Miller wants to extend renter protections countywide.

Right now, only eight municipalities in the county have so called “pay-to-stay” rules in place.

Ohio is currently one of only five states where you can be one day late on your rent and still be evicted. You can bring in your rent a day late and the landlord can say, 'Well, I’m not accepting it, I'm evicting you anyway,'” said Miller, who represents the 2nd District.

Yet, if Miller’s legislation passes, he says it would give renters some relief, which Foell, who currently rents in Downtown Cleveland, says would help boost the area.

I think it will make the area more organic especially for growth and things to do down here,” said Foell.

Stephan Hawkins is a landlord in Trumbull County.

He told News 5 he wants to see laws that benefit both sides: tenants and property owners.

“We have to make sure that our bills are paid too, so it’s trying to find that equilibrium and that balance for everybody,” said Hawkins.

In a statement from the Northern Ohio Apartment Association – President Marcia Woznicki says the following:

“Landlords are very accommodating to and have been practicing pay to stay for a long while.  ERAP is welcomed under most circumstances.  These practices are most often in everyone’s best interest. However, there are sometimes mitigating circumstances under which a landlord may wish to make a business decision not to accept full payment.  If a resident has been a habitual late payer which impacts cash flow and the landlord’s ability to manage the property, the landlord may wish to be able to legally refuse payment.”

“We want to make sure that people have places to live but the flip side of that is that we still have costs every month,” said Hawkins.

Miller expects it will take time before this legislation passes, but he and others remain hopeful.

“I think everybody deserves a place to live. It should be a basic human right,” said Nick Keatley, a Cuyahoga County resident.

A lot of people might think ‘Oh this doesn’t have anything to do with me’ but it’s still our people, the community so it starts with us,” said Ronald Smith, a Cuyahoga County resident.

RELATED: Cleveland passes 'Pay to Stay' ordinance to protect renters from eviction

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