Pay-to-Stay draws attention after end of eviction moratorium

Cities around Cleveland pass ordinances
Pay to Stay
Posted at 6:00 AM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 18:20:03-04

CLEVELAND — It's been nearly a week since the Supreme Court of the United States ended the most recent federal eviction moratorium, allowing landlords to take tenants to court for eviction proceedings.

Now, some cities around Cleveland have enacted ordinances that allow a Pay-to-Stay model for tenants facing eviction. Simply put, Pay-to-Stay means that if a tenant is summoned to court for an eviction, they can stop the proceeding if they have the full amount of rent owed, plus any late fees.

Not every city has such an ordinance.

And now that the eviction moratorium has ended, some cases that have been waiting in housing courts around the country can become active.

In Cuyahoga County, cases for nonpayment will start if the landlord that filed the eviction files a motion to start the proceeding.

That action alarmed housing advocates like Molly Martin.

"What most people don't know is that Ohio is one of five states where a landlord can evict a renter for being just one day late on rent," Martin said.

As the director of Strategic Initiatives for the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, she said getting information to tenants about their rights is vital.

"You know, nine out of 10 landlords are represented in eviction court," she said. "Nine of 10 tenants are not."

That's why attention turned to a Pay-to-Stay ordinance passed by several cities in the Cleveland area.

But, for landlords, it's a business model that may not work.

"Nobody really considers the landlords," said Ralph McGreevy with the Northern Ohio Apartment Association.

When he sees Pay-to-Stay, he sees a deep impact on small landlords who are trying to make ends meet.

He said it's a stop gap, not a solution.

"There's nothing in that that cures the renter's problem," he said.

McGreevy said the solution is on the tenants to live within their means, not cities to pass ordinances.

"There's many, many units for people to choose from," he said. "There's plenty of places to live."

With federal protection gone, more than 3 million households in the US could face eviction.