© [Damir] /Adobe Stock
Eviction Prevention Program aims to reduce the number of residents required to leave their homes.
Things you need to know while renting in Cincinnati.
The most a landlord can charge a tenant in Cincinnati for late fees.
Stopping the eviction process.
Information landlords must now provide about their properties.
Hamilton County Tenant Help Center after COVID 19 pandemic
During the Coronavirus pandemic, eviction proceedings were put on hold. Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, Aftab Pureval, set up a Tenant Help Center to connect residents and landlords facing eviction with available rental assistance and options. For more information, visit the Eviction Help Center in Room 115 of the Hamilton County Justice Center or www.cincyhelpcenter.org .
Residents of Cincinnati have a few more options. On January 15, 2020, a modification was added to Landlord-Tenant Relationships, stating landlords with 25 units or more are now required to accept a renters deposit in one of three ways:
1. Rental security insurance that satisfies the following criteria:
– The insurance provider is an approved carrier licensed by, and in good standing with, the Ohio Department of Insurance.
– The coverage is effective upon the payment of the first premium and remains effective for the entire lease term.
– The coverage provided per claim is no less than the amount the landlord requires for security deposits.
Remember, premiums from the insurance policy will not be refunded if/when the renter decides to move.
2. Payment of the security deposit over a series of no less than six equal monthly installment payments, which installments shall be due on the same day as the monthly rent payment and which may be paid together with the monthly rent payment in a single transaction, absent separate agreement by the landlord and tenant.
3. Payment of a reduced security deposit, which amount shall be no more than 50% of the monthly rental rate charged for the subject rental unit.
There is a downside to one of these modifications. If the renter opts for the insurance policy, premiums on the insurance policy will not be refunded, like most deposits are.
In October of 2019, Cincinnati City Council voted almost unanimously to approve legislation designed to reduce preventable evictions. This stricter legal process will affect both landlords and tenants in the city limits. The Cincinnati Enquirer released that the city has almost 85,000 rental properties, which adds up to about 62% of all housing units here in Cincinnati, ranking amongst the highest in the Midwest.
Out of the eight motions that passed, below is an outline of the critical laws in the new Eviction Process in the City of Cincinnati you strongly need to know.
Landlords are required to register their residential rental properties in Cincinnati
Owners of residential rental properties in the city will be required to enter a registry, their contact information, the address for the property, and an emergency contact associated with the building who would be available 24 hours a day. All Residential Rental Registrations shall be accompanied by the applicable fee necessary to recover (he cost and expense of administering the registry, which fee shall not exceed $1.00 per registered rental unit. This will hold all landlords, especially the ones that live out of town, accountable for the housing conditions.
Landlords in Cincinnati are required to create a tenant information webpage
Subject to the availability of necessary appropriations, the city manager is authorized to take all necessary steps to initiate the creation of a residential tenant information webpage on the city’s website that includes information regarding, residential tenants’ rights and responsibilities, relevant federal laws applying to residential tenants. Local resources and referral information for tenants, including information regarding any and all eviction relief services offered by the City of Cincinnati.
The City of Cincinnati will create a rental inspection pilot program
Landlords in Avondale, East Price Hill and Clifton-University Heights-Fairview would participate in a rental inspection pilot program. These communities were selected due to the higher than average concentration of aging rental properties and suspected code violations. The program will require landlords whose buildings are declared a chronic nuisance or buildings who have not met safety and maintenance codes for a year or longer to pay a fee and have their building undergo an inspection. Landlords will have six months before properties would be subject to inspection. It has not been specified who exactly creates this program.
Landlords are required to adhere to unit entry restrictions
Unless it is an emergency, a landlord must give a 24 hours’ notice before entering a tenant’s unit. If they do not, landlord penalties include a fine up to $1,000 and termination of the rental agreement. Proper City officials are authorized to do all things necessary and proper to carry out these terms.
City of Cincinnati imposes a limit on late fees for residential rental properties
If the rental agreement includes a provision that authorizes the landlord to assess the tenant a fee for late payment of the monthly rent, the total amount of that late payment fee for any month may not exceed $50 or 5% of the monthly contract rent whichever amount is greater.
City of Cincinnati requires landlords to accept rent during eviction notice
If renters can pay their due rent within the three-day period where they have been given notice of eviction, the landlord will have to accept the rent payment and cannot evict the tenant or sue them for eviction.
Councilman Jeff Pastor, also a member of the Neighborhood Committee, fought hard to hold off on City Council voting on these ordinances. On his twitter page, Councilman Pastor post a stream of tweets saying:
“Finally, as Chair of the Neighborhoods Committee, I received the 67 pages Ordinances and Motions on Friday afternoon. Committee discussed them at 11 a.m. Monday. A 50-page presentation was made. There were earnest questions asked, and the Committee unanimously voted to hold.
I asked that the items not be by-leaved to Council today at 2 p.m. pursuant to rule 10.8 but they were. Why are we rushing this? I support reducing evictions but am very concerned about burdensome regulations, increased fees, targeted inspections, and other unintended consequences.”
He mentioned that many of the ordinances are verbatim the same language and request already set in place in other city ordinances. Essentially, these laws are already in place. Councilman Pastor also mentioned some of the ordinances, like the registry, could lead to increased evictions because of the costs associated with the registry, inspection fees, code enforcement costs, and improvement costs. Landlords will be likely to pass these to the renters.
He finished his point by saying “I’ve been a renter as a child and as an adult, most by necessity! Although I’ve recently been blessed with success, I WILL NEVER forget the folks were from where I started. These ordinances will embarrass our sisters and brothers who rent and add costs.”
What is affordable rent in Cincinnati?
Cincinnati renters, make up 62.7% of the city’s population. RentCafe reported that the average rent in Cincinnati is now $996. This is a 3% increase from the previous year. The most affordable neighborhoods in Cincinnati, starting at $619/month and up are West End, Carthage and Queensgate. The most expensive neighborhoods, starting at $1600/month and up are Pendleton, Over-The-Rhine, Downtown and Mt. Auburn. The average size for a Cincinnati, OH apartment is 870 square feet, but this number varies greatly depending on apartment type.
Where are the tenant and landlord training programs in Cincinnati?
In January of this year, City Council provided a one-time allotment of $227,000 for eviction prevention. After that, Mayor John Cranley made the program permanent for the 2020 Budget, which began July 1, 2019. He also pledged to put $250,000 a year himself into the program. This program is run by St. Vincent de Paul. In order to be qualified to receive assistance, one must:
– Live within the City of Cincinnati limits.
– Income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
– Have been served a formal notice to leave for failure to pay rent
* Preference will be given to households with children and those in neighborhoods with high eviction rates.
July through September, statistics show that 540 people have applied for the program. That is about 97 households. The average amount of assistance was $639 per household, totally about $62,000. For more information, or to inquire about assistance, please call 513-562-8842 ext. 771.
The City of Cincinnati also has the below programs as an introduction on how to be good landlords and good tenants.
Tenant Training Program
Cincinnati’s Tenant Training Program is offered by the City of Cincinnati Department of Buildings and the Cincinnati Law Department. This FREE training was created to provide critical information regarding tenant rights and responsibilities to those who may rent or are currently renting a property in the City of Cincinnati. Fill out the registration online.
Tenant Training Program Registration
Landlord Education Program
The Landlord Education Program is a nationally recognized program offered by the City of Cincinnati Department of Buildings and Inspections in partnership with the Cincinnati Police Department, Cincinnati Fire Department, and the Cincinnati Law Department. This FREE training was created to help guide rental property owners and managers on how they can better maintain their property to attract quality tenants and keep illegal activity out of their units.
Landlord Education Program Registration
What is the eviction rate in Cincinnati?
In 2016, there were 4,174 evictions in Cincinnati. This led the city to be listed at number 46 in the country at a 4.7% eviction rate. That evens out to 11.44 households being evicted every day. Evictions do more than displace people from their homes. It adds a bad mark to their credit history, making it hard to rent again.
In a 2017 national report, CityLab stated that Black households are most likely to be at risk for eviction. In the past year, 11.9% of black households had faced an eviction threat, as compared to 5.4%of white ones.
Even though the report does not include a race/gender breakdown, it says the number of women threatened with evictions is 4.9%, while men are slightly lower at 4.5%.
It is not shocking to know that families are the ones that suffer the most when it comes to evictions. Single parents with children face the highest rates of eviction, at 30.1%. Married couples with children are close behind, at 27.2%.
How do you feel about this new legislation? Let us know in the comments below.