Cincinnati Eviction Prevention Legislation & Rental Inspections

12 Replies

I would love for some BPer's to give feedback on the Cincinnati, Ohio Rental Inspections and legislation that was approved on Wednesday. Many of these restrictions to me seem very burdensome on landlords and infringing on their rights. Is anyone out there working on investigating this? This affects everyone that owns rental property in Cincinnati.

New Article:

https://www.fox19.com/2019/10/30/cincinnati-city-council-approves-eviction-prevention-legislation/

Generally, these laws crop up in core cities and even a ring suburb or two. For that reason, I've never done anything in those areas, I only do single family in second or third ring suburbs based on market research into the demographics. That said, the article you give shows a fairly weak implementation. Enforcement is the key, and that costs money. No mention of the cost to play along, but in my experience it's in the $150 per year range, give or take. Intrusive, yes. Will the inspection program really do anything...meh. The worst thing that can happen, probably not. Consider a little town up the road, Cleveland....the cost to participate in Section 8 is more, the registration of property, and then add on top of that the cost presented by new legislation to mitigate lead paint (landlord responsibility!) and you now have a financial disaster about to happen. What is your local Landlord Association doing?...were they even involved in scripting this thing? The option of not registering is always there, you will lose your ability to evict using the court if you do that.

@James Wilcox happening in many markets. I don't like government intervention any more than the next guy/gal. The inspections have been going on in some of my areas and are no big deal. If you think those new laws in Cincinnati suck read up on NY, LA, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and others. Screen harder and charge more. All the best!

@Aaron K. there are several issues I have with the program.

1. You must share your information with the local government. Invasion of landlord privacy. It is not ok to require landlords to be on call 24/7 because it did specify what is considered an "emergency". Ok, in general, since police can call if there is a huge issue but could be abused by the city government to text or call someone when deficiencies are found at a property. 

2. The rental inspection program was deemed illegal in Ohio due to the 4th amendment. Weird this is coming up again in Ohio when it was struck down as unconstitutional in 2015.

https://www.thetimesherald.com/story/money/business/2015/10/24/wallace-federal-court-rules-rental-inspections-unconstitutional/74544618/

3. Imposing a limit on late fees based on paying during 3-day eviction notice is allowed. That just seemed a little low to me. Since they are kind of basing it on a $1,000/month rent and, if that is the case comes, to about $33/day. The limit should be $100, 10%, or more IMO.

@Daryl Luc understandable, it happens but just thought was interesting since I didn't find anyone talking about it on the forums. My biggest issue is probably the rental inspections since those were deemed unconstitutional in 2015. See the link on my other comment. 

Every Section 8 office seems different. There are no fees, registration, nor lead paint issues down here.

I don't know the answer to how much the local LL association was involved. All I found was one video online showing some disdain from local LL on the issue. Passed on Wednesday regardless though.

@Bjorn Ahlblad I wouldn't know but doesn't surprise me that there are stricter programs out there. However, those markets also have higher rent in relation. Affordable housing is a big issue and this just helps drive the cost up more to match those markets you mentioned. Thus, it does the exact opposite of what the local government wants to keep people in their homes more.

I don't invest in that market so I don't have a dog in the fight. Just know it is unconstitutional to have rental inspections based on a ruling in Ohio.

It looks pretty reasonable to me, honestly.  way better than the "you can't screen your applicants" insanity that I was reading about yesterday.

1. Rental registrations -- Columbus does this now. It's a 50$ fee and you have to provide contact information. A PO Box is fine here. I have been called by the city about problems before they turned into fines. I wish the $50 fee wasn't a thing, but eh.  The 24h emergency contact is a little more goofy, but hopefully a voicemail system that you can check to see if its a real emergency would work.

2. Tenant info website -- I dont really understand that one. You can set up a Google Sites webpage for free, and copy and paste whatever the city requires, hopefully.

3. Rental Inspections -- it says its for chronic nuisance buildings, or buildings where code has not been met for a year or longer. If you aren't a slumlord, it reads as if this won't affect you.  

4. 24h notice for nonemergency entry - no big deal, seems fair.

5. Late fee - its low, but workable. I keep mine reasonable, about akin to what my billers would charge me. I don't think its a good idea to smother the tenant with late fees they can't get back out of. 

6. 3 day window - No beef there. I thought the whole idea of the Ohio 3 day notice was to get them to pay up before you file the paperwork. 

Does anyone know when these requirements start? I do worry that the penalties may actually have the counter effect of the goal. It seems that if late fees are restricted, etc. then we'll be more likely to go to eviction faster than trying to work with tenants to keep them in place.

Wasn’t it someplace in OH a few years ago where landlords and tenants joined forces to say that rental inspections were a violation of the 4th amendment and won?

Thanks @Greg Laux . Super helpful. It seems like the key tangible requirement that we will need to activate is the registration of the properties. Any clue on when that webpage is going to be running to start that work? Will it go live on April 30?

@Justin Wilkey , I have no idea. The new website where landlords are supposed to register rental properties is supposedly being created by the City of Cincinnati. I have my doubts that the City government folks will have the website up, running, and fully ready by April 30, but I guess time will tell. 

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