We heard it through the grapevine.
😪 The CDC Moratorium is all but dead...at least in Ohio...at least for now. rhino!UP hates to say we told you so, but check back to March 14th.
This week, the 6th District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati denied HUD's motion for a stay in a case from Tennessee. Now many local eviction courts are declaring the CDC moratorium over. What's next for rent stressed Ohioans? Quick! Apply for rental assistance ASAP and offer to make a deal to forestall your landlord from filing an eviction. Even a filing, if later resolved in the tenant's favor, will result in a chit on the tenant's credit record...making it harder or more costly to obtain a rental home again. (More on tenant screening enhancements in a future rhino!UP).
🚀 Biden bucks could flow into affordable housing. Overlooked in the proposed American Rescue Plan is a chunk of money to modernize Federally Assisted Housing. NextCity reports: "...the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act...would put $20 billion toward building and rehabbing 500,000 homes for low-income and middle-income buyers.... The plan proposes funding incentives for communities that eliminate exclusionary zoning laws and permit more housing by right; investing $40 billion in public-housing maintenance and repair; and upgrading and retrofitting existing homes through the Weatherization Assistance Program and other initiatives."
🌋 Rat out self-help evictors! This past week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) pledged to investigate landlords who skip the legal process to force tenants out of their homes.
"Staff at both agencies will be monitoring and investigating eviction practices, particularly by major multistate landlords, eviction management services, and private equity firms, to ensure that they are complying with the law. Evicting tenants in violation of the CDC, state, or local moratoria, or evicting or threatening to evict them without apprising them of their legal rights under such moratoria, may violate prohibitions against deceptive and unfair practices, including under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act. We will not tolerate illegal practices that displace families and expose them—and by extension all of us—to grave health risks." (italics added)
It is clear from the statement that CFPB and FTC are interested in large corporate landlords who have a practice of violating the civil rights of tenants. Tenants or advocates can file a complaint with CFPB at www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/ or call (855) 411-2372 or via TTY/TDD at (855) 729-2372. In Ohio "self help eviction" is illegal under the Ohio Landlord Tenant Law.
🌇 Cincinnati's Affordable Housing Ballot issue deserves your attention. rhino!UP has said it before, but it bears repeating. Cincinnati housing activists gathered 7,000 signatures to put the affordable housing issue on the ballot in May. The voter initiative will require the City to invest $50M/year to the Affordable Housing Trust fund which currently stands at $1.5M. Push back is ferocious. The City Manager's alternative is to commit $5M from Federal stimulus funds that the city expects to receive. Some on City Council want to cap affordable housing. Councilman Steve Goodin says some neighborhoods areas are oversaturated with such housing and that residents were worried adding more will lower their own property values. And if that's not enough, WVXU says: frontline workers (AKA city employee unions) came out against Issue 3 saying that the $50M/year would come out of their paychecks. Earlier some police reps tried to connect the Affordable Housing Fund to efforts to "defund the police."
Footnote: APR 2, 2021. WVXU. Some Cincinnati Officials Doubt Accuracy Of Much-Cited Affordable Housing Gap. "The Cincinnati City Manager's office wants to hire an independent group to analyze how much affordable housing the city needs. Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman says he's concerned the information currently available is outdated. 'As we're trying to shape public policy, we want the most accurate data,' Smitherman said at this week's meeting of the affordable housing subcommittee. A number often cited by officials, advocates and reporters is that Hamilton County has a 40,000-unit gap in affordable housing, including a 28,000-unit gap in the city of Cincinnati."