Columbus ordinance to help renters have more access to affordable housing

NBC4 Investigates

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–A new set of ordinances take effect in Columbus Thursday, designed to make rental housing more accessible and equitable.

NBC4 Investigates exposed earlier this year how people on rental assistance were still being threatened with eviction, and how the trio of “Housing for All” ordinances was passed in March to offer renters more protection.

One ordinance gives new tenants the choice to pay security deposits upfront, or in installments over three or six months. The second ordinance requires landlords to provide tenants with receipts for rent payments, and the third prevents landlords from turning down a renter based on a legal source of income.

Ella Liggins, 78, is particularly optimistic about the third ordinance. An artist who survives on grants and commissions to supplement her Social Security income, Liggins said she’s struggled to find an apartment in places where she can afford the rent.

“I am told, ‘You don’t have verifiable income,’” Liggins said. “Too many seniors have Social Security, they have a disability, they have railroad pensions and things like that.”

Columbus City Councilmember Shayla Favor introduced all three ordinances with a goal, make it easier to keep people in their homes or find a new home if they’ve already been forced out.

“Regardless of what zip code it’s in, you should be able to have the autonomy to choose where you want to live. And we know for many residents, that’s not the case,” Favor said. “We need to ensure that we are legislating through that lens of equity.”

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