Moratorium on evictions, foreclosures: Bill aims to buy time for rental help to take effect

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FILE: $100 bills. (NEXSTAR)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A bipartisan bill introduced on Monday would postpone evictions and foreclosures in Ohio during COVID-19, if it becomes law.

The existing moratorium on evictions expires on Jan. 31 and comes from the Center for Disease Control & Prevention at the federal level.

State Representatives David Leland (D-Columbus) and Jeffrey Crossman (D-Parma) seek to extend the moratorium for the duration of the COVID-19 state of emergency. Their bill, at the state level, would be independent of federal action.

“This legislation is a tool to help keep people in their homes during this pandemic — when people are struggling to pay their bills through no fault of their own,” said Rep. Crossman in a news release. 

The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates Ohio will receive $778,101,000 in Emergency Rental Assistance funds, the release said.

The CDC moratorium allows eviction proceedings to continue, but it does prevent the actual set out of qualifying tenants until the moratorium expires. This still gives landlords the opportunity to pressure tenants who are behind on their rent into vacating their homes sooner. It also subjects these tenants to in-person hearings in crowded eviction courts as COVID-19 cases continue to sit at dangerous levels in Ohio, the news release said.

“Being evicted is a catastrophe for families under the best circumstances – but right now, it’s a public health crisis as well,” said Rep. Leland in the release. “Ohio is about to get upwards of $750 million in rental assistance, but it takes time to get that money out to people. We can’t let families be forced out on the street while they’re just waiting for paperwork to process.”

The legislation also addresses financial difficulties Ohioans may face due to job losses during the emergency and gives them time to fix monetary defaults that occur during the emergency.

The Ohio House of Representatives was gaveled in on Monday, Jan. 4,, but no word has yet been given as to when committees will convene or House session will be held, the news release concluded.

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