As the wage and wealth gap continues to widen, evictions are on the rise nationwide and Cincinnati is no exception. According to an article published in October 2019 by the Cincinnati Enquirer, “from 2014-2017 an average of 12,439 residential evictions were filed in Hamilton County.” US Census information indicates that Cincinnati has more rental properties per capita than most cities in the Midwest with almost 85,000 rental properties that account for about 62% of all housing units.
For these reasons, the Library is teaming up with the City of Cincinnati in an effort to provide both tenants and landlords with vital information about their rights and responsibilities through a series of free educational workshops.
“The Landlord Training Program is a nationally recognized program that was developed with the intent to change the behaviors of landlords in a more positive direction,” said Lindsey Mithoefer, Communications Manager for the City of Cincinnati Buildings & Inspections Department. “Cities across the country that offer similar programs have found that the number of landlords attending the training correlates to a reduction in property maintenance cases, as well as police and fire calls to rental properties. They have also found that the quality of life for tenants living in those properties has also improved greatly.” The City of Cincinnati revamped and expanded the program in 2016 and has seen a rise in attendance ever since.
“To better serve the community,” continued Mithoefer, “the Tenant Training Program was developed in conjunction with the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati with the intention to better inform tenants or renters of their rights and responsibilities. Due to the high number of evictions the City of Cincinnati has seen in recent years, it was the belief that the creation of a program such as this would be beneficial not only to the tenant but to the landlord as well.”
The goal of the workshops is to provide the tools and resources for both landlords and tenants to have a relationship that is ultimately mutually beneficial. “Each workshop addresses the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant,” said Mithoefer. “We also provide information for landlords to create safe and stable housing for a tenant and provide the tenant with information to ensure they are renting safe and stable housing.”
Housing insecurity, which can easily lead to homelessness, doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are many other factors that play into what fuels the eviction crisis. Things like housing affordability, gentrification, housing shortage, mass incarceration, lack of public transportation and good-paying jobs, income inequality, and even health care affordability all play a role in the crisis. Many people are one lost job, one unexpected car repair, or one medical bill away from being unable to pay their rent or utilities.
The city is currently working to combat some of these issues to help keep people in their homes. On October 30, 2019, Councilman Landsman passed a comprehensive legislative Eviction Prevention Strategy package that includes new landlord requirements, rental property inspection requirements, unit entry restrictions, a limit on late fees, and other protections.
LISC Cincinnati, opens a new window is working on a Comprehensive Housing Strategy that aims to give every resident access to a spectrum of quality, affordable housing within their neighborhood of choice through emergency housing support, eviction prevention, preservation of affordable rental housing, access to homeownership, changes to policy and zoning, and more.
There is still so much work that’s left to be done to make sure every Cincinnatian has a safe roof over their heads. These workshops are one step towards this larger goal. Tenants are encouraged to attend both landlord and tenant workshops, as are landlords. This helps fuel a 360 degree understanding of the legal rights and obligations of all parties involved.
Tenant workshops include tenant and landlord duties, problem-solving vs. litigation, the eviction process, getting your house fixed, lease vs. code obligations, Law Department quality of life team, and tenant organizations.
Landlord workshops focus on topics such as, applicant screening and avoiding fair housing issues, crisis resolution and the eviction process, property maintenance and working with Code Enforcement for a positive outcome, how to spot crime and drug activity on your property, and the role of the police.
You can sign up for the tenant workshops here, opens a new window. You can sign up for the landlord workshops here, opens a new window. A full schedule for both workshops is below. For training dates listed as two days, the first half of the training will be presented the first day and the second half will be presented on the second day.
Tenant Training Program
Tuesday, February 11 - Corryville Branch (6 - 7:30 p.m.)
Saturday, March 21 - Main Library Tower Room (9 - 10:30 a.m.)
Friday, April 10 - Oakley Branch (10 - 11:30 a.m.)
Wednesday, May 20 - Main Library Tower Room (6 - 7:30 p.m.)
Monday, August 24 - Corryville Branch (6 - 7:30 p.m.)
Thursday, September 17 - Oakley Branch (12 - 1:30 p.m.)
Monday, October 12 - Main Library Tower Room (9 - 10:30 a.m.)
Wednesday, November 4 - Oakley Branch (4 - 5:30 p.m.)
Landlord Training Program
Wednesday, February 26 - Main Library Tower Room (9 - 2 p.m.)
Monday, March 9 & Wednesday 11 - Main Library 3A (6 - 9 p.m.)
Saturday, April 18 - Clifton Branch (10 a.m.- 3 p.m.)
Friday, May 15 - Corryville Branch (10 a.m.- 3 p.m.)
Tuesday, August 18 & Thursday 20 - Pleasant Ridge Branch (3 - 6 p.m.)
Monday, September 21 & Wednesday 23 - Main Library Tower Room (6.- 9 p.m.)
Saturday, October 17 - Corryville Branch (10 a.m.- 3 p.m.)
Monday, November 16 - Oakley Branch (1.- 6 p.m.)
For questions or more information, please contact Lindsey Mithoefer at (513) 352-2443 or email at Lindsey.Mithoefer@cincinnati-oh.gov, opens a new window.