Cuyahoga County Pausing Talks on Pay-to-Stay Legislation Due to State Law That Might Preempt Action

Ohio is one of only five states where residents can be evicted if rent is just a day late or a dollar short

Cuyahoga County Pausing Talks on Pay-to-Stay Legislation Due to State Law That Might Preempt Action
Dennis Carr/FlickrCC

Discussions on Cuyahoga County Council’s proposed pay-to-stay legislation have been halted indefinitely by a county law department legal opinion of an existing Ohio state law that might preempt the county from moving forward.

Last week, council member Dale Miller sponsored the ordinance modeled after legislation from eight Cuyahoga County municipalities with existing pay-to-stay ordinances, which allow tenants to avoid eviction if they can pay back-rent owed and reasonable late fees.

But discussions in the council’s Community Development Committee won’t be moving forward until the council reviews the ordinance and House Bill 430, which prohibits local governments from interfering with landlord and tenant interactions regarding rent stabilization and control.

For Miller’s part, he had previously identified HB 430 as a potential obstacle.

“There's some legal questions. [The proposed ordinance] relates to state preemption. The state passed a bill, House Bill 430, which was not related directly to pay-to-stay, it was legislation designed to prevent local governments from engaging in rent control,” Miller told Scene recently. “But some legal people feel that the way the legislation was drafted that it would also preempt legislation. So we have to look into this more deeply and get a good understanding of where we are in relation to the state of this legislation.”

Cuyahoga County Law Director Greg Huth asked council to not yet disclose details about the reasoning of the opinion, so the specific issue with Bill 430 won’t be made clear until the council can review the opinion and the ordinance.

Under current law, Ohio is one of only five states where residents can be evicted if rent is just a day late or a dollar short.

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