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Columbus Leaders Outline Eviction Reform Efforts

Mayor Andrew Ginther announces the 614 For Linden plan on Nov. 25, 2019.
Nick Evans
/
WOSU

Mayor Andrew Ginther and city leaders on Wednesday outlined actions to prevent evictions and address the housing needs of some of Columbus’ most vulnerable citizens.

“We know that evictions start a hard-to-break cycle,” Ginther said. “Those who have been evicted are often rejected from housing by other landlords and that record of eviction follows people forever – until now.”

In a press conference at the Franklin County Municipal Courthouse, Ginther and representatives from Columbus City Council and the court system announced plans to limit online eviction history to a three-year period. 

“I believe this change will assist citizens in accessing affordable and safe housing, which is a priority for our community, while maintaining compliance with the Supreme Court of Ohio’s records retention schedule,” said Franklin County Clerk of Court Lori Tyack.

Other changes the city is considering include simplifying evictions summons, hiring staff to assist litigants and enacting measures to prevent retaliatory evictions from landlords.

“The court is actively exploring grant funding opportunities to hire a social worker full-time and to hire a consultant to make recommendations to the court about how to make the evictions docket more efficient and more understandable for litigants,” said Judge Ted Barrows.

Officials cited a study from the Evictions Lab at Princeton University that found in 2016, Columbus ranked 52nd in the nation for eviction rates. By the end of 2019, that number had risen 2.25%.