Springfield changes local law, will warn landlords before citing them


Springfield city commissioners have changed local ordinances to give a warning to landlords who fail to provide information to tenants about their rights.

Under former legislation, landlords were required to provide a booklet to renters that explains the rights and responsibilities of both parties or face a $100 fine, according to a city code enacted in 2001.

FIRST REPORT: Springfield commission at odds over landlord/tenant rights debate

The city commissioners voted unanimously late last month to first provide Springfield landlords a written warning for not providing the information. A second violation would then result in a $100 fine.

“This is a fair adjustment to it,” Commissioner Joyce Chilton said. “As we already know, the landlord has so many responsibilities — water bills, trash bills. I would like to see the tenants take some responsibility and this is balancing it.”

Landlords must provide proof that tenants either received the booklet or knew they could view the booklet at the city’s website upon moving in, City Law Director Jerry Strozdas said.

“Hopefully, this will help everyone play by the rules and avoid some issues,” City Commissioner David Estrop said.

MORE: Developer pulls proposal for $11M Springfield apartment building

In 2001, the former Justice Action Mercy group wanted the city to create a landlord registration ordinance, meaning landlords would have to apply for a license every year. As part of the proposal, each time a property got a new tenant, it would have to be inspected.

Landlords fought against it, Strozdas said, and later compromised by agreeing to inform tenants about their rights with a booklet.

The new debate began because the Springfield Fire/Rescue Division asked the city to consider making some fire code violations punishable through civil fines rather than criminal offenses, Springfield leaders said.

Under the current city codes, certain fire-related violations, such as commercial businesses not refreshing fire extinguishers, currently only can be enforced through filing a misdemeanor criminal offense through the Clark County Municipal Court.The fire department would rather fine offenders, which led to the proposed changes to the city’s code violations.

As city staff members examined civil code enforcement violations, city staff believed other areas should be cleaned up, including moving the section about a requirement for landlords to provide a tenant’s rights booklet to renters or face a $100 fine to the business regulations category, Strozdas said.

MORE NEWS: Sexual orientation added to Springfield ordinance

Springfield city commissioners discussed last December eliminating the requirement for landlords but that ended in a stalemate after former Commissioner Dan Martin abstained.

The new legislation applies only to new rental agreements, meaning landlords who didn’t follow the previous rules won’t face penalties, Strozdas said.

“Our understanding is that most landlords have followed this previous obligation,” Strozdas said.

5 QUICK NEWS-SUN READS

Nonprofit to buy historic Springfield site, market to open in summer

Clark, Champaign counties hit by outbreak linked to parasite, calves

Springfield commission goals include housing study, fixing roads

Should Springfield fluoridate its drinking water?

Study calls for new bike trail, safer park crossing in Clark County



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Ohio congresswoman may challenge Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House
Ohio congresswoman may challenge Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House

Rep. Marcia Fudge, a Cleveland Democrat who led the Congressional Black Caucus from 2012 to 2014, is considering challenging Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House. Fudge, whose spokeswoman said she was unavailable for comment Thursday, told Cleveland.com late Wednesday she was considering a run for the top leadership position, and a spokeswoman Thursday...
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown talks about potential presidential run on WHIO Radio
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown talks about potential presidential run on WHIO Radio

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown says his message of fighting for workers resonated in his recent election victory and he told WHIO Radio that’s the message he’d push if he decides to run for president in 2020. Right now he says he’s having family discussions about a potential run, but no decision has been made. “I don’t know what...
‘Heartbeat’ abortion bill passes Ohio House
‘Heartbeat’ abortion bill passes Ohio House

After more than an hour of heated debate, a controversial abortion ban that Gov. John Kasich vetoed two years ago passed the Ohio House on Thursday 59-35 and now heads to the Senate where its fate is unclear. The ‘heartbeat bill’ would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is as early as six weeks into a pregnancy...
2 local congressmen may compete to be top Republican on Judiciary Committee
2 local congressmen may compete to be top Republican on Judiciary Committee

Warren County-area Rep. Steve Chabot is one of two remaining Republicans in the House of Representatives who brought the case for impeachment against then–President Bill Clinton 20 years ago. Now, he’s arguing that experience could help him and other Republican fight off Democrats if they move forward on impeaching President Donald Trump...
Report: U.S. military at risk of losing war to Russia, China
Report: U.S. military at risk of losing war to Russia, China

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base may be the difference between victory and defeat if war eventually breaks out between the United States and Russia or China, a defense expert said about a new report out Wednesday. The U.S. is at risk of losing a war to either country, states a report released Wednesday by a bipartisan commission that Congress created...
More Stories