There is a troubling proposal in Akron from judges in that city who are set to vote Jan. 17 on new rules requiring more accountability for landlords and allowing tenants with a clean record to seal 3-year-old cases.
As reported in the the Akron Beacon Journal
The rule changes would let judges immediately seal certain cases, including those tossed out because a tenant moved out after the filing but before a ruling. Now in public comment period, one change would empower judges with broad “judicial discretion” to determine whether a tenant has been treated fairly on a “case-by-case basis,” said Judge John Oldham, who presided over the city courthouse when the new rules were introduced after months of hearing from tenant advocates and shortly after the scathing Eviction Lab report in December.
Landlords have noted that the proposal can do more harm than good. One
landlord, who sold all her properties last year over the hassle of getting tenants to pay each month, said city leaders should do more to empower defendants in eviction cases with financial education and support, before and when they fall behind.
One Akron landlord with hundreds of eviction cases in the past decade said he’d rather pay a delinquent tenant $200 and let him or her walk away rather than tie up a rental unit for a month or more in court, often ending with a ruling that damages the tenant’s ability to pass a future background check for housing.
Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association. More