As eviction filings and job losses increase, what to do for some financial stability

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Attorney John Petit recommends opening a line of communication with your landlord first

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Tenants are struggling because of unemployment and landlords are trying to help as Ohio sees a wave of eviction filings.

This week, there were 22 filings in Youngstown. The city had 24 last week and almost 40 the previous week.

John Petit works with Community Legal Aid. He believes renters should try and avoid having an eviction filed.

“Once an eviction is filed, there’s currently no mechanism in Ohio to remove that from their record, and so that follows the tenant for a long time,” he said.

Even if the case works out, it’s on the tenant’s record.

Petit recommends opening a line of communication with your landlord first.

“You’ve lost your job, your hours are cut, let’s work together on a payment plan when you can get on your feet. Many will do that, some will not,” Petit said.

The moratorium on evictions is over. It only applied to those in government-assisted housing or if the landlord was receiving a federal loan.

Congress could revive that in the next stimulus package, which is being watched closely at Community Legal Aid.

“So we’re hoping that there’s more rental assistance available and potentially another moratorium for those is subsidized or government-assisted housing,” Petit said.

Community Legal Aid works in eight counties and was receiving 30 calls a week. That doubled to 60 calls two weeks ago, and last week was 120 calls, meaning requests for assistance have doubled and doubled again in four weeks.

During COVID-19 times, if the tenant can get rental assistance, often, the case can be dismissed.

“Rather than just avoid it and show up in court without anything, be proactive, reach out to the local 211,” Petit said.

Community Legal Aid also has a tenant assistance line that hosts online meetings on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. where you can ask attornies questions. The number is 330-983-2528.

Click here to register for next Tuesday’s meeting.

Community Legal Aid also has an overview of the eviction process posted on their website.

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