Protect Affordable Housing in Ohio

Dear Members of the Ohio General Assembly,

After many years of rising rents and stagnant wages for low-income workers, nearly 400,000 Ohio households now spend over half their income on rent. For every 100 extremely low-income households in Ohio, there are only 43 rental units that they can afford. Ohio’s growing shortage of affordable housing has caused homelessness to increase 20 percent in five years.

Senate Bill 36 exacerbates this situation by undermining the economic viability of many types of federally assisted affordable housing developments in Ohio. This technical piece of legislation would effectively tax property owners for rental income they don’t receive due to rent restrictions on subsidized properties. SB 36 would warp Ohio’s property tax valuation system in an inequitable manner, and apply that inequitable method against only one type of property – properties that are designed to house our poorest citizens.

Senate Bill 36 ignores the fact that affordable housing projects generate less rental income and often cost more to operate than conventional housing projects. The Ohio Supreme Court has a long history of ruling that property taxes on subsidized housing should be based on the income that is actually received – not market-rate rent that could be theoretically collected without any rent restrictions in place.

Maintaining property taxes at fair and reasonable levels is the only way for these properties to remain economically viable while providing social service resources to low-income residents facing a variety of challenges. Destabilizing the property tax system in a way that undercuts subsidized housing will force many operators to shut down, meaning fewer affordable housing options for low-income seniors, Ohioans with disabilities, and single parents working to provide a better life for their children.

We stand united in opposition to Senate Bill 36 because it would hinder efforts to end homelessness and expand access to safe, decent, affordable housing at a time when so many Ohioans are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.


The Undersigned Organizations

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