Sign On Letter Opposing Tenant Criminalization

To Members of the Ohio House of Representatives,

We, the undersigned organizations, write to express our opposition to House Bill 282, which would increase potential penalties for damage to residential rental property and ban anyone convicted of this charge from housing assistance for three years.

We oppose this legislation because it will make it more difficult for people to find future housing and employment, even if they are cleared the charges. This bill will ultimately result in greater housing instability in Ohio.

Laws governing the relationship between landlords and 1.5 million tenant households – nearly four out of ten in Ohio – have been on the books for decades. It is important to ensure that these rights and responsibilities remain appropriately balanced. By passing this bill, the state would be putting a butcher’s thumb on the scale in favor of landlords, who would be able to use the criminal justice system to collect more money from tenants.

The proposal could criminalize tenants for property damage they did not cause, and would allow unscrupulous landlords to coerce payments from tenants to which they may not be entitled.

Current law already provides adequate deterrence and compensation for property damage, including security deposits, civil litigation, and criminal charges for theft and vandalism. In addition, housing authorities already have the discretion to bar problem tenants from their programs.

House Bill 282 would insert the criminal justice system into what is rightly a civil matter – a common commercial transaction between two private parties. We believe the state should not pick winners and losers in the landlord-tenant relationship. As a member of the Ohio General Assembly, we urge you to join us in opposing House Bill 282.


Form by
Marcus Roth
Columbus, Ohio
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