Kimberly Thomas is currently homeless, but she is still battling with her former landlord over a variety of issues, including an eviction that would now make finding an apartment a major hurdle.
“(I’m) very concerned because it would prevent me from finding a new place,” she said.
A new bill in Ohio lawmakers would allow tenants to remove previous evictions from their records: Senate Bill 158 is bipartisan and could give some local tenants the opportunity to find stable housing again.
However, Legal Aid’s executive director Nick Dinardo said the economic impact of the pandemic only exacerbated the problem.
“Many people in our community live from paycheck to paycheck. A one-time emergency could mean that they actually lose their home if they are evicted,” he said. “Otherwise they could only be good tenants.”
The beneficiaries would have to have a clean proof of rent for three years. The longer since they were last evicted, the easier the process would be. Landlords who have initiated the eviction will be notified and given the opportunity to argue against the deletion.
But when the bill becomes law, Dinardo doesn’t expect this to happen often.
Hamilton County has similar measures on the books.
“In general, most landlords don’t care,” said Dinardo. “If it is sometime in the past, you may or may not respond. I think you certainly have the right to be notified.
“Once a single eviction has been filed against you, you tend to enter another world of rental spaces.”
That’s why Thomas says she needs to clear her eviction so she and her children can move on.
“It’s wrong. Nobody should have to live like this,” she said.