Evictions Still a Concern for Tenants, Advocates, and Landlords in Ohio

Portage County’s eviction court never shut down, even as many larger cities placed a stay on evictions as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, and more people lost their jobs. Akron and Canton, for example, temporarily halted evictions. The Ohio Supreme Court left it up to individual counties and cities to decide whether to continue with evictions during the pandemic and let individual courts choose when it would be safe to resume those hearings.

“I do think there will be more coming, but I’m not as worried about Portage as I am in Akron or Canton because they had a moratorium,” said John Petit, the managing attorney for housing and consumer programs at Community Legal Aid. 

Susan Choe, the executive director of Ohio Legal Help, said landlords who own more properties might be in a better financial position, but smaller landlords might need additional assistance, something she said Ohio Legal Help also has information on.

Both Choe and Petit said that many landlords had been able to work with their tenants in giving them time to pay the rent and said that anyone who hasn’t contacted their landlord yet should do so.

If you are in financial difficulties due to a lost job or cut hours, contact United Way of Portage County’s 211 service to see if you can get help from a local charity. While unemployment benefits have been slow to kick in, getting help from a local food pantry or help paying for the rent from a local agency is possible. There is also help for utility payments and water payments. For information, contact the Community Action Council of Portage County by calling 1-877-298-4307 or 330-297-1456, option 1.

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