A Discussion Of Lakewood's New "Pay To Stay" Tenant Ordinance

The Lakewood Observer had some questions regarding details of Lakewood's new "Pay To Stay" ordinance which were graciously answered by Ward 2 Council Representative, Jason Shachner. 

"This ordinance will allow renters to avoid eviction if they provide their landlord with the full rent, including late fees, and court costs prior to an eviction hearing. The ordinance also caps late fees at the greater of $25 or 5% of the monthly rent."

Lakewood Observer: If renters have the money to "provide the landlord with the full rent" why is there any question of eviction? I thought the problem was that some renters don't have the money to pay rent, and thus they can be evicted.

Jason Shachner: In Ohio, if rent is due on the 1st and the tenant does not pay on the first, the landlord may immediately file for eviction. Furthermore, if a tenant comes up with rent after rent is due, the landlord does not have to accept it and may proceed with the eviction. This ordinance will mandate that a landlord accept rent from a tenant, plus any late fees or court costs accrued, at any point prior to the execution of eviction judgment. Without this ordinance, a landlord would not have to accept the rent from the tenant after it is due and may proceed with the eviction.  

LO: What is the average time between being served an eviction notice and the execution of eviction judgment? How much time do renters have, in general, to get their finances in order?  

JS: I do not know the average time between being served and the execution of the eviction judgment. Without this ordinance, renters would have no time to get their finances in order.    

LO: Isn't there already a Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19 (Order) issued by the CDC that  "prohibits residential landlords nationwide from evicting certain tenants through March 31, 2021"?  How does the Lakewood ordinance work with this order from the CDC, or are Lakewood residents not classified as the "certain tenants" referred to above?  

JS: The CDC order expires on the 31st and this ordinance will be in effect as long at the state of emergency is in effect.

According to CDC, the moratorium only applies to "covered persons." Covered person's are defined as:

A “covered person” is any tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property who provides to their landlord, the owner of the residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or a possessory action, a declaration under penalty of perjury that:  

(1) The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;  

(2) The individual either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020-2021 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;  

(3) The individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;  

(4) The individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual's circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and  

(5) Eviction would likely render the individual homeless— or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because the individual has no other available housing options.   This ordinance would apply to all residential leases in Lakewood.  

Thank you, Councilmember Shachner.

Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 7:31 PM, 03.03.2021