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The 2018 OREIA Leadership Academy was held
April 21-22, 2018, at Deer Creek State Park Lodge
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April 27-28, 2019


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Forbidding More Than Three People from Living Together Violates Ohio Constitution

 
 Ohio cities violate property rights by prohibiting more than three unrelated people from living in the same home
 
Bowling Green, OH - The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today moved to strike a municipal ordinance that criminalizes greater than three unrelated individuals living in the same home regardless of the size of the home.
 
The action is filed against the City of Bowling Green on behalf of 23 Bowling Green landlords and three student tenants threatened with eviction.  The landlords own over 161 homes that, despite four or more bedrooms and ample parking, may not be occupied by greater than three unrelated people.
 
Through its Motion for Preliminary Injunction, the 1851 Center explains that the City's ordinance, which imposes a $500 per day fine, is violates the Ohio Constitution through suppressing private property rights and equal protection and imposing vague standards and excessive fines:
  • As in other states that have invalidated such occupancy limits, the Ohio Constitution is more protective of private property rights and equal protection than the federal constitution. 
  • While the regulation professes to limit population density, many homes in the City are exempt from the rule, while there are no similar occupancy limits on related individuals.
  • The regulation is unconstitutionally vague, insofar as the City maintains no list of which properties are exempt, and regulates houses based upon whether or not they were "designed for single family use."
  • Fine of $162,500 per year for permitting four individuals to live in a four-bedroom home is patently excessive. 
 
"In Ohio, many zoning regulations needlessly interfere with private property rights, drive up the cost of living, fail to accomplish their proclaimed purposes, and are used as political weapons - - often to benefit special interests or suppress disfavored minorities.  This regulation is no different," explained 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson.  "However, there is no coherent reason why four missionaries should be prohibited from occupying a large six bedroom house, even as an unruly family of eight lives in a smaller home next door."
 
The 1851 Center draws a distinction between zoning regulations that prohibit homeowners from using their property to directly inflict harm on others and regulations simply aimed at social engineering.
 
"This regulation is aimed at government-controlled social engineering, i.e. keeping 'the wrong kind of people' out of certain neighborhoods, rather than land use. Unruly behavior should be directly regulated, rather than regulated on the basis of the relationships between those who live together," added Thompson.  "Ohioans should not be forced to pay higher rent or endure longer commutes due to such arbitrary regulations." 
 
The case is pending before Judge Zouhary in the Western Division of the Northern District of Ohio.  The Judge has issued a temporary standstill order. 




The Federal Reserve Decision

 

As expected, the Federal Reserve Board decided to raise its benchmark interest rates by .25%. The reaction of the markets was tame because this action was widely anticipated and there was no surprise. While each Fed rate hike does signal an overall increase in interest rates, it also does not mean that all rates are spiking upward. For one, the Fed has steadfastly adhered to a plan that is designed to move back to what it calls normal rates in a slow and orderly fashion. The response to the recession and slow recovery was to keep short-term rates close to zero, which is something that could not be sustained forever.
 
In this regard, the markets are more likely to react to hints about the pace of future rate increases, which are likely to be detected from the minutes of the recent meeting and various public statements from Federal Reserve Board members. Right now, the markets seem to be betting on three to four rate increases during the course of 2018, and if the economy continues to perform well, that scenario is not out of the question. While facing that many rate hikes, it should also be noted that the Fed's action to raise rates directly affects short-term rates, but only indirectly affects longer-term rates, upon which home and even auto loans are based.


Lawmakers Field Debate Over Property Tax Challenges, Undeveloped Land

Go to Legislative Updates page for Complete Story



New Logo Revealed at the National Summit



Will we see you at OREIA's National Real Estate Summit
at Great Wolf Lodge in Cincinnati, Ohio on
November 1-4, 2018?
www.oreiaconvention.com


 


Akron Short Term Rental Ban
Click Here to View More Information on Our Legislative Page




A Bittersweet Victory
in the
Helen Grybosky
“Fair Housing” Case

 The long, painful saga of Conneaut widow Helen Grybosky was finally settled last month in a win for Ms. Gryboski, but a draw for the rest of us.

For those who haven’t followed Ms. Grybosky’s case, a more complete summary is available in the legislative matters secin below. But the 20,000 foot overview is this: in 2008, Ms. Grybowsky a then-78 year old owner of a 3-family in Northeast Ohio, became embroiled in a nearly decade-long battle with a private fair housing organization that claimed she had discriminated against ‘testers’ (people not actually seeking housing, but rather paid to ‘discover’ discrimination by presenting various scenarios to housing providers and seeing how they react).

After refusing to pay the $6,500 demanded by the fair housing group, she was the subject of an Ohio Civil Rights Commission hearing where she was initially told that she would have to pay over $100,000, mostly in legal fees to the Attorney General. That figure was later amended to just over $10,000, but Ms. Grybosky, believing that she had not denied housing to anyone, sued the OCRC in common pleas court.

COREE members, through OREIA, were instrumental in raising over $15,000 for her legal defense over the past 5 years, and the case has reached its conclusion: it’s been dismissed by the court because of what basically comes down to a technicality: one of the documents submitted early in the case was not submitted under oath. You can read the full opinion of the court here: 
https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/11/2017/2017-Ohio-7125.pdf

Because of this error, the court did not rule on the other issues relating to whether testing is a legitimate means to incriminate housing providers or any of the other claims that might have made fair housing fairer.

So while some in the blogosphere have declared this a victory, it’s only one in a personal sense for Helen Grybosky. She certainly deserves it, after carrying the standard in this fight for so long, but unfortunately it has no effect on the still vague and unfairly weighted area of fair housing law for the rest of us.

We appreciate the tenacity of Ms. Grybosky and her attorney, Tarin Hale in fighting for our rights as housing providers, and the financial support from OREIA's members in raising over $15,000 for the legal bills involved in the case. We look forward to the next opportunity to fight these anti-landlord regulations and to make fair housing truly fair to everyone

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