With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to wreak havoc on everyday life, both renters and low-income homeowners are feeling the pressure. As a non-uniform state, most, if not all, housing courts in Ohio followed the Ohio State Supreme Court's guidance on putting a halt to regular evictions during the pandemic. However, as Ohio begins to reopen, the question has arisen: What will life look like on the other side of this? Reopening housing court cases, after this closure, courts will undoubtedly face a surge of new eviction filings – paired with the huge backlog of cases that are already waiting for legal attention. This anticipated heavy eviction caseload will likely prompt courts to implement new rules and procedures to manage this.
Housing courts will need flexible methods for landlords, tenants, and mortgage companies alike. Flexibility will be necessary to prevent the courts from being overwhelmed with eviction actions, landlords from having to make very difficult decisions, and aiming to keep families in their homes and off the street during a global pandemic.
Provisions of the federal CARES Act protect some renters from eviction (renters receiving federal assistance or housing vouchers and those in properties with federally backed mortgages), but do not shelter all tenants from potential eviction. However, courts within Cuyahoga County have taken some steps to potentially alleviate the stress for impacted tenants and landlords.