Better Call Jackson finds help for tenants whose landlords aren’t fixing major problems

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Two Columbus area residents have two completely different problems with their rented homes.

Janita Steele has lived with rodents since she moved into her rented house seven months ago. Mouse traps scattered throughout her home have trapped eight so far, but the rodents are still coming. Steel says holes in the foundation of the house are likely the possible entryway of the mice.

But her landlord has not addressed the problem.

On the other side of town, Kenya DoBose lives with a square cut into the ceiling of one of her bathrooms. A tenant who lives above Kenya had a water issue that caused the water to leak into the bathroom. A maintenance crew cut the hole to make repairs, but that was almost one year ago and it still has not been repaired.

According to the legal aid society of Columbus, both tenants have options.

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What renters need to know when the AC stops working

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — The summer months are typically the hottest of the year and air conditioners are on full blast, unless yours is on the fritz.

If you’re paying rent, it can be tempting to lose your cool.

In Ohio, a landlord has a duty to keep all fixtures and appliances in good working order.

Benjamin Horne, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, says there are certain steps you need to take to get the landlord’s attention.

“The tenant should request repairs in writing,” said Horne. “Keep a copy of the written request. After 30 days, if the problem hasn’t been remedied, then the tenant can start a rent escrow account over at the municipal court,” he said.

He said you should never stop paying rent.

Read more or watch the video at WSYX 6.


Columbus poor struggle with evictions, high housing costs

If she can find a place, Danielle Bailey said, she’ll probably have to spend more than half her monthly income on rent. That’s a best-case scenario. She and her children have been stuck since March in a worse one.

“Homelessness is not just not having a house,” Bailey said.

 The 32-year-old is trying to land a new job, find a house or apartment, get her cellphone fixed, care for four children and keep depression at bay — all while living in an emergency shelter. “I need to get a foot in the door,” Bailey said. “And I need my own door.”

Housing loss has long been considered a condition of poverty in America. Matthew Desmond says it’s time to flip that view and see eviction as a cause.

“If we want more family stability and more community stability, we need fewer evictions,” said Desmond, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who spoke Wednesday during the Community Shelter Board’s annual gathering at the Southern Theatre, Downtown. “Without housing, everything falls apart.”

Read more at The Columbus Dispatch

Women living in poverty play a high-stakes game

By Kathleen McGavey

In Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In,” women are told: “We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.”

As director of The Legal Aid Society of Columbus, I’ve thought repeatedly about how Sandberg’s idea applies in my own professional life. But despite the fact that I work with low-income women and their families, it wasn’t until I read “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” by Matthew Desmond, that I thought about how this idea effects poor women.

Using real-world examples from Desmond’s book, “leaning in” can bring about harm and negative consequences that are unique to women living in poverty.

Gender perspective on eviction

While living in a Wisconsin trailer park, Desmond follows the lives of individuals, many of whom fall behind on their rent, on the verge of eviction. He notices a gender difference.

Men, he states, are more likely to talk to the landlord, explain the circumstances, try to get an extension and offer to do odd jobs around the rental complex to make up some of the difference. Women, however, are observed hiding in their units, closing the blinds and hoping no one notices them. That, you might think, explains the difference in eviction rates by gender.

Desmond reports that three of every four African Americans who were evicted in Milwaukee were female. The Community Shelter Board, a nonprofit that oversees Columbus’ response to homelessness, reports that nationally 78 percent of families with children in the shelter system have a female adult in the household, while only 22 percent have a male adult.

With these statistics, the solution seems easy. Poor women, like more highly educated, affluent professional women, need only to “lean in.” They need to be assertive, talk to the landlord and see what they might do to avoid eviction.

But low-income women have learned the perils of such an approach much more painfully than those of us with professional careers.

Read the rest of the article at Smart Business

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