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Reps. Galonski & Miller Testify on Bill Establishing Rights For Families Facing Eviction

February 28, 2023
Tavia Galonski News

COLUMBUS– State Reps. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) and Joe Miller (D-Lorain) today gave sponsor testimony before the Ohio Civil Justice Committee on House Bill 59, to create an eviction defense fund and establish a right to counsel for certain tenants facing eviction.

“An eviction can be traumatic and disruptive to working families who are already struggling to make ends meet. Acquiring legal counsel to avoid being evicted is often not financially feasible for these tenants,” said Rep. Galonski. “With this legislation, we have an opportunity to provide essential legal services to Ohioans during their time of need, and ensure that socioeconomic status is not a barrier to fighting unlawful evictions.”

“Under House Bill 59, legal counsel would be provided in eviction proceedings for economically disadvantaged tenants. Many landlords and tenants are able to successfully fulfill both of their contracts. When tenants are unable to do so, some find themselves in need of counsel so that both sides have the opportunity to find a fair outcome,” said Rep. Miller. “This legislation helps to prevent landlords from using the law to take advantage of tenants.”

This legislation would:

· Create an eviction defense fund to provide funding for legal aid societies or non-profits wishing to provide legal services.

· Establish a right to counsel for defendants in eviction proceedings who are at or below 250% of the federal poverty line and have at least one child.

Similar legislation establishing the right to counsel in housing court has already seen success at the local level. One year into Toledo’s eviction right to counsel program, 222 households facing eviction received legal aid.

The bill now awaits further hearings in the House Civil Justice Committee.