Reynoldsburg City Council looking into rental properties

Kelley Rodriguez
ThisWeek
Reynoldsburg City Hall

Reynoldsburg City Council is considering a pair of ordinances aimed at rental properties. 

Council on Jan. 25 held work sessions on two proposed ordinances: one that would establish a law governing “landlord-tenant relationships” and another creating a registry to track rental properties and landlords operating in the city.  

Council did not vote on the measures, which are expected to be discussed again this month. 

The landlord-tenant legislation would make security deposits more affordable by requiring “residential landlords to provide tenants with alternatives to a traditional security deposit,” according to legislation presented to council.  

“It’s commonly referred to as renter’s-choice legislation,” City Attorney Chris Shook said. “It provides either an option to purchase a security-deposit insurance, to pay monthly premiums for their security deposit or to pay an amount of no more than 60% of what the monthly rental rate would be.”  

Renters could split security deposits into 11 monthly installments, pay a reduced security deposit over six installments or obtain security-deposit insurance. It would be the responsibility of the tenant to obtain security-deposit insurance. 

The law would apply only to landlords who own and control more than 10 rental units. 

Council member Stacie Baker said he hopes this helps “break down one of the more common barriers that people face when they’re trying to rent.”  

“Most places want you to have first month, last month and a security deposit and some people cannot afford both,” he said. “I see this as a win-win situation for the tenant that’s trying to rent and also the landlord, making sure they do get the security deposit.”  

Rental registry again considered 

The rental registry would require property owners to register and pay a one-time fee of $25 for each dwelling unit.  

Larger multi-family buildings will be charged $25 per unit up to the first five units per structure and nothing for additional units in the same building.  

They also would be required to have a local “designated agent” the city could contact in case of violations.  

City officials said code-enforcement officers often have a difficult time finding a property owner to hold responsible. 

Although all rental-property owners would be required to register, officials said the registry likely is not to be used to target minor violations like trash and overgrown grass, which are violations typically caused – and remedied – by the tenant. 

The Columbus Apartment Association, which says the city has about 6,000 apartment units, opposes the rental registry, pointing out Ohio law already requires the owners of residential rental property to register a contact agent with the auditor of the county where the property is located. 

The fine for not registering rental properties in Franklin County is $150. 

Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Gahanna, Marietta, Nelsonville, Oxford, Painesville, Sandusky and University Heights are among Ohio cities with some form of additional rental-registration requirement. 

Council began discussing a rental registry in late 2018 and again in 2020. 

The initial proposal would have required annual fees ranging from $50 to $100; however, no annual registration is required under the new proposal. 

Council did not vote on the measures, which are expected to be discussed again this month. 

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22.  

editorial@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekNews