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Akron Municipal Court Changes One Eviction Rule, Declines to Adopt Another

A photo of an eviction notice
One rule has been amended to tight requirements for landlords seeking to evict tenants. Another proposed rule regarding sealing eviction records was not adopted.

Akron Municipal Court has adopted an amendment to an eviction-related rule. The new amendment to rule 29 is designed to protect tenants, requiring more information from landlords to be submitted before an eviction action can be filed in court.

Landlords need to provide a copy of the lease agreement, prove that they own the property and show the property is properly registered with the county rental registry. Executive Director of Community Legal Aid Steven McGarrity says the rule change won’t have the consequences some landlords say it might.

“Critics will say things like ‘these are rules enforcing already existing laws and it just makes it more onerous to get bad tenants out,’ which there’s some truth to that in the sense that they have to follow the rules," McGarrity said. "Rule 29 just says follow the existing law, and you’ll be fine.”

McGarrity says the rule will help tenants avoid unnecessary, harmful evictions. The court also chose not to adopt a new rule that would have made it easier to get past eviction cases sealed. Rule 39 would have allowed a record to be sealed under certain circumstances.

McGarrity says many evictions are filed after a tenant moves out or are dismissed in court for being filed without sufficient reason. But these evictions can stay on the person’s record and hinder their ability to find new housing. Lawyers like McGarrity have used an obscure Ohio court records rule to prove evictions should not have been filed and get them sealed, but rule 39 would have made it an easier process.

McGarrity describing rule 39.

“We were hoping rule 39 would take rule 45 and give it more detail and structure that more people could take advantage of, and we’re hopeful that’ll happen in the future but we’re going to continue to file motions under rule 45 to get evictions sealed,” McGarrity said.

McGarrity sees it as progress that rule 39 was discussed, and says it could help to reduce Akron’s high eviction rate.