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Cleveland cracking down on absent rental property owners | Reporters Roundtable

for rent sign.jpg
for rent sign.jpg

Cleveland is going after bad landlords and blighted properties with stricter housing codes in the most extensive overhaul in decades. The city passed the policy overhaul dubbed “Renters First” this week.

To solve the problem of absentee landlords who can't be found, all rental properties must now have a local representative who will be held liable for code violations. In addition, vacant home sales will require an exterior inspection aimed at compelling owners to make fixes in an effort to prevent blight.

The Ohio House passed a massive appropriations bill this week that will funnel millions of dollars into Northeast Ohio projects. House Bill 2 totals nearly $2 billion in spending. The bill includes $350 million in one-time spending for projects funded by a surplus in the state budget. The rest of the spending—mainly for schools, colleges and jails—will be paid for from bonded or borrowed funds. The Senate must now weigh in on the bill and has $350 million in budget surplus to allocate as well.

The money in the appropriations bill would fund a number of projects including $20 million earmarked for a land bridge connecting downtown to the lakefront and $7 million for a renovation of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

Ken Prendergast of the NEOTrans blog, the one who broke the story years back that Sherwin Williams would stay in downtown Cleveland and build a new world headquarters, published a new story yesterday that's got the town buzzing.

Citing three anonymous sources, he reports that the Haslam Sports Group, owners of the Browns, are purchasing a large parcel of land in Brook Park near Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The Browns have discussed for years the need to either renovate the current stadium or build a new one at a hefty price tag, either on the lakefront or someplace else. The story has ramped up speculation that the someplace else might just be Brook Park.

A Browns spokesman told Prendergast that the team is happy the city is analyzing stadium renovations and the need for the land bridge but, "At the same time, as part of our comprehensive planning efforts, we are also studying other potential stadium options in Northeast Ohio at various additional sites." The blog reports the deal is a land contract and not all land contracts result in a purchase

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb's proposal for a special taxing district to spur downtown development is projected by his administration to bring in $3.3 to $7.5 billion over 42 years. If it is to be approved by City Council, half of that money needs to be directed at Cleveland's neighborhoods, not just downtown, according to Council President Blaine Griffin.

The City of Akron will pay $747,000 to protesters arrested during demonstrations following the police shooting death of Jayland Walker. Police fatally shot Walker on June 27, 2022. The plaintiffs sued the city, the former mayor Dan Horrigan, the former police chief Steve Mylett and dozens of officers.

Ohio lawmakers are trying to cap insulin costs for Ohioans with diabetes. The federal government capped insulin costs at $35 for a month's supply of insulin for seniors with Medicare. Ohio lawmakers want to expand protection to the more than one million Ohioans who are insulin dependent.

We will talk about these stories and more on this week's "Reporters Roundtable."

-Matt Richmond, Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
-Anna Huntsman, Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
-Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV

Mike McIntyre is the executive editor of Ideastream Public Media.
Leigh Barr is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."