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2017-05-15 OREIA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE REPORT | By: Fellow GDREIA Members

OREIA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE REPORT
May 2017

April in the Ohio House was primarily an intensive budget month. That completed, the House budget was forwarded to the Ohio Senate. The Senate will present their own version which will be sent to a conference committee to merge the two. Some fireworks are to be expected. After the reconciliation process, the budget goes to Ohio Governor John Kasich for his approval. The Governor has line item veto for bills containing funding. With that all said, OREIA had several items included in this budget that received House approval. 
 
One important budget amendment for Ohio Real Estate Investors Association was made by Toledo area Representative Derek Merrin R- Monclova. His amendment places lead based enforcement issues with the Ohio Department of Health. His amendment would reign in the Toledo ordinance that is discriminatory, arbitrary and disastrous to the housing stock in Toledo. Their shoddy ordinance is financially punitive and is already resulting in increased rents, especially on those in the affordable housing stock that is so badly needed. Only 1-4 family rentals are forced into expensive inspections starting at over $200 per unit for any 1-4 unit rental in Toledo constructed before 1978. Owners must pay a $45 per unit fee to the city which are passed down to those renting their units, many of which are already struggling. The city's estimate of 50,000 1-4 fams is low but would yield them $2,250,000 just in registration fees. Residents, investors and The Blade should ask Toledo officials why they refuse to have an online registration system that could be used at no cost. Faced with the loss of those fees with Representative Merrin's amendment, the city and the Toledo Blade have gone nuclear accusing Rep. Merrin of being against children among other things. Nothing is further from the truth. I personally know Rep. Merrin and am proud to call him a friend. His proposal gives sole authority to the Ohio Department of Health so children could have consistent rules around the state. The amendment also grants ODH authority to license real lead based  inspectors. Toledo's short-sighted ordinance left the area with only a fraction of the needed educated, licensed lead inspectors. To meet the timeline, Toledo "created" their own class of "inspectors" earning a dubious certificate after only a handful of hours. The city leaders refused to work with investors before enacting the wide ranging law. The mayor, council and The Blade's response to investors trying to work toward solutions for an acceptable ordinance was to blast investors as being 'willing to sacrifice the lives of children for a price of a gallon of paint." In fact, the average remediation for a property is over $12,000 - yes, twelve thousand dollars. I'm not sure where they buy their paint, but I want to own a store selling paint for $12,000 per gallon. 
 
 The Blade and Toledo routinely "forget" they specifically excluded potentially lead-ridden properties of 5 units or greater. That blatantly discriminatory policy puts the value of children less than those in 1-4 family dwellings. Yet another dangerous, discriminatory policy excludes all Section 8 properties from undergoing the mandatory lead swipe tests that market rate rentals must undergo. Accepted best practices and experience shows lower income families are much more at risk for lead exposure than mid to higher income families. How or why did Mayor Hicks-Hudson and Council exclude all owner occupied properties?  Why does Mayor Hicks-Hudson, Council and The Blade forget the tactic approval of using children in Section 8 housing, owner occupied homes and those living in apartment buildings as human "lead detectors" as they state we are doing?
 
The City of Toledo and The Blade should remember the tens of millions of dollars real estate entrepreneurs have invested in Toledo. Many investors are still reeling from the 2008 crash and are barely holding on trying to hope for a better economy. We are all striving to provide fair, safe and affordable housing and should get some recognition for those efforts. Without us, which council members or the screaming fascist leaning groups or journalists will take over housing for those most in need?
 

Legislative Update 2017 Save the Dates - all calls begin at 2 pm unless otherwise noted.
 
June 12
July 10
August 14
September 11
October 09
November 13
December 11 

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