Legal Aid's statement on Akron Municipal Court rule changes

Akron Municipal Court rule changes good for low-income Akronites -- but more can be done

Statement from Steven McGarrity of Community Legal Aid on Akron Municipal Court’s announced amendment to Local Rule 29 and non-action on proposed changes to Rule 39.

The recent public discussion prompted by Akron Municipal Court’s proposed changes to rules regarding eviction proceedings has brought front-and-center some of the core issues facing low-income renters in Akron. These are complex issues, stemming from decades of disinvestment in Akron’s neighborhoods, needing thoughtful discussion and collaborative solutions.

The announced changes to Rule 29 will be an important step in resolving these issues. By ensuring landlords are following the law and registering their properties, it is more likely that these properties will have regular inspections, be fixed when problems arise, and be maintained. Our hope is that this helps raise the quality of housing for renters across the city, including those of low to moderate incomes.

Regarding the decision not to adopt Rule 39, we at Legal Aid remain hopeful that we will see in the near future an avenue for renters to have their eviction records sealed. Our clients experience first-hand the injustice that a wrongful eviction filing can have on a family, even when that filing is determined invalid and is dismissed by the Court. The disruption this causes to their lives can carry years, even decades into the future, causing them to lose opportunities for quality, affordable housing for a case that was wrongfully brought against them in the first place. We appreciate the Court’s willingness to examine the issue and take feedback from the community on the topic, and we look forward to this discussion continuing.

Legal Aid continues to be dedicated to ensuring safe and affordable housing for Akron’s low-income residents and remains vigilant in pursuing justice for them.

Media contact: Maria Duvuvuei (330) 907-4405 mduvuvuei@communitylegalaid.org

Posted: March 9, 2020