Coronavirus: City of Dayton adds protections for tenants against evictions during pandemic

DAYTON — Tenants now have extra protections against being evicted during the continuing coronavirus pandemic because they can’t pay rent, thanks to the Dayton City Commission.

The Commission on Wednesday passed legislation providing those protections, which includes the requirement that landlords provide a receipt for rent paid with cash or money order and set a cap on late fees. Under the ordinance, fees landlords can charge on late rent payments are capped at 5 percent of monthly rent or a maximum of $25.

This legislation is a result of conversations of the Eviction Task Force that Mayor Nan Whaley convened in 2019. Task force members pinpointed the difficulty faced by low-income tenants who may not have bank accounts and therefore cannot pay by check or electronic means to prove their rent was paid.

The ordinance shifts the burden of proof in court to landlords to prove that rent was not paid if the tenant was not given a receipt.

“Black or white, rich or poor, west side or east side – everyone in Dayton deserves safe and stable housing,” Whaley said in a prepared statement.

“Dayton was facing an eviction crisis before COVID-19, and we know that it is likely to be deepened by the economic fallout of the pandemic. I am grateful for the hard work of the Eviction Task Force to dig deep into these issues and identify some actions the City Commission could take immediately to address the needs of low-income tenants.”

Whaley said she expects the task force to provide additional recommendations to changes in city and state policy in the coming weeks.

The task force is a key component in Dayton’s commitment to racial justice. Research shows that black women are disproportionately affected by evictions, which often have cascading impact on families as they are forced to move, switch schools, and navigate new transportation options.