Evictions in Hamilton County will resume next week after lawsuit

Gavel on wooden block
Gavel on wooden block(Gray News)
Updated: Jun. 4, 2020 at 10:25 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Evictions will resume next week in Hamilton County Municipal Court for the first time since coronavirus put them on hold in mid-March, court officials tell FOX19 NOW.

The judges in the court voted to begin proceedings again on Monday, June 8, according to the assistant court administrator, Andy Gillen.

The announcement Thursday comes just a few days after a landlord who owns an apartment building in Mt. Washington sued the court’s presiding judges and asked the Ohio Supreme Court to order the municipal court and its judges get back to work on the cases.

At last check, 900 to 1,200 are pending, according to Hamilton County Clerk of Courts.

“We are gratified that the landlords of Hamilton County can achieve justice by obtaining possession of their properties back from tenants who are in breach of their leases and squatting for free,” said attorney Chris Finney, who represents Salvador Properties.

“We are now the second-to-last of Ohio’s 88 counties to finally reopen eviction court and it’s unfortunate that it took this long.”

No eviction hearings have been held in Hamilton County Municipal Court since March 15, and the earliest new hearings were being scheduled was July 28, according to the lawsuit.

Evictions were to begin again on Monday, June 1.

But the court’s presiding judge, Heather Russell, signed a court order last week delaying evictions until at least July 1 due to COVID-19. The presiding judge for common pleas court also signed it, halting jury trials for another month, too.

Salvador Properties claimed in the lawsuit the municipal court and its judges were violating their rights to reclaim access to their building and, ultimately, income from rent.

Before the suit was filed, the judges already were scheduled to meet to discuss evictions.

They wanted to ensure landlords complied with a moratorium until July 25 on federally-backed housing as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The judges agreed to address that by requiring landlords to sign an affidavit declaring their properties were not impacted, according to Gillen.

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