Today, a House committee voted to advance a bill that poverty advocates say would make it easier for landlords to evict renters. The bill, House Bill 390, sponsored by State Representative Derek Merrin of Monclova Township, would amend the state’s eviction laws to say that, when counting the three days landlords must give tenants to vacate their home before filing eviction proceedings, holidays and weekends count. Someone could be given notice on the Friday of a three day weekend and be forced to move out before the next business day or face an eviction on their record.
Joe Maskovyak from the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio noted in testimony that fully one-third of Ohio households are renters, and nearly half are housing insecure–paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Evictions are a growing concern for too many Ohioans. Maskovyak says Merrin’s bill will only lead to more evictions.
Which is why it’s interesting to note Merrin’s profession. When he isn’t a part-time lawmaker in Columbus, he’s a “real estate investor” whose income derives from… get this… rental properties. Here is Merrin’s latest financial disclosure form filed with JLEC:
In the past, lawmakers have voluntarily recused themselves from votes when a bill may directly benefit them. But Merrin shows no such hesitation to introduce a bill that would allow him to evict tenants from his own rental properties more quickly. He didn’t even disclose it when testifying on behalf of the bill.
Not a good look.