MOUNT VERNON — At the end of 2010, the Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority held a large waiting list for families seeking assistance to afford housing.
Owner, tenant responsibilities
Under the section 5321.04(a) of the Ohio Revised Code, both the landlord and the tenant have responsibilities required of them to ensure habitable conditions.
The landlord’s responsibilities include:
•Comply with the requirements of any building, housing, health or safety codes that materially affect health and safety.
•Make all repairs and do whatever is reasonably necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition.
•Keep the common areas of the premises (including walks, etc.) safe and sanitary.
•Provide trash and waste receptacles, if there are four or more apartments in the building and arrange for their removal.
•Supply running water, a reasonable amount of hot water, and reasonable heat at all times, except where there is a direct utility hook-up that the tenant controls.
•Give the tenant reasonable notice of his intent to enter into a tenant’s apartment and enter only at reasonable times, except in case of emergency.
•Provide the tenant with the name and address of the owner and his agent, if any, in writing, at the beginning of the tenancy. If written lease, the owner’s name and address must be in the lease.
•Keep all electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning fixtures and appliances and elevators in good and safe working condition, when these things are supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord.
•Not harass the tenant by unreasonable or repeated demands to enter the tenant’s apartment. If the landlord or his agent enters without the tenant’s permission or repeatedly demands entry, the tenant can recover actual damages resulting from the landlord’s entering.
The tenant’s responsibilities include:
•Keep that part of the premises that he occupies and uses safe and sanitary.
•Dispose of trash and garbage in a clean, safe and sanitary manner.
•Use and operate all electrical and plumbing fixtures properly.
•Comply with the requirements imposed on tenants by the applicable housing, health and safety codes.
•Allow the landlord or his agent to enter his or her apartment for inspection to see what repairs are needed or to make repairs or improvements at reasonable times, if the landlord or his agent has given reasonable notice.
•Not intentionally or negligently destroy, damage, deface property or remove any plumbing fixture or appliance from the premises, and forbid any of his guests from doing the same.
•Act in a manner that will not disturb his neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
“We have about 1,000 people on our waiting list right now and that’s grown,” said Jason Booth, director. “Three years ago, when I took over as director, it was only at 400.”
KMHA, a federally funded agency, provides assistance for 652 families a month in Knox County with its Housing Choice Voucher Program. It also administers assistance through other programs locally, as well as in Ashland and Holmes counties. Each year the agency receives approximately $2.8 million for rental subsidies.
“Unfortunately, we provide no emergency housing,” Booth said. “So individuals have to make application and go on our waiting list. The only preference we give are to veterans that are in good standing, they go to the top of the list. Right now it’s about a two-year wait, at least, from the time you make application until you get to the top.”
Once an individual reaches the top of the waiting list, income and family status are verified and a criminal history is completed to determine eligibility.
“When they qualify, we give them a voucher and with that voucher they are free to live anywhere in our jurisdiction. If they see in the paper that a landlord has a house for rent, they would contact the landlord and ask if the landlord works with Knox Metropolitan Housing,” said Booth. “If the landlord agrees, they can contact us and we’ll send them the information they need to fill out.”
Prior to the tenants moving into a property, the unit is inspected by KMHA to ensure it meets U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development standards of “decent, safe, and affordable housing.”