So, why do we take issue with the case of James Mader, the 78-year old Cleveland man who was jailed for 45 days by Cleveland's housing court who was clearly in violation of the law due to his failure to maintain his rental properties on Cleveland's west side? Because the law is antiquated and fails to address the current reality of Ohio's housing and economic situation. Mr. Mader purchased these homes with the idea that he and his son would maintain and rent the properties, receive some much-needed income, and allow his son to someday take over these properties. However, things did not go as planned: Mr. Mader's son passed away unexpectedly and there was no money to hire outside contractors to fix and maintain the property. Mr. Mader conceded that without his son in the picture, the properties were too much to handle. So he sold them. Thereafter, he was still sent to jail
But, wait. Wasn't Mr. Mader's (a suburbanite) purchase of the homes an investment in urban Cleveland? And, in a city with a declining population and tens of thousands of abandoned homes, isn't that what Cleveland needs: investment from outsiders?
Ohio code enforcement laws were written to enforce the law against owner-occupants. Today, there are more homes in Ohio's urban communities than there are prospective home purchasers.
Healthcare. Drug Addiction. Disappearing pensions. What do any of these things have to with abandoned homes? Each of the three stories below explains these driving forces and how they contribute to blight, abandonment, and the increase in vacant homes across Ohio's urban and rural communities.