Housing Committee Meeting – Rental Housing

The Housing Committee met on September 6th to discuss Rental Housing in the City of Middletown.   Forty-seven percent of Middletown housing is rental housing.  In the rest of Butler County, only 28.5% of total housing is rental.  That means we are carrying the heaviest load for rental property in the county.

As with home ownership, I presented census data showing rental housing rates in Middletown, the rest of Butler County, the State of Ohio and the United States as a whole.

Ohio as a state has 34% of its total housing as rental units.  The United States rental rate is at 36.4%. We are more than 13% higher in rental housing than the state as a whole.

At our previous meeting on home ownership, the committee recommended that we set a home ownership goal in the City of Middletown at 63.6%, equal to the United States home ownership rate. If that is our recommended home ownership rate, then the math leaves us with a rental housing rate of 36.4%, or a reduction of more than 10% from current levels.

Converting percentages to houses, we’d need to convert over 2000 rentals into home ownership to meet our goal.

We then talked about subsidized housing in Middletown, a subset of our rental housing.  We discussed the increase in Section 8 during the early 2000’s and the effect it had on increasing poverty in the city and adding out of town landlords to our housing mix.  When you add low income housing tax credit properties to our BMHA housing units, 12.8% of all our housing is subsidized and/or low income housing.  As a percentage of total housing, that number is much higher than the rest of the state.

We moved from subsidized housing to the use of single family homes as rental units.  As with overall rentals and with subsidized housing, our use of single family homes as rental units is also well beyond the rest of Butler County and the State of Ohio.

We talked about some of the tools we could use to reduce rental units overall and single family units being used as rentals specifically.  Those tools included:

  • Add New Homeowner Housing
  • Add New Market Rate Multi-Family Units
  • Demolish Poor Quality Rentals
  • Remove Single Family Rentals in the Industrial Buffer Area
  • Fill Vacant Houses with Homeowners
  • Convert Single Family Rentals Back to Home ownership
  • Adding a Single Family Rental Tax – Revenue to Nuisance Abatement Fund

Finally, we talked about rental registration. Many Ohio communities have a rental licensing program of some type incorporated into their property maintenance code.

We discussed current code enforcement efforts and existing ordinances that are on the books but not always fully enforced due to lack of city inspectors and budget.  It is my recommendation that if we are going to look at rental registration in the future, we should start by adding sufficient code enforcement staff to fully enforce the ordinances we already have in place.  If that becomes insufficient to keep both home owners and landlords from doing bad things with their properties, then we can look at additional tools to further address remaining problem areas.

For more information about the meeting or to view the presentation and materials discussed at the meeting, please click the link below.


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