Mary Barnwell on Rent Deposits

Housing Court Insider

Mary Barnwell, Chief Housing Specialist for Cleveland Housing Court, spoke Friday, May 27, to a virtual workshop organized by the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. Among the topics Barnwell covered was Rent Deposits:

“Another process we have, and this is mainly if tenants believe landlords are neglecting their duties to maintain their properties in a safe and habitable manner, tenants can file a Rent Deposit case. Now, Rent Deposit isn’t considered a case like an eviction case, it’s an escrow case. And so one thing I like to tell tenants and landlords: You cannot, this is not a bank account, you can’t withdraw from it once you deposit rent, on either side. It’s up to the courts to decide who the money that’s put into escrow belongs to, essentially. But the escrow process is so great because it allows for the landlord and tenant to have a conversation about what the tenant’s requests are as far as fixing a property or things again that the landlord is not doing on their end. And it’s a great way to keep tenants in place.”