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OH: Landlord with convicted rapist as tenant tests nationwide eviction moratorium

[beaconjournal.com – 11/4/20]

When Norton resident Charles Fowler discovered he had a Barberton tenant with a criminal record that included rape living at one of his rental properties, he knew he had a problem.

For one, there was a nationwide moratorium on evictions. The ban was first passed by Congress earlier this year as a response to rising unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic. That ban expired, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an order extending it until Dec. 31.

..

He contacted U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez’s office, where he hit a wall. Fowler was told by a staffer that because of the CDC order, there was nothing the lawmaker could do.

The letter to the school district, however, paid off. The district’s attorney contacted Barberton Law Director Lisa Miller, he said.

Miller said that she filed a notice with the court in the case based on an exception to the CDC’s moratorium for health and safety reasons. The court reactivated the case and on Oct. 27, Fowler got his hearing.

Miller praised Fowler, calling him a conscientious landlord.

“He cares for his properties and the people who live there,” she said.

On Oct. 28, a magistrate ruled in his favor. Fowler said he’s hoping the eviction will be completed this week.

Read the full article

 

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  1. Roger

    Even though the CDC order bans evictions, this landlord finds an exception.

  2. Looking for Answers

    It’s ridiculous how it says in the article he cares for the people who are his tenants and neighbors. He obviously didn’t take care of that tenant who would have a particularly hard time finding housing.
    I wonder if he’s bothered to search public records on everyone around to make sure there are only completely arrest and offense free individuals within a certain radius of him? Of course he doesn’t. He just wants accolades by picking on the underdog who is on the easily searched registry so he can get his 15 min of fame.

    • Brandon

      I doubt his tenant was committing sex crimes now and was no threat to his neighbors during his time living there. What about other criminals living there are they next? Shame on the landlord and the judge doing this during an actual health/public safety crisis. Landlord’s favorite character must be Mr. Scrooge!!

      People need to learn how to mind their own business and not to let their emotions rule the day. If someone has a past and aren’t bothering anyone, leave them alone!!

  3. NorthEastPENN

    When I was released from prison it was because of a landlord ACCEPTING my application to live at one of his properties. He owned many properties – single family houses and rooming houses. To boot he was a devout Christian. He and his wife were very religious and all of their seven children were adopted. They ranged at the time from 9 to 17. All of the children were from different races, etc.

    This landlord and his wife strongly believed in second chances. He highly preferred to rent to S#x Offenders because they so much appreciated the fact that he and his wife treated them with kindness and compassion and that the residents (me being one of them a reg SO) took such good care of his units that we lived in. We highly respected him and his wife.

    He was a member of a “landlord group” and at his meetings other members (other landlords) would ask him why in the world he would rent to SOs. He made it quite clear to those who asked – “Everyone, no matter who they are, deserve a second chance!”.

    My boss and his wife (the part time office job I work at now) also are Christians and also believe in second chances. They know of my background but consider me one of their best employees. They have a lot of respect for me as a “person”. I am in a management position also with this company.

    I own my own home now so I don’t have to worry about a landlord. Some of my neighbors snub me but one of them could care less and he tells the other neighbors basically when they start to bash me in front of him to leave me alone and mind their own business because I am not bothering anyone and stay to myself.

    • Alan Buckley

      See that’s what I’m talkn about im liveing in Anniston Alabama at a RV park I have no family or firends except this guy I live with his name is Dale Hancock he’s been helpn me a lot but the other night he got drunk and told me I needed to leave and call the law and they made me leave the property now I’m out in this cold and exposed to this corona even the landlord thretens me of being locked up if I came back on the property is there nothing I can do me and my friend made up and he doesn’t want me on the street but the landlord doesn’t care if I got I got corona and died from this is that murder or does no one even try to care I’m guessing not but it’s good to know there’s people out there that don’t judge out past and that gives me hope so what do y’all think I should do I’ve made a report and talked to a lawyer once but he never called back after I explained my. Situation and why and how I became this outcast . But it’s funny to me bc Kno this isn’t the end. So what should I do y’all? Give me ur opinions.

  4. Dustin

    Really wish there was a comment section on this article. There are a lot of holes in this story that I for one would like to see filled.

    First, the reporter didn’t name the targeted registrant. Pretty unusual for a story like this to not name the “sex offender” and rehash the crime that led to his registration requirement.

    Second, they pointed out that he was “under indictment” for FTR – wouldn’t there be a warrant out for him then? Wouldn’t LE be asking for “anyone with information…” in such a story? Wouldn’t that have come up when they arrested the wife on another matter?

    Third, why bother with eviction? Why not report the tenant to the sheriff’s office and have him popped for either FTR or residence violation? Pretty sure a criminal statute (state or federal) overrides a CDC regulation.

    And finally, how long had the “problem tenant” lived there before this (supposed) discovery, and how many incidents occurred during that time? He complains that the rent payments stopped after he served an eviction notice (duh), but not ONE SINGLE WORD about any suspicious activity he personally saw about this guy to make him seem a CURRENT threat, nor anything about terrified neighbors.

    The whole story stinks. If I had to guess, this landlord wanted to evict someone for whatever reason and made up the the sex offender part to elicit sympathy from whoever he complained to, including the reporter who has shown yet another reason to doubt that there is anything resembling journalistic integrity in the media today.

    If anyone has Facebook, please copy/paste the above onto this paper’s page. I intend to wirte to the story’s author, but I’m not holding my breath waiting for a response.

  5. Berdoo

    The tenant would have been better positioned to launch defense if he was in compliance with the law (registration). On another note the general public has latched onto this misnomer of stranger danger and that residency restrictions offer protection. We all know (including law enforcement) that crime is typically perpetrated against someone in their family, a significant other or someone in their social circle.

    • Brandon

      In my state on the registry’s site, “ Most sex crimes are committed by people known to the victim.” So why have a registry other than to shame people. Our country is run by immoral people with public approval; while my head continues to spin!!

  6. Disgusted in Michigan

    I am curious to know how long the tenant has lived there, if he has always paid his rent on time, has never caused any problems there, etc., because if he was a good tenant I think he has a good leg to stand on with a lawsuit. To evict someone solely on the grounds of being a registered citizen violates so many civil rights.

  7. Saddles

    War is hell as someone once said. Well than what is life or is just luck to pass the standards of life without hassles in life or do we all seem to mind our own business. So what if landlord finds out you raped someone or do we rape in war with killing the enemy or are we all still wrestling with flesh and blood?

    Is this landlord raping his position in this eviction ordeal or the government or who is created equal when those with these inducements via the internet invade on another. Oh “its my job to protect and serve as they say”. So who is pumping the press in this wine vat of emotion or priming the pump in this outcast of others. Sure we can all talk about taking care of business but who’s business is it to overthrow others. Punishment can be used for good or bad and many times overrated and somewhat vain or who is seeking their own vain glory?

    Rape can take on many different view’s and forms. Working things out in this landlord issue is the best remedy as no one wants to hold a black face to another or should we all say “Erase the hate” in many of these callous ordeals. Sure we all have responsiblities but we are all different and many can go to far such as ths landlord wanting to boot someone out of a home or an apartment or living area.

    So were does segration come into play or does pandemic say much in all this. Should people only have a Bill Gates degree to go on the internet to understand all about human behavior or how to treat one’s fellow man or who’s trying to get over on the other person… or does the one that is a sex offender look at the degree easy way out of a situation.

    Isn’t that how protests start.

  8. totally against public registry

    This landlord is letting fear dictate life. For the safety of his tenants? This citizen on the registry IS one of his tenants! Just outrageous to say the least. so sorry this kind of B.S. keeps happening

  9. AERO1

    Sex offenders who dont own property in America are eazy targets for LE and are most likely to be sent to prison for violating their sex offender registration conditions.
    Because of IML its literally impossible to stay at one job for along time same with renting apartments all it takes is one noise Neighbor to start gossiping and pointing their finger and complaining to the office for you being at the pool with your kids or BBQ on the public grill’s by the play area while your kids are playing.
    This is the type of stuff sex offenders go through everyday it literally destroyes marriages separates kids from their parents and forces sex offenders to go under ground and become homeless.
    The biggest victims of IML is the teenage sex offenders the ones still in high school who are placed on the registry before they even learned how to drive their whole adult life is over before it even started being a sex offender is all they will know and without being able to obtain a stable source of income at such a young age alot of them won’t be abole handle the pressure snd fall in into depression loneliness and hopelessness and end up committing suicide others turn to a life of crime to survive and end up doing hard time.

    Good luck

    • SR

      I’ve experienced this. A year into my probation I lost my apartment of 20 years. I was a perfect tenant but was issued a 60 day notice without explanation. I was technically homeless for nearly 3 months (stayed in an extended stay hotel). After several failed bids to find a new apartment due to my background check, my mom suggested I try buying. A family friend suggested I speak with his ex real estate partner who was now an independent mortgage broker. He was able to find several different programs that basically allowed me to buy a home with just 0.5% down. Took a bit to find a place that I could afford but I now own my own small home. It needs a fair amount of work, but the roof isn’t leaking, the lights are on, and it’s warm. I’m thankful I was able to do what so many can’t. Not having that larger specter looming over me of being booted from my home is comforting in this otherwise nightmarish existence on the registry.

    • @AERO1

      America may not be looking out for future generations very well but at least all juveniles can get reduced to 25 years with good behavior on this new SORNA.

  10. Worried in Wisconsin

    Not sure if the conviction pre-dates the lease, but if so the landlord should not have been surprised by his tenant’s conviction. Just me, but I think that if a landlord doesn’t check on these things before leasing the apartment he should be prohibited from evicting someone after the fact.

    When I was putting together my release plan for a parole hearing, securing housing was a problem. We finally came up with a gutsy plan – my mother worked with my attorney and together they placed an ad in the local paper which read in part, “Sex offender about to be released from prison seeks country house/apartment to rent…” Interested parties were directed to contact my attorney.

    Believe it or not, there were a few responses. If a landlord responded it was clear my status didn’t scare them off. If they were scared off, they didn’t respond. I was determined to prevent the situation outlined in this article, and luckily it worked.

    • C

      A well executed plan make it the first thing a potential landlord knows about you so you only receive worthwhile replies.
      We had a vacancy at one of my father’s rental properties, the one where he happens to live. He has advanced dementia so I have POC to handle his affairs. I got an email response to my ad on CL for the apartment that stated right up front he was a registrant. I felt so sorry for the guy (maybe it was you?), but in order to protect my dad, decided not to consider him. To be clear, it was not to protect my dad from the registrant, but any tenants or neighbors reaction.
      If my dad did not live there, I’d have rented to him. No sweat.

    • john

      well done, I did the same on craigslist for a job, surprisingly i got over 50+ interviews the first day. the first interview I landed was to be a crew leader for cleaning houses

  11. C

    It’s apparent this crotchety old landlord is looking for any excuse possible to evict those unable to pay their rent. He leaves out the fact that in the eviction moratorium also includes relief to landlords.
    As for the registrant and his wife, they don’t sound like winners. The wife was busted for an outstanding warranty on a stolen vehicle?
    The guy had an FTR in another state?
    Aye yaye yaye. What a mess.

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