State Rep. Stinziano fights to prevent unsafe housing
In the wake of a deadly Christmas Eve fire, State Rep. Michael Stinziano said he intends to assist cities in preventing residents from living in unsafe housing.
The fire killed three people in Franklinton after a space heater ignited a mattress in the home. Gas service had been shut off because of a leak inside the house.
“People in our community should be able to live in housing that is safe,” Stinziano said.
Stinziano said he plans to work with Columbus City Councilman Zach Klein, Franklin County Environmental Court Judge Harlan Hale and other city officials on this problem.
Stinziano has been working with Columbus City Attorney Rick Pfeiffer to identify a legislative solution for the ongoing concerns regarding vacant or unlivable properties.
Plans being explored include boosting the criminal penalties and fines for the violation of failure to vacate a property.
Stinziano said among the ideas worth exploring are making failure to vacate a property a violation eligible for prosecution under Ohio’s negligent homicide laws if deaths result.
Ignoring an order to vacate a property is currently a misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, if convicted.