Out-of-town landlord owes Hamilton County $600,000 in property taxes, fees and interest

Most of it's delinquent and would go to schools
This out-of-town landlord owes $600K in taxes
Posted at 6:00 AM, Feb 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-10 07:00:01-05

CINCINNATI -- In the blur of millions of property records, it's easy to miss Raineth Housing, one of Cincinnati's biggest out-of-state landlords. 

The company owns more than 300 houses in Hamilton County, many of them in the city's Price Hill neighborhoods.

Five of those homes are on a single block of Manss Avenue.

Ed Renwick, CEO of Raineth Housing, said the company has spent $9 million on houses in the Cincinnati market, and another $3 million rehabbing them. 

"I am motivated to get rich and I am motivated to make this a better place," he said.

But the I-Team found Raineth is delinquent on its property taxes, owing hundreds of thousands of dollars. And a neighborhood development group thinks Raineth isn't really helping Price Hill become a better place.

Tom Bollin lives within two blocks of a dozen Raineth homes, all bought within the last few years. All of them, he argued, are hurting the neighborhood.

"If you're not paying for your mortgage, if you're not paying property tax, you don't care about it. Nobody does," he said.

For Ken Smith, one of the basic responsibilities of owning property is paying your taxes on time, something Renwick's company didn’t do. Smith runs Price Hill Will, a nonprofit involved in a wide variety of development projects, including housing rehab. 

This home in West Price Hill is owned by Raineth Housing, one of Cincinnati's biggest out-of-town landlords. (Photo by Ramsay Fulbright | WCPO)

He's not a fan of Raineth Housing, saying many of the company's homes have had a negative impact.

"It's frustrating," he said. "We pay our taxes and we're a nonprofit."

Renwick, who lives in Brentwood, California, told the I-Team federal taxpayers provide $1.8 million in Section 8 subsidies for his renters in Cincinnati, Kansas City and St. Louis. His homes are affordable to people making half the regional income, he said.

"Half -- there is no other landlord in the country that can provide that kind of affordability," he said.

Hamilton County has a serious shortage of affordable housing, according to a study from the Community Building Institute at Xavier University. It was published last February. 

For households making 30 percent of the median income here, the county is short by about 40,000 units of affordable, available housing.

And since 2000, the number of families in poverty increased by more than the national rate: by 43 percent in Hamilton County, compared to 33 percent nationally. 

People in the Price Hill neighborhoods are among those most burdened most with housing costs. There, many are paying more than 30 percent of their income for where they live -- leaving less money for food, medication and other daily costs.

Tom Bollin lives near a dozen properties owned by Raineth Housing. (Photo by Ramsay Fulbright | WCPO)

Meanwhile, Renwick's company owes more than $600,000 in Hamilton County property taxes, fees and interest; most of it is delinquent, and most would be distributed to public schools. 

Renwick claimed he hasn't made a profit in seven years because he bought too many houses too soon, and learned he underestimated how much it would cost to buy and manage 2,000 homes.

"We're not happy about it," Renwick said. "We're not happy about it. We're behind in our taxes because we're behind in our profitability."

Smith argued that, by being delinquent, Renwick's company is taking money from everybody who does pay their taxes.

Bollin had an idea how Renwick could catch up: "I think they should take his mansion from him. That way he can pay for it."