CINCINNATI — Cincinnati's Port will spend $14.5 million to buy 194 houses from an out-of-state landlord with a history of delinquent property taxes and code violations.
In 2019, the city filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles-based Raineth Housing, accusing the company of owning properties that were a "public nuisance."
Now, the Port-Cincinnati said it plans to partner with community groups to "reclaim" those homes.
"Our perfect world here is that the current renters become owners," Port-Cincinnati CEO Laura Bruner said. "We know for a fact that at least a dozen of these current renters have already qualified for home mortgages and been through home-ownership training, and can't find a property in their price range."
Brunner said she hopes some renters can buy their homes as soon as next year.
According to the Port, over the last 20 years, "institutional" out-of-state property investors have purchased 4,062 houses in Hamilton County, including 664 houses in Colerain Township, 492 in Springfield Township and 359 in Cincinnati's West Price Hill neighborhood.
The increase in institutional property ownership means fewer homes are available for local owners.
The WCPO 9 I-Team first investigated Raineth Housing-owned properties in 2018. At the time, Raineth's CEO, Ed Renwick, said, "We are doing unambiguous good for our neighborhoods" by providing housing that people with lower incomes can afford.
Belle Barrett said she and her 14-year-old son have lived in one of those Raineth houses for the last 3 1/2 years.
"When I first moved in, I did have issues," Barrett said. "The ceiling leaked a little bit."
Her home is in West Price Hill within a few blocks of more than a dozen former Raineth properties. Still, she said she likes her neighborhood and wants to stay.
"I would purchase my home if I was given the opportunity," Barrett said.
To learn more about this program, contact the Port and their partners:
- Legal Aid, Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME)
- Working in Neighborhoods (WIN)
- Talbert House
- Price Hill Will
- Sisters of Charity
- Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
- The Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA)
- Home Ownership Center of Greater Cincinnati
RELATED: Out-of-town landlord owes Hamilton County $600,000 in property taxes, fees and interest
RELATED: 'Pay to Stay' proposal could help renters fight eviction