Fair Housing

About the Program
  • Answer questions
  • Provide education on housing rights
  • Help assist residents or prospective residents in filing fair housing complaints.

Fair housing is the unlawful discrimination of persons or families based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, disability, ancestry, or military status.

  • "It is hereby designated to be the policy of the City to do all of the things necessary and proper to secure for all its residents their right to equal housing opportunities regardless of their race, color, creed, sex, religious belief, national origin, handicap or familial status." (Ord. 1991-34. Passed 6-3-91.)

Familial status includes non-discrimination of households with children. With regard to disabilities, landlords are generally required to provide reasonable accommodations to assist persons with disabilities.

Potential fair housing complaints are informed of fair housing rights and remedies and appropriate resources. Other callers (landlord/tenant or inquiries) are referred to the appropriate authorities. Please support your neighbors and support your City. If you know someone with housing concerns or questions, please refer them to the Wooster Fair Housing Program for assistance.

Property Maintenance Issues

Houses and apartments must meet certain safety building safety codes. When a complaint is made about an unsafe home or other building, the City’s Property Maintenance Inspector will investigate the issue, write a report, and advise the owner which repairs are needed. The City may take legal action against an owner willfully choosing to ignore an order to make a required repair; however, this process often takes time and does not ensure repairs will be made. For Property Maintenance concerns contact the Building Standard Division's Property Code Enforcement, where complaints can be made online. (Additionally, complaints are taken by phone at 330.263.5241).

At the same time, tenants with concerns about property maintenance should also contact the Fair Housing Hotline, as there may be additional measures tenants may take to protect themselves, including escrowing rents until repairs are made.

Please note, a tenant withholding rent while waiting for a landlord to make a repair risks facing an eviction action and may lose certain important rights. Instead, Wooster residents have the right to place their rent with the Wayne County Clerk of Courts, but only after first making a request for repairs in writing and providing the landlord with a reasonable time to make the repairs, usually thirty-days. Please reference the Tenant's Guide to Rent Escrow here (Thank you to the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati).

Tenant Rights

On occasion, a tenant will report that a landlord is not fulfilling a lease obligation. When specific legal questions arise, such as questions about a lease or a civil dispute, the City of Wooster’s Fair Housing Program will recommend that individuals speak with an attorney. The City of Wooster Fair Housing Program is not able to provide legal advice.

The Program also recommends that tenants and landlords alike review Ohio Revised Code Chapter 5321, which governs Landlord-Tenant law, as remedies are afforded to tenants when landlords act unlawfully, and vice versa.

A great resource available to learn move about tenant rights is the COHHIO Tenant Rent Information Line: 888.485.7999. Callers will be asked to leave a message and will have an opportunity to speak with an expert on Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law. COHHIO is a not-for-profit agency that receives State tax dollars to provide critical information to residents in need.

For those needing legal assistance and unable to afford an attorney, Community Legal Aid, an Ohio non-profit law firm, may be able to assist low-income individuals and families with their civil needs throughout Wayne and surrounding counties. The firm’s website offers an exceptional Self-Help Library addressing common housing issues. 

For low-income residents in need of legal advice or assistance contact the Community Legal Aid, Legal HelpLine or submit an online application via the link below.

Analysis of Impediments

As with many other communities, Wooster continually analyses trends in Fair Housing to help ensure equal access for housing in our community. Every six years, the City performs a comprehensive analysis of Fair Housing Choice, which it then updates annually based on complaint data. The most recent analysis was performed in 2019.

The Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice conducted by the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium offers the latest comprehensive data fair housing available for the Northeast Ohio region, including information on incidents as well as offering an inventory of civic, social, housing, and transportation resources.

Educational Events

The City of Wooster hosts at least five educational training courses annually, including public presentations at our City Council meetings as well as at the Wayne County Public Library. Additionally, our staff is happy to meet with Wooster agencies and social service organizations upon request for on-site for Fair Housing Trainings or informational sessions.

Contact Information

The Wooster Fair Housing Program is available during normal business hours to answer questions about Fair Housing and also Landlord-Tenant issues for City of Wooster residents. Please contact the Development Coordinator at the Fair Housing Office. 

We will document your complaint and provide you with resources that may be able to assist you. We will help you to get to the right place. Or if calling concerning a complaint outside of the City of Wooster, please contact the Wayne County Fair Housing Program.

The City of Wooster's Fair Housing Board is dedicated to ensuring the right to equal housing opportunities for the community. Complaints are analyzed annually to identify impediments to fair housing. The City of Wooster's Fair Housing Office, part of the Community Service and Development Department, is also available at:

City of Wooster Fair Housing Office
538 N. Market St.
Wooster, Ohio 44691
(330) 263.5250

Additional details on the City of Wooster's Fair Housing regulations may be found within Chapter 1353 of our Codified Ordinances.

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Fair Housing Resources

Wayne County Fair Housing

Phone: (330) 287-5420

 

Community Legal Aid

1 (800) 998-9454

Regional Ohio Civil Rights Commission

Akron Gov. Ctr

161 S. High Street,

Suite 205, Akron, Ohio 44308

(330) 643-3100

Ohio Civil Rights Commission

1111 E. Broad Street, Suite 301

Columbus, Ohio 43205

1 (888) 278-7101

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Main: 1 (800) 669-9777

TDD: 1 (800) 927-9275

Community Legal Aid

Legal Aid HelpLine

1 (800) 998-9454 

For the Fair Housing Office

Development Coordinator

(330) 263-5200 x 300

Building Standards Division

Property Code Compliance

(330) 263-5200 x 362