Renting is on the rise, with all households seeing an increase in the prevalence of renting a home versus owning one from 2006 to 2016. As rental rates rise, so too do the rates of eviction. The detrimental effects of eviction are numerous and can be self-reinforcing, with a single eviction decreasing one’s chances of securing decent and affordable housing, escaping disadvantaged neighborhoods, and benefiting from affordable housing programs. All this was before the coronavirus pandemic that devastated jobs and savings accounts across the nation.

One of the biggest impacts that eviction has on renters is a public court record. It is the policy of many sophisticated property owners—as well as many HUD-funded properties—to reject applicants with any prior evictions. Housing courts across the country can help mitigate the effects of eviction. Cleveland Municipal Housing Court has tried to do just that. Cleveland Municipal Housing Court Local Rule 6.13 allows for the sealing of eviction records, but arbitrarily limits the protection the court is otherwise capable of providing. This Note argues that the Cleveland Municipal Housing Court—as well as every housing court in Ohio—has the inherent authority to order the expungement of eviction records and should adopt an amended rule that expands the availability and effectiveness of tenant protections.