At about 70 percent, renters — and not homeowners — dominate the city’s housing market.
But many tenants, equating to at least 17,500 city residents, don’t understand their basic liberties protecting them against discriminatory landlords, real estate companies and financial institutions.
Enter Donald Eager, a man charged with shedding light on renter rights. For years, city commissioners have contracted with Eager’s Lancaster-based legal firm to provide housing guidance for residents after they file a housingrelated grievance.
Commissioners recently re-upped his contract for another year. At $12,000, federal grant money, specifically assisting low- to moderate-income residents, covers his fee.
“This service provides an avenue for people if they are unsure if they are being treated properly in regards to housing,” Sandusky chief planner Rebecca Corrigan said. “It also ensures residents are provided a means to access housing in any part of the community”
Eager’s fair housing program consists of three major components:
•Enforcement: After receiving a complaint, Eager can provide tips or offer solutions so a potentially victimized tenant can seek resolution in a rental dispute. In more drastic situations, Eager can refer someone to an attorney specializing in housing issues.
•Education: Eager organizes seminars in Sandusky for area tenants, landlords and others. The training sessions help people understand how to adhere to fair housing laws.
•Outreach: Eager and his partners, including city officials, advertise and publicize fair housing laws, spotlighting rules and regulations in different mediums so area tenants, landlords and organizations are aware of them.
All complaints filed by renters remain confidential with safeguards in place to protect anyone from those, including landlords, seeking retribution.
“We try to be the housing resource for the residents of the city,” Eager said.