Valley lawmakers, Youngstown council search for ways to stop pre - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Valley lawmakers, Youngstown council search for ways to stop predatory land contracts

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Area lawmakers are leading a bi-partisan effort to curb predatory land contracts in Ohio, just days before Youngstown city leaders are set to vote on a similar measure. 

Four Valley legislators are introducing companion bills aimed at stopping the exploitation and manipulation of families through land installment contracts.

State Representatives Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and Don Manning (R- New Middletown), along with State Senators Sean O'Brien (D-Bazetta) and Michael Rulli (R-Salem) are introducing new bipartisan legislation to establish better protections for Ohioans who are buying homes via land installment contracts (LICs), commonly referred to as "lease-to-own" or "rent-to-own" agreements.

The lawmakers say the Mahoning Valley has been particularly vulnerable to predatory land contract practices by out of state companies.

"The main focus of the bill is to just look at loopholes in the Ohio Revised Code and look at how we want to protect the people who are going into a land contract and make sure that we enhance our neighborhoods," said Rep. Lepore-Hagan. 

The announcement comes just two days before Youngstown city leaders are set to vote on an ordinance to address the same issue. 

City council is expected to vote on legislation to more address land contracts and out of town property owners in the city. 

The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation says that in recent years, Youngstown has experienced an increase in out of town and out of state property owners buying property. 

YNDC says that many of the owners do not maintain or invest in the property and use predatory land contracts to "take advantage of our fellow residents and blight our neighborhoods." 

YNDC is asking that members of the community who support the ordinance gather together to attend the city council meeting on Wednesday. 

Supporters can meet outside of the Youngstown Police Department entrance on W. Boardman Street at 4:30 p.m. and then proceed inside together to show support for the ordinance. 

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