FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2022
Ohio cities unlawfully trample property rights when they criminalize vacation rentals.
Columbus, OH – The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law this week moved to enjoin the City of Milford’s severe new restrictions targeting homeowners listing their homes on Airbnb and VRBO.
The federal lawsuit is filed on behalf of Milford homeowners Tara Menkhaus, who is forbidden from hosting short-term guests because a neighbor within 300 feet first obtained a permit to do, and Linda Cassidy, who is forbidden from hosting short-term guests solely because lives in her own home down the street rather than within her vacation rental, as the City now requires.
Through its Motion for Preliminary Injunction, the 1851 Center explains that the Milford ordinance and its penalties violate the United States and Ohio Constitutions through arbitrarily suppressing private property rights and commerce:
- Due process, equal protection, and antitrust guarantees protect Ohioans from “Neighborhood Vetoes,” whereby local governments authorize any protesting neighbor to veto another’s use of his or her home (as a vacation rental in this case), even if that neighbor is doing so to create a neighborhood monopoly for his own rental.
- Due process and commerce guarantees also protect Ohioans from “Residency Requirements” that require homeowners live within a particular home in a specific city simply to retain their longstanding right to lease their own homes.
- The Excessive Fines Clause forbids fines of up to $3,000 per day for simply continuing to lease one’s home.
“Ohio cities transgress both constitutional and ethical boundaries when they empower busybody neighbors veto power over our property rights, or condition our right on where we live,” explained 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson. “In the absence of evidence that one’s property is actually inflicting harm on others, which can already be solved by nuisance law, local governments and their supplicants must peacefully tolerate homeowners’ harmless personal choices, be it the color of their home or who they invite to stay there.”
The case is pending before Judge Barrett in the Western Division of the Southern District of Ohio.
Read the 1851 Center’s Complaint here.
Read the 1851 Center’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction here.
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a nonprofit, nonpartisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, regulation, taxation, and searches and seizures.