DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Dayton City Commission unanimously passed a “pay to stay” ordinance that helps protect tenants from unnecessary evictions.

According to city officials, the ordinance gives judges discretion to allow tenants to avoid an eviction if all back rent, late fees and court costs have been paid. Currently, landlords do not have to accept back rent if an eviction has already been filed.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said this is one step the city can take to help people stay in their homes.

“This is a way for us to balance where the power is in a court proceeding to help tenants in that effort,” Whaley said.

It comes as the CDC eviction moratorium is scheduled to expire later this month, though the CDC has indicated it will likely be extended.

Officials said that Dayton has been considering an ordinance like this for nearly a year and has had many discussions with landlord and tenant advocates through the Eviction Task Force about the final version.

“We’re trying to think of what we can do as a local community to help tenants,” Whaley said.

Whaley said it’s also an equity issue. In Dayton zipcodes where more than 20% of tenants applied for help through Miami Valley Community Action Partnership, the majority were African-American. Whaley said nationally, black women are more likely to face eviction.

“You think about what that does to kids, they move around, they don’t have access to quality housing, so trying to get stabilization for families, particularly our black families, is really important,” Whaley said.

“Anything that we can do to help the American people, as it relates to ensuring they’re not taken out of their homes due to this COVID-19 condition, I think is a step in the right direction,” NAACP Dayton Unit President Derrick L. Foward said.

Foward said the ordinance is good news, but leaders need to be held accountable to continue passing ordinances and laws that address inequities.

“If city commission is passing ordinances like this that’s favorable to the citizen, then when it comes down to other ordinances they can pass, they need to do that as well,” Foward said.

Whaley said she hopes to see “Pay to Stay” go statewide, as other states have adopted. The city has also already implemented rental receipts and late fee caps.