About the Toledo Municipal Court
- Lead the way in developing innovative and effective solutions for housing
- Link homeowners, tenants and landlords to community resources to maintain
safe homes for our citizens
- Foster partnerships with community organizations and governmental entities
for continued improvement of available housing
What is the Toledo Environmental Housing Court?
The Environmental Housing Court was established in 1987, allowing the Toledo
Municipal Court to consolidate all criminal and civil housing and environmental
cases into a single session of Court, to be presided over by a Judge
specifically elected to that position.
On January 6, 2000, Judge C. Allen McConnell was sworn in as Judge for the
Housing and Environmental Court to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of
Judge Roger R. Weiher.
The Environmental Court has both a civil docket and a criminal docket.
Housing Court deals with issues surrounding properties that directly impact
the quality of life in Toledo’s neighborhoods. The Court’s goal is to achieve
compliance with code ordinances, resulting in improving the beautification and
safety of Toledo’s housing stock and businesses. The criminal docket of the
Environmental Court hears cases involving alleged violations of the Toledo
Municipal Code Chapters 11, 13, 15 and 17 (Planning and Zoning, Building, Fire
Prevention and Health Codes).
Defendants appear before the Court after charges have been brought by the City
Health, Fire, Neighborhoods and Inspection Departments seeking to enforce
zoning, building, health, safety and nuisance abatement codes. House stripping,
fire prevention, dumping, littering, (and cases referred from the civil docket)
are also included in the criminal docket.
While some of the criminal defendants that come before this Court are willful
violators of housing code ordinances, many of the defendants are hard-working
people who have become overwhelmed by the demands of home maintenance due to
financial and/or physical limitations. Many of these defendants are elderly and
A defendant is expected to enter a plea at the arraignment stage of the
proceeding. If the condition can be corrected in a short time, or the Inspector
approves, sentencing may be reserved and the case continued for a reasonable
period of time to allow the defendant to do what is necessary to comply with the
While little tolerance is given for repeat offenders and negligent investment
property owners, the Court’s goal of compliance is reached by most defendants
through assistance rather than retribution.
The civil docket includes matters that also impact the housing stock and
quality of life in Toledo’s neighborhoods. Cases involving landlord-tenant
disputes known as Forcible Entry and Detainer actions (FED’s) and rent escrows
under Chapters 1923 and 5321 of the Ohio Revised Code, and civil actions filed
by the City of Toledo for a temporary restraining order to abate a nuisance,
receivership appointments to abate a nuisance and any motions for stays of
eviction or temporary restraining orders.
A Housing Court Magistrate hears all first causes of action in FED’s
(evictions), as well as rent escrow cases wherein tenants deposit rent into an
escrow account with the Court because of a dispute with the landlord. The
Magistrate’s orders are submitted to the Housing Court Judge for approval. Any
objections to the orders of the magistrate are referred to the Housing Court
Judge for decision or hearing. Beginning in September 1993, in an attempt to
expedite cases, the rent escrows are first referred to the Court’s Citizen
Dispute Settlement Program (CDSP) for possible resolution prior to a formal
Whenever an allegation of substandard or unfit conditions is raised at a rent
escrow or FED hearing, an immediate referral is made to a Housing Specialist. In
eviction hearings, a Housing Specialist may be appointed to investigate those
specific conditions and other conditions constituting code violations. The
property owner is ordered not to re-rent the unit until these conditions are
corrected. The property owner is assisted in establishing timeframes for
completion. Oftentimes, the Housing Specialist acts as a mediator between the
property owner and the tenant to achieve a compromise for the particular