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Government & Politics

Ohio Becomes the First State to Ban Plywood on Foreclosures

photo of clear polycarbonate used to board up a vacant Cleveland home
Advocates of clear polycarbonate doors and windows say they pay for themselves since they help with resale and allow natural light into a foreclosed property.

Ohio's first-in-the-nation law governing boarding-up properties is being seen as a big boost for the use of clear, polycarbonate doors and windows on abandoned homes.

It’s now illegal to use plywood to secure foreclosed properties in Ohio. Even though the clear polycarbonate can be up to twice as expensive as plywood, contractor Chris Moran says the price is worth it.

“The light coming into the home creates the heat, so if there’s any moisture build up, a lot of the basements have seepage in the basements. Definitely helps out with mold issues [and] stuff like that.

“Whenever you go into a home and there’s plywood on the windows, you virtually have no light coming into the house. You’re in a dark area that you’ve never been in before. The fact of not being able to see outside or have natural light come into the house is definitely a big issue: basically, it’s like going into a house at nighttime.”

Moran adds that most houses using the clear doors and windows can't be easily spotted as abandoned or foreclosed properties -- versus homes secured with plywood. He says that might also cut down on theft.

Gov. Kasich signed the plywood ban last week as part of a series of bills.

The law does not apply to properties already secured with plywood, nor would it apply to homes that have been damaged by fire and need to be secured while awaiting repairs.

Some Cleveland city council members had advocated requiring polycarbonate in the past, saying it helps properties sell and does not need to be replaced as often as plywood.