State Rules and Regulations for Ohio Rental Properties and Landlords

According to Ohio law (Ohio Revised Code Chapter 5321) wherever there is a written or verbal rental lease agreement, the tenant automatically gets certain rights, such as the right to a habitable dwelling and the right to pursue some forms of alternative action.

Landlords also have the right to collect rental payments in a timely manner and the right to be reimbursed for costs associated with damages that exceed normal wear and tear.

Ohio Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposits in Ohio

  • Standard Limit/Maximum Amount – None.
  • Time Limit for Return – 30 days.
  • Penalty if Not Returned on Time – Landlords who wrongfully withhold rent for more than 30 days may be fined up to the amount of the security deposit and the tenant’s legal fees.
  • Allowable Deductions – Missed rental payments, repairs for damages exceeding normal wear and tear.

Lease, Rent & Fees Under Ohio Law

  • Rent Is Due: As stated in the lease.
  • Rent Increase Notice: No statute.
  • Rent Grace Period: No statute.
  • Late Fees: No statute, but case law allows limited late fees if specified in the lease. (See Ohiolandlordtenant.com’s “Landlord’s Corner – Late Fees in Ohio”) and (Ohiolandlordtenantblog.com’s “Amounts of Late Fees Allowed In Ohio Limited”)
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute.
  • Returned Check Fees: No more than $30 or 10 percent of the check amount, whichever is greater (§§ 1319.16).
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes, but only under certain circumstances. Instead of paying rent to the landlord tenant may deposit rent with the clerk of the court with jurisdiction over the premises. Tenants must first notify the landlord in writing of the landlord’s failure to fulfill obligations defined in §§ 5321.04 or in the rental agreement, or if a governmental agency has found code violations that could affect health and safety, and the landlord has failed to remedy the conditions in a reasonable amount of time considering their severity and the time necessary to remedy, or within 30 days, whichever is sooner (§§ 5321.07, §§ 5321.08, §§ 5321.09 and §§ 5321.10).
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No statute.
  • Landlord or Tenant Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Yes, but only allowed in certain circumstances. No provision regarding the payment of the landlord’s or tenant’s attorney fees is allowed in any rental agreement (§§ 5321.13(C)). Landlord may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney fees for tenant violations of statutory Tenant Obligations §§ 5321.05(C)(1). If the landlord fails to comply with the rules for returning the security deposit, tenants may recover money due along with damages equal to the amount wrongfully withheld, plus reasonable attorney fees (§§ 5321.16(C) and §§ 5321.04(B)).
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: No statute.
  • Abandonment/Early Termination Fee: No statute.

Evictions in Ohio

Ohio law empowers landlords to evict tenants for the following reasons:

  1. Nonpayment of rent – If a tenant does not make a rental payment, landlords may issue a 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit. If the tenant still does not pay, then the landlord can proceed with formal evictions.
  2. Violation of lease terms – If a lease violation occurs, Ohio landlords can issue a 3-Day Notice to Quit. The landlord may include provisions for remedying the issue but they are not required to. Either way, a landlord can proceed with eviction 3 days after giving the notice.
  3. Illegal Acts – Generally, landlords may follow the same procedure as lease violations for evicting tenants for illegal acts. Two criminal acts are grounds for immediate eviction without notice: using/selling/making drugs on the property or living within 1,000 feet of a school while being on the state sex offender registry.

At-will tenants are entitled to 30 days of notice before being asked to move out without cause. Landlords are also prohibited from evicting tenants for retaliatory or discriminatory purposes.

Notices and Entry Under Ohio Law

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No notice is needed as the lease simply expires.
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 30days’ notice (§§ 5321.17(B)).
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: Sevendays’ notice (§§ 5321.17(A)).
  • Termination of Tenancy with 24 Hours Notice: No statute.
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute.
  • Notice of Termination for Nonpayment: Three days’ written notice (§§ 1923.02) and (§§ 1923.04(A)).
  • Termination for Lease Violation: Three days’ written notice (§§ 1923.02(A)(9)) and (§§ 1923.04(A)).
  • Termination for Failure to Fulfill Tenant Obligations: 30 days’ written notice for violation of any statutory tenant obligations affecting health and safety, other than for illegal drug-related activity. Notice must specify the date on which the rental agreement will terminate as well as the tenant’s act or omission of noncompliance. Tenants have the opportunity to remedy the condition specified in the notice to avoid termination of the rental agreement (§§ 5321.11).
  • Termination for Drug-related Activity: Three days’ notice (§§ 5321.17(C)).
  • Required Notice before Entry: Reasonable notice is required, with 24 hours being presumed to be reasonable, and entry is only allowed at reasonable times (§§ 5321.04).
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes (§§ 5321.05(B)).
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes (§§ 5321.05(B)).
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Reasonable notice is not required in cases of emergency. (§§ 5321.04(8)).
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No statute.
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute.
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (§§ 5321.15).
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (§§ 5321.15).

Housing Discrimination in Ohio

Protected Groups. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing o the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. This law does not apply to owner-occupied homes or homes operated by religious organizations. Ohio state law further protects tenants from being discriminated against due to their military status. Ohio law does not provide extra protections to any other groups.

Discriminatory Acts & Penalties. The Ohio Civil Rights Commission administers and enforces housing discrimination law. The following actions may be interpreted as discriminatory when direct at a member of a protected class:

  • Refusing to rent, sell, or negotiate housing
  • Offering different terms, conditions, or privileges
  • Falsely denying unit availability
  • Advertising that implies a preference for one type of tenant over the other
  • Refusing to make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities
  • Providing unequal access to certain lending opportunities

Business Licenses

  • Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.

Helpful Links

State Agencies & Regulatory Bodies

Housing Authorities

Realtor, Landlord, and Tenant Organizations

 

 

These resources are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Landlords and Tenants are encouraged to seek specific legal advice for any of the issues as found in this blog.

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