- Keep the building safe and sanitary by complying with local housing, health, and safety codes.
- Make repairs to keep the building fit and habitable.
- Keep hallways, stairs, and other common areas safe and sanitary.
- Keep in good working order all electrical, plumbing, heating, and ventilation systems and fixtures.
- Provide garbage cans and arrange for pickup, if the landlord owns four or more units in same building.
- Provide running water and reasonable amounts of hot water and heat unless hot water and heat are supplied by an installation under the exclusive control of tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection.
- Not abuse the right of access.
- Give at least 24 hours notice, unless it is an emergency, before entering a tenant’s unit and entering only at reasonable times.
- Evict tenant when informed by a law enforcement officer of drug activity by the tenant, a member of the tenant’s household, or a guest of the tenant occurring in or otherwise connected with the tenant’s premises.
There is no government control over rent in Ohio, except in subsidized housing programs. In the case of a month to month agreement, a landlord must give a full thirty days notice before raising rent. In the case of a lease, a landlord may not raise rent during the term of the lease agreement. Ohio Landlord Tenant Law does not specifically address the issue of late charges. Late charges may be assessed as a part of the rental agreement. Late charges may not be “unconscionable” in their intent or application.
Recent changes in the Ohio Landlord Tenant Law require landlords to evict tenants when the landlord has actual knowledge of or reasonable cause to believe that the tenant, members of the tenants’ household, or persons on the property with the consent of the tenant, are engaged in drug activity. A landlord’s actions are triggered by a notice from a police department which has acted pursuant to a search warrant. Lease termination and eviction procedures in drug situations are faster than in other cases.
- Keep the premises which the tenant occupies safe and sanitary.
- Dispose of rubbish in the proper manner.
- Keep the plumbing fixtures as clean as their condition permits.
- Use electrical and plumbing fixtures properly.
- Comply with local housing, health, and safety codes.
- Refrain from activity that causes damage to the premises and keep guests from doing the same.
- Maintain appliances subject by the landlord in good working order.
- Conduct himself/herself in a manner that does not disturb any neighbors, and require guests and family members to do the same.
- Comply with state or municipal drug laws in connection with the premises and require household members and guests to do likewise.
- Permit the landlord to enter the dwelling unit if the request is reasonable and proper notice is given.
A landlord or a tenant may terminate a month-to-month rental agreement by giving a full thirty days notice to the other party. The thirty days begin on the rent due date. A written rental agreement (lease) normally specifies the method for termination or renewal. If it is not specified, then the agreement terminates on the date specified in the agreement. A landlord may give & a tenant notice that the tenant is not complying with the requirements of the Landlord Tenant Law and that the rental agreement will terminate in thirty days. The tenant may correct his noncompliance within the thirty-day period and the termination will be dropped. A tenant may give a landlord notice to comply with a duty imposed on him/her by the Landlord Tenant Law, the rental agreement or the local building, housing, health or safety code within thirty days, or the tenant may terminate the rental agreement.
If the landlord does not meet his/her duties under the law or local codes, or the rental agreement, a tenant may give the landlord a written notice of the conditions which need to be corrected. This notice must be delivered to the person or place where the tenant normally pays rent. The tenant should keep a copy. If the landlord fails to remedy conditions that are required by the ‘ Landlord Tenant Law, the rental agreement or the local building, housing, health and safety codes within a reasonable time, not to exceed 30 days, then the tenant may:
- deposit the rent with court; or
- request the court to order the repairs to be made;
- terminate the rental agreement
A landlord may apply to the court for a release of rent on the grounds that the conditions did not exist or has been corrected, that the tenant failed to follow the proper procedure in depositing rent while the Clerk of Courts, or that the landlord needs the rent to make the repairs or pay critical bills, The tenants have the opportunity to dispute the landlord’s application for release of a court hearing. A tenant who simply refuses to pay rent because of bad conditions may be subject to eviction.
- Tenant must be current in rent before depositing with the Clerk of Courts.
- A tenant may not deposit rent with the Clerk of Courts in “bad faith”.
- Deposit must be made on or before the normal rent due date.
- If the landlord has given the tenant a written notice at the beginning of the tenancy which states that the landlord owns three or fewer rental units, then the tenant may not exercise these rights.
If the owner has failed to disclose his/her name and address or name and address of her/his agent, the owner give up the right to notice of correction before a tenant exercises legal action to get corrections.
A landlord may bring an eviction action against a tenant when the tenant:
- has not paid rent; or
- is in violation of a condition of a written rental agreement that is not a duty under the Landlord Tenant Law; or
- has caused a violation of a building, housing, health or safety code or has permitted a member of the household or guest to violate a code requirement, or the landlord must vacate the unit in order to comply with local building, housing, health and safety codes or;
- if holding over beyond the term of the tenant’s rental agreement.
To bring an eviction action, the landlord must first give the tenant a three (3) day notice to vacate. This notice must include specific legal language informing the tenant of her/his rights. If the tenant does not move out after three days, the landlord may file an eviction action with the Clerk of Courts, The Clerk will schedule a hearing and the tenant will receive a summons and complaint from the court at least five days before the hearing, The tenant may offer defenses to the eviction at the hearing. If the court grants the eviction and the tenant still does not vacate the premises, the landlord must then request that the court issue a Writ of Restitution. This authorizes the court to send a bailiff or sheriff out to the property to remove the tenant and his/her belongings from the unit. The landlord may also file a “second cause of action” to recover money damages when he/she files for the eviction. A date for a default hearing on the second cause will be set. The tenant may answer the complaint within 28 days of receiving the complaint in the mail. If the tenant fails to file an answer within the 28 day time limit this will result in a default judgment against the tenant. A default judgment will stop the tenant from later objecting to the amount of damages the court may award to the landlord on a claim against the tenant for damages to the premises. The tenant has the right to counterclaim for money damages and to deny the land-lord’s charges and/or assert a reduction in value of the rental unit. The tenant has the right to have these costs offset against any security deposit that is being held by the landlord. Not all cases will include a “second cause” for money damages. If there is only a claim for eviction, the case will be terminated after the eviction hearing.
If there is a ‘second cause” for money damages, however, the case will not be terminated until the landlord recovers a money judgment against the tenant or the case is dismissed through settlement or court action. Therefore, it is important that the tenant notify the Clerk of Courts in writing of his/her new address. Failure to leave a written forwarding address with the Clerk may result in a default judgment. There is some variation in local procedures for eviction. Landlord and tenants may wish to check with a local court official or an attorney to find out about local procedures.
The Ohio Landlord Tenant Law permits the landlord to collect a security deposit to cover the costs of any unpaid rents or damages to the property beyond normal wear and tear. The landlord is required to return the security deposit to the tenant within 30 days after the tenant gives up occupancy and terminates the tenancy. The landlord must provide a written itemization of any costs for repairs or unpaid rent deducted from the security deposit. If, after 30 days, the landlord does not return the deposit, or if the tenant feels that some portion of the deposit has been wrongfully withheld, the tenant may sue for the amount wrongfully withheld and reasonable attorney’s fees. If the tenant has given a written forwarding address the tenant may sue for double the amount that he/she believes was wrongfully withheld. Security deposit claims for less than $1000.00 may be brought by the tenant in Small Claims Court, without an attomey. If the security deposit is more than one month’s rent and the tenant stays more than six (6) months, the landlord must pay interest on the amount that is greater than one month’s rent.
Every rental agreement must contain the owner’s name and address and the name and address of the owner’s agent. If the owner or agent is a corporation partnership or other entity, the address must be the principle place of business in the County where the premises is located or, if none of the County, then the principle place of business in Ohio. This notice must include the name of the person in charge. In the case of an oral rental agreement, the information described above must be delivered in writing to the tenant at the beginning of the rental agreement.
Whether or not a tenant’s right to continued use of the premises has ended, a landlord may not shut off utilities, change locks, or seize a tenant’s personal property. A landlord can only legally regain the control of the premises by properly filing for and obtaining judgment for an eviction, and then requesting that the court issue a Writ of Restitution. The Court will then send a bailiff out to the premises to oversee the changing of the locks on the unit. Even if a court has granted an eviction, a landlord must have the bailiff present to remove the tenant’s property from the premises.
Federal, State, and Local Laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, families with children and persons with handicaps. With some exceptions, landlords may not discriminate against families with children. Cities may establish reasonable regulations on the number of persons who can occupy a rental unit. Landlords may not unreasonably deny handicapped persons the right to modify the rental unit to permit full use of the premises. Landlords may ask for a security deposit from the tenant to cover the cost of restoring modifications that limit the future marketability of the unit.
The Ohio Landlord Tenant Law forbids a landlord from retaliating by increasing the rent, decreasing the services, evicting or threatening to evict a tenant who has:
- Complained to an appropriate government agency about a code violation.
- Complained to the landlord about fulfilling his/her duties.
- Joined with other tenants to deal with the terms and conditions of the rental agreement as a group.
A landlord who engages in retaliation may be held liable for any actual damages to the tenant and for reasonable attorney’s fees.
Phone Numbers That May Assist You
Greater Stark County Urban League
Massillon Clerk of Courts
Massillon Code Enforcement Officer
Massillon Health Department
Community Legal Aid Services
Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority
Massillon Office 330-837-9392
Canton Office 330-454-8051
Stark County Fair Housing Department
Stark County Community Action Agency
Canton Office 330-454-1676
Stark County Bar Association
Note: None of the information on this website is legal advice. For legal advice, contact an attorney.
Funded by: Community Development Block Grant Funds U.S. Department of HUD