As A Tenant Or A Landlord
A Landlord Has The Duty To:
1 . Keep the building safe and sanitary by complying
with local housing, health, and safety codes.
2. Make repairs to keep the building fit and habitable.
3. Keep hallways, stairs, and other common areas safe and sanitary.
4. Keep in good working order all electrical, plumbing, heating,
and ventilation systems and fixtures.
5. Provide garbage cans and arrange for pickup, if the landlord
owns four or more units in same building.
6. 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.
7. Not abuse the right of access.
8. Give at least 24 hours notice, unless it is an emergency, before
entering a tenant's unit and entering only at reasonable times.
9. 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.
Rent Increases and Late Charges:
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.
Drug Activity and Rental Housing:
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.
A Tenant Has The Duty To:
1 Keep the premises which the tenant occupies
safe and sanitary.
2. Dispose of rubbish in the proper manner.
3. Keep the plumbing fixtures as clean as their condition permits.
4. Use electrical and plumbing fixtures properly.
5. Comply with local housing, health, and safety codes.
6. Refrain from activity that causes damage to the premises and
keep guests from doing the same.
7. Maintain appliances subject by the landlord in good working
8. Conduct himself/herself in a manner that does not disturb any
neighbors, and require guests and family members to do the same.
9. Comply with state or municipal drug laws in connection with
the premises and require household members and guests to do likewise.
10. Permit the landlord to enter the dwelling unit if the request
is reasonable and proper notice is given.
Terminating A Rental Agreement:
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 giv& 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 thirly-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:
1. deposit the rent with court; or
2. request the court to order the repairs to be made;
3. 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.
Rent Deposit Requirements:
- Tenant must be current in rent before depositing with the Clerk
- A tenant may not deposit rent with the Clerk of Courts
in "bad faith".
- Deposit must be made on or before the normal rent
- 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
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
A landlord may bring an eviction action against a tenant when the
1. has not paid rent; or
2. is in violation of a condition of a written rental agreement
that is not a duty under the Landlord Tenant Law; or
3. 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
4. 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 he.r/bis
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 histher
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 noffy 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 forwardling 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 aftomey.
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.
Self Help Eviction Prohibited!
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.
Equal Opportunity In Housing:
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.
Landlords May Not Retaliate Against A Tenant
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:
1. Complained to an appropriate government agency
about a code violation.
2. Complained to the landlord about fulfilling his/her duties.
3. 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
Phone Numbers That May Assist
Greater Stark County Urban League.....(330) 456-3479
Massillon Clerk of Courts ......................(330 ) 830-1731
Massillon Code Enforcement Officer ....(330).830-1724
Massillon Health Department ..................(330).830-1710
Community Legal Aid Services...............1-866-584-2350
Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority
Massillon Office ............................(330) 837-9392
Canton Office .................................(330) 454-8051
Stark County Fair Housing Department.(330) 451-7775
Stark County Community Action Agency
Canton Office ................................(330)
Stark County Bar Association ................(330)
Note: None of the information in this brochure is legal
advice. For legal advice, contact an attorney.
Funded by: Community Development Block Grant Funds U.S. Department