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Ohio Tenant-Landlord Law

by Caroline Merkin


Security Deposits

  • In Ohio, like other states, security deposits are designed to prove a tenant’s financial stability and secure a payment for damaged property
  • There is no statute in Ohio regarding security deposit maximums.
  • If a security deposit if greater than $50, or one month’s rent, whichever is greater, it must be placed in an interest-bearing account. The tenant is then owed 5% interest annually. (§§ 5321.16)
    • This account, however, does not have to separate from the Landlord’s other assets.
  • A landlord has 30 days from move-out to return the deposit (§§ 5321.16(B))
    • If the landlord chooses to withhold a certain percentage, he/she is required to provide a itemized list of damages and charges (§§ 5321.16(B)). If this is not completed, the tenant may sue to recover the money withheld in addition to damages equal to the amount withheld, and reasonable legal fees. (§§ 5321.16(C))

Rent and Late fees

  • In Ohio, there is no regulations pertaining to when the rent is due (at the beginning or end of the month), but tenants must comply with what is written in the rental agreement.
  • Landlords may accept rent in any payment they prefer.
  • There are no statutes regarding rent increase notice, grace periods, or late fees.
    A tenant is allowed to withhold rent if the landlord has failed to provide essential services (water, heat, etc.) after being notified of said damages. The tenant must then also inform the landlord of his/her failure to fulfill such obligations, and thus the landlord has continue to fail to repair the conditions in an appropriate amount of time, or within 30 days, whichever is sooner (§§ 5321.07, §§ 5321.08, §§ 5321.09 and §§ 5321.10)

Notices and Entry

  • If a rental agreement has a fixed end date, the landlord has no obligation to notify a tenant prior to terminating a lease.
    • If the rental agreement is a month-to-month lease, a landlord must notify a tenant 30 days prior to terminating a lease early. (§§ 5321.17(B))
    • If the rental agreement is a week-to-week lease, a landlord must notify a tenant 7 days prior to terminating a lease early. (§§ 5321.17(A))
  • Appropriate notice, preferably 24 hours, is required prior to entry for maintenance and repairs, as well as potential tenant showings. (§§ 5321.05(B))


  • A landlord is required to disclose any known presence of lead paint on the property. If there is a presence of lead paint in the unit or common area, the lease must include a federally-approved attachment on lead poisoning prevention.

Eviction Laws

Eviction Step #1: Inform your tenant with an official notice

An official notice is posted to the tenant. Typically, although this varies based State and county, the landlord hands the notice to the tenant in person, or posts the notice to the door if the tenant is not home. You also may need to send a copy via certified mail.

Eviction Step #2: Wait for the tenant to respond

  • If a tenant fails to pay rent, they have 3 days to pay before the lease is terminated. (§§ 1923.02) and (§§ 1923.04(A))
  • If a tenant violates the lease, they are required to receive a 3 day written notice prior to termination (§§ 1923.02(A)(9)) and (§§ 1923.04(A))
  • A lease can be terminated for drug-related activity, and if such situations occur, a 3 day notice is required (§§ 5321.17(C))
  • Allowing a registered sex offender to stay in a rental property that is 1000 feet from a school is also considered a reason to evict a tenant. The landlord thus has to provide a notice that states the tenant has 3 days to move out. (§§ 5321.034)

Eviction Step #3: File With Court

If the tenant has not paid you within the time period outlined in Step #2, then file with the local courts for the official eviction. Both you and the tenant will receive a specific date for the hearing.

Eviction Step #4: Attend the court date

You or your lawyer will want to attend the court hearing and bring proper documentation of the lease violation with you. You should prepare to bring the following, at a minimum:

  1. Your lease agreement
  2. Evidence of payment failures / history
  3. Proof that you served the tenant (Step #1)
  4. Any communications or other helpful records

Eviction Step #5: Sheriff to remove the tenant

If the tenant does not leave on their own, then you have a right, within a certain amount of time, to request for a sheriff to remove the tenant.

Eviction Step #6: Collecting damages

Most likely, the tenant owes you money for the lease violation. Here are some ways to collect money from the damages:

  1. Garnish wages
  2. File in small claims court
  3. Use a private debt collector

For more information on Ohio Landlord Tenant laws please visit their website here.