- Know Your
of New Philadelphia
East High Avenue
Philadelphia, Ohio 44663
AM to 4 PM --Monday thru Friday
Tenant - Landlord Facts
- In Ohio a Landlord has a duty to:
Put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
Keep the common areas safe and sanitary;
Comply with building, housing, health and safety codes;
Keep in good working order all electrical, plumbing, heating and
ventilation systems and fixtures;
Maintain all appliances and equipment supplied or required to be
supplied by him/her;
Provide running water and reasonable amounts of hot water and heat,
unless the hot water and heat are supplied by an installation that is under
the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility
Provide garbage cans and arrange for trash removal, if the landlord
owns four or more residential units in the same building;
Give at least 24 hours notice, unless it is an emergency, before
entering a tenant's unit and enter only at reasonable times and in a
Evict the 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.
- In Ohio a Tenant has a duty to:
Keep the premises 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 housing, health and safety codes that apply to tenants;
Refrain from damaging the premises and keep guests from causing
Maintain appliances supplied by the landlord in good working order;
Conduct himself/herself in a manner that does not disturb any
neighbors and require guests to do the same.
Permit landlord to enter the dwelling unit if the request is
and proper notice is given.
Comply with State or municipal drug Laws in connection with the
premises and require house- hold members and guests to do likewise.
- Getting Repairs
- nIf a landlord does not meet the duties imposed by the Ohio Landlord
Tenant Law or the local housing codes or the rental agreement, or if there
are conditions which materially affect health and safety, then a tenant may
give the landlord a notice to correct the condition.
- nThis notice must be in writing and delivered to the person or at the
place where the tenant normally pays rent.
Tenant should keep a copy of this notice.
- nIf the landlord fails to correct the condition in the written notice
within a reasonable time, not to exceed 30 days, then the tenant may deposit his/her rent with
the Clerk of Courts, or may apply to the Court for an order to compel the
repairs, or may terminate the rental agreement.
- Rent Deposit (Escrow)
- nThe tenant must be current in her/his rent before depositing rent
with the Clerk of Courts. The tenant may not deposit rent in "bad faith", or
for a condition which the tenant caused.
The tenant may not just hold on to the rent.
- nRent deposits must be made on or before the normal rent due date.
Tenants should check with the local Clerk of Courts to find out exact
procedures for their court.
- nIf a tenant received a written notice from the landlord at the
beginning of the tenancy which states that the landlord owns three or fewer
units, then the tenant is barred from taking legal action under the Ohio
Landlord Tenant Law.
- nIf the landlord fails to disclose her/his name and address and the
name and address or his/her agents, then the landlord gives up the right to
a notice before the tenant takes legal action.
- Retaliation Prohibited!
- nThe Ohio Landlord Tenant Law forbids a landlord from retaliating
against a tenant by increasing the rent, decreasing the services, evicting
or threatening to evict the tenant because the tenant has:
- n Complained to a public official, or
- n Complained to the landlord, or
- n Joined with other tenants to bargain collectively
over the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.
- nA landlord who engages in retaliation may be held liable for any
actual damages to the tenant and for reasonable attorney's fees.
- Rent Increases and Late Charges
- nUnder a month-to-month rental agreement, the landlord must give a
full 30 days notice before increasing rent.
In the case of a written lease, the landlord may not increase rent
during the term of the lease. There is no rent control in Ohio.
- nBecause the Ohio Landlord Tenant Law does not cover late charges,
late charges may be included in a rental agreement, but they may not be
"unconscionable" (unfair). Recent court decisions suggest that late fees should be
reasonably related to the actual damages that a landlord suffers because of
late payment of rent.
- Drug Activity in Rental Housing
- nOhio law requires landlords to evict tenants when the landlord has
information from a Law enforcement
officer, based on a legal search, that the tenant, the tenant's guest,
or a member of the tenant's household is involved in drug activity in
connection with the premises.
- Self-Help Eviction Prohibited!
- nWhether or not a tenant's right to occupy a residential unit has
ended, a landlord may not:
- n Shut off utilities, or
- n Change the locks to force the tenant from the
- n Seize the tenant's possessions to recover unpaid
- nLandlords who violate this section of the Law may be held liable for
actual damages and attorney fees.
- Right of Access
- nA landlord may enter a tenant's unit only after giving a 24 hour
notice, except in an emergency. Landlords
may not enter in at an unreasonable time or in an unreasonable manner. Landlords may not make repeated requests for entry that have
the effect of harassment. Tenants
may seek injunctive relief from the courts when landlords abuse their right
of access. Nothing in the Ohio
Landlord-Tenant Law prohibits a tenant from installing her/his own locks on
the rental premises, although this may be prohibited by the lease.
A tenant must not unreasonably restrict the landlord's right of
- Terminating a Rental Agreement
- nEither a landlord or a tenant may terminate a month-to-month
agreement by giving a full thirty days notice to the other party.
The thirty days begins on the next rental due date and runs with the
- nA written rental agreement (lease) normally states the method for
termination or renewal. If
termination or renewal is not stated, then the agreement ends on the date in
- nA landlord may give a tenant a written notice that the tenant has
violated a provision of the
Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law which materially affects health and safety and
advising the tenant that the rental agreement will end in 30 days.
If the tenant corrects the problem, then the rental agreement will
not be terminated.
- nA tenant may give a landlord a written notice to comply with a duty
imposed by the Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law which materially affects health and
safety and requesting correction within 30 days.
If the landlord fails to correct the condition, then the tenant may
terminate the rental agreement.
If a tenant breaks a lease by moving before the lease is up, or if a
lease has terminated because the tenant is in violation of the Law, the
tenant may be held liable under the agreement until the unit is re-rented.
- nA landlord may bring an eviction action in court when the tenant has:
- n failed
to pay rent on time
- n occupied
the unit after the termination or expiration of the rental agreement.
- nTo bring an eviction action, the landlord must serve a 3 day notice
to vacate in person, by mail, or at the premises.
If the tenant does not move within the 3 day period, then the
landlord must file an eviction action at the court in the city where the
property is located. The Court will schedule a hearing and send a summons
to the tenant at least 5 days before the hearing.
At the hearing the landlord and tenant will present evidence.
A tenant may raise the issue of bad conditions as a defense or a
counterclaim at the eviction hearing. If
an eviction is ordered, the landlord arrange with the Court to have the
tenant's belongings removed from the unit if the tenant does not move.
Local procedures may vary,
check with an attorney or your municipal court
- Eviction: Second
Cause of Action
- nAt the time of eviction, the landlord may also file a "second
cause of action" to recover money damages.
The tenant may answer the claim for money damages within 28 days of
receiving the complaint. If a tenant fails to answer the complaint, the Court may
issue a default judgment in the landlord's favor without holding a hearing.
A default judgment will stop the tenant from later objecting to a
- Security Deposit
The Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law permits a landlord to collect a security
deposit to cover the costs of:
- n unpaid
rents or charges, and
- n repair
damages to the property caused by the tenant, in excess of normal wear and
- nThe landlord is required to return the security deposit to the tenant
within 30 days of the time that the tenant gives up occupancy and terminates
the rental agreement. The tenant must
provide the landlord with a forwarding address in writing.
- nIf the landlord makes a deduction from the security deposit the
landlord is required to provide the tenant with a written itemized
accounting of the money that is being withheld.
- nIf, after 30 days, the landlord has not returned the deposit or the
itemized accounting, or if the tenant disagrees with the landlord's decision
to withhold some or all of the security deposit, then the tenant may sue for
double the amount which the tenant
believes was wrongfully withheld.
- nA security deposit is given by the tenant to the landlord to
"secure" the tenant's performance under the tenancy.
A pet deposit, key deposit, garage deposit, or the last month's rent
paid in advance may all be part of the security deposit.
If the total security deposit is greater than one month's rent, the
landlord owes 5% interest on the amount in excess of one month's rent.
- Other Deposits and Charges
- nA deposit to "hold the unit", an application fee or a
credit check fee are not governed by any state law.
Before giving money, get a written statement of the charge and the
conditions for a refund. DON'T
ASSUME ANYTHING and never give money without getting a receipt.
- Fair Housing Practices
- nLandlords may not discriminate against tenants on the basis of race,
religion, color, national origin, gender, familial status (having children
under 18), or disability.
- nEach community has a local Fair Housing organization that can
investigate discrimination complaints.
Check your phone book or the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
- Abandonment of Property
- nThe Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law does not address the problem of
abandonment of a rental unit by a tenant.
If a tenant fails to remove all of her/his belongings, or fails to
turn in the keys to the unit, or continues to visit the unit, the safest
method for the landlord to recover legal possession is to go through the
eviction process. Landlords
should seek legal advice before seizing, selling, or disposing of the
- Ownership Disclosure
- nEvery written rental agreement must contain the name and address of
the owner and the owner's agent. If the owner is a corporation or partnership, the address
must be the principal place of business in the County (or State) and must
include the name of the person in charge at that location.
- nIn the case of an oral agreement, this information must be provided
to the tenant in writing at the
beginning of the tenancy.
- nA landlord who does not disclose this information gives up the right
to a notice before a tenant takes legal action under the Ohio
- Lead Disclosure
- nFederal law requires that owners of properties built before 1978 must
give prospective tenants a written statement of any known lead hazards and
a pamphlet on lead poisoning. There
are some exceptions. Call
National Lead Information Clearinghouse at:
800-424-LEAD for forms.
- Note: None of the information in this brochure is legal advice.
For legal advice, contact an attorney.