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>>>>                       Tenant - Landlord Facts                       <<<<
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>>>>Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law : What You Should Know Booklet<<<<
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Know Your
Rental Rights!
 
City of New Philadelphia
Fair Housing Program
150 East High Avenue
New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663 
330-364-4491 Ext. 242
 
Office Hours
9 AM to 4 PM --Monday thru Friday
 
Tenant - Landlord Facts
 
 
In Ohio a Landlord has a duty to:
1.  Put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
2.  Keep the common areas safe and sanitary;
3.  Comply with building, housing, health and safety codes;
4.  Keep in good working order all electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation systems and fixtures;
5.  Maintain all appliances and equipment supplied or required to be supplied by him/her;
6.  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 hook-up;
7.  Provide garbage cans and arrange for trash removal, if the landlord owns four or more residential units in the same building;
8.  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 reasonable manner;
9.  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:
1.  Keep the premises 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 housing, health and safety codes that apply to tenants;
6.  Refrain from damaging the premises and keep guests from causing damage;
7.  Maintain appliances supplied by the landlord in good working order;
8.  Conduct himself/herself in a manner that does not disturb any neighbors and require guests to do the same.
9.  Permit landlord to enter the dwelling unit if the request is reasonable and proper notice is given.
10.  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) Requirements
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 unit, or
n Seize the tenant's possessions to recover unpaid rent.
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 access.
 
 
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 rental period.
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 the agreement.
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.
n 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.
 
Eviction
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.
n 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 landlord's claim.
 
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 tear,
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. 
n 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 tenant's belongings.
 
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 Landlord-Tenant Law.
 
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.