Ohio Landlord Tenant Law

Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law, Ohio Revised Code Chapter 5321.01
      Landlords and Tenants. The statutory provisions that establish
      and control the Landlord-Tenant relationship.

Ohio Revised Code: Chapter 5321. Landlords and Tenants

 

 Table of Contents
 5321.01 Definitions
 5321.02 Retaliation of landlord prohibited; relief
 5321.03 Actions by landlord authorized
 5321.031 Termination of rental agreements with student tenants
 5321.04 Obligations of landlord
 5321.05 Obligations of tenant
 5321.06 Rental agreement terms
 5321.07 Notice to remedy conditions
 5321.08 Duties of clerk of court
 5321.09 Landlord may apply for release of rent
 5321.10 Partial release of rent
 5321.11 Noncompliance by tenant terminates agreement
 5321.12 Recover damages
 5321.13 Terms barred from rental agreements
 5321.14 Unconscionable agreements
 5321.15 Landlord of residential premises denied certain remedies
 5321.16 Security deposits; interests; forfeiture; procedures
 5321.17 Termination of periodic tenancies; inapplicability where termination based on breach of condition or duty
 5321.18 Rental agreement to provide certain information about parties
 5321.19 Conflicting ordinances and resolutions prohibited


5321.01 Definitions

As used in this Chapter:

(A) "Tenant" means a person entitled under a rental agreement to the use and occupancy of residential premises to the exclusion of others.

(B) "Landlord" means the owner, lessor, or sublessor of residential premises, his agent, or any person authorized by him to manage the premises or to receive rent from a tenant under a rental agreement.

(C) "Residential premises" means a dwelling unit for residential use and occupancy and the structure of which it is a part, the facilities and appurtenances in it, and the grounds, areas, and facilities for the use of tenants generally or the use of which is promised the tenant. "Residential Premises" includes a dwelling unit that is owned or operated by a college or university. "Residential premises" does not include any of the following:

(1) Prisons, jails, workhouses, and other places of incarceration or correction, including, but not limited to, halfway houses or residential arrangements which are used or occupied as a requirement of probation or parole;

(2) Hospitals and similar institutions with the primary purpose of providing medical services, and "homes" licensed pursuant to Chapter 3721. of the Revised Code;

(3) Tourist homes, hotels, motels, and other similar facilities where circumstances indicate a transient occupancy;

(4) Elementary and secondary boarding schools, where the cost of room and board is included as a part of the cost of tuition;

(5) Orphanages and similar institutions;

(6) Farm residences furnished in connection with the rental of land of a minimum of two acres for production of agricultural products by one or more of the occupants;

(7) Dwelling units subject to sections 3733.41 to 3733.49 of the Revised Code;

(8) Occupancy by an owner of a condominium unit.

(9) Occupancy in a facility licensed as an SRO facility pursuant to Chapter 3731, of the Revised Code, if the facility is owned or operated by an organization that is exempt from taxation under section 501( c ) (3) of the "Internal Revenue Code of 1986," 100 Stat.2085, 26 USCA 501, as amended, or by an entity or group of entities in which such an organization has a controlling interest, and if either of the following applies:

(a) The occupancy is for a period of less than sixty days;

(b) The occupancy is for participation in a program operated by the facility or by a public entity or private charitable organization pursuant to a contract with the facility, to provide either of the following:

(i) Services licensed, certified, registered or approved by a governmental agency or private accrediting organization for the rehabilitation of mentally ill persons, developmentally disabled persons, adults or juveniles convicted of criminal offenses, or persons suffering from substance abuse;

(ii) Shelter for juvenile runaways, victims of domestic violence or homeless persons.

(10) Emergency shelters operated by organizations exempt from federal income taxation under section 501( c ) (3) of the "Internal Revenue Code of 1986," 100 Stat.2085, 26 USCA 501, as amended, for persons whose circumstances indicate a transient occupancy, including homeless people, victims of domestic violence, and juvenile runaways.

(D) "Rental agreement" means any agreement or lease, written or oral, which establishes or modifies the terms, conditions, rules or any other provisions concerning the use and occupancy of residential premises by one of the parties.

(E) "Security deposit" means any deposit of money or property to secure performance by the tenant under a rental agreement.

(F) "Dwelling unit" means a structure or the part of a structure that is used as a home, residence, or sleeping place by one person who maintains a household or by two or more persons who maintain a common household.

(G) "Controlled substance" has the same meaning as in section 3719.01 of the Revised Code.

(H) "Student tenant" means a person who occupies a dwelling unit owned or operated by the college or university at which he is a student, and who has a rental agreement that is contingent upon his status as a student.

 

5321.02 Retaliation of landlord prohibited; relief

(A) Subject to section 5321.03 of the Revised Code, a landlord may not retaliate against a tenant by increasing the tenant's rent, decreasing services that are due to the tenant, or bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession of the tenant's premises because:

(1) The tenant has complained to an appropriate governmental agency of a violation of a building, housing, health, or safety code that is applicable to the premises, and the violation materially affects health and safety;

(2) The tenant has complained to the landlord of any violation of section 5321.04 of the Revised Code;

(3) The tenant joined with other tenants for the purpose of negotiating or dealing collectively with the landlord on any of the terms and conditions of a rental agreement.

(B) If a landlord acts in violation of division (A) of this section the tenant may:

(1) Use the retaliatory action of the landlord as a defense to an action by the landlord to recover possession of the premises;

(2) Recover possession of the premises; or

(3) Terminate the rental agreement.

In addition, the tenant may recover from the landlord any actual damages together with reasonable attorney's fees.

(C) Nothing in division (A) of this section shall prohibit a landlord from increasing the rent to reflect the cost of improvements installed by the landlord in or about the premises or to reflect an increase in other costs of operation of the premises.

 

5321.03 Actions by landlord authorized

(A) Not withstanding section 5321.02 of the Revised Code, a landlord may bring an action under Chapter 1923 of the Revised Code for possession of the premises if:

(1) The tenant is in default in the payment of rent;

(2) The violation of the applicable building, housing, health or safety code that the tenant complained of was primarily caused by any act or lack of reasonable care by the tenant, or by any other person in the tenant's household, or by anyone on the premises with the consent of the tenant;

(3) Compliance with the applicable building, housing, health or safety code would require alteration, remodeling, or demolition of the premises which would effectively deprive the tenant of the use of the dwelling unit;

(4) A tenant is holding over his term.

(B) The maintenance of an action by the landlord under this section does not prevent the tenant from recovering damages for any violation by the landlord of the rental agreement or of section 5321.04 of the Revised Code.

(C) This section does not apply to a dwelling unit occupied by a student tenant.

 

5321.031 Termination of rental agreements with student tenants

A college or university may terminate a rental agreement with a student tenant prior to the expiration of the term of the agreement and require that the student vacate the dwelling unit only when the termination follows a hearing in which it was determined by the college or university that the student violated the college's or university's code of conduct or other policies and procedures. The hearing must be preceded by a written notice to the student, must include a right to be heard, and must otherwise comply with the college's or university's procedures for disciplinary hearings. The written rental agreement must specify the conditions under which the rental agreement may be terminated and specify the college's or university's notice and hearing procedures that will be followed in making a determination under this section.

 

5321.04 Obligations of landlord

(A) A landlord who is a party to a rental agreement shall do all of the following:

1) Comply with the requirements of all applicable building, housing, health, and safety codes that materially affect health and safety;

(2) Make all repairs and do whatever is reasonably necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;

(3) Keep all common areas of the premises in a safe and sanitary condition;

(4) Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning fixtures and appliances, and elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by him;

(5) When he is a party to any rental agreements that cover four or more dwelling units in the same structure, provide and maintain appropriate receptacles for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of

a dwelling unit, and arrange for their removal;

(6) Supply running water, reasonable amounts of hot water, and reasonable heat at all times, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose, or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection;

(7) Not abuse the right of access conferred by division (B) of section 5321.05 of the Revised Code;

(8) Except in the case of an emergency or if it is impracticable to do so, give the tenant reasonable notice of his intent to enter and enter only at reasonable times. Twenty-four hours is presumed to be a reasonable notice in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

(9) Promptly commence an action under Chapter 1923. of the Revised Code, after complying with division (C) of section 5321.17 of the Revised Code, to remove a tenant from particular residential premises, if the tenant fails to vacate the premises within three days after the giving of the notice required by that division and if the landlord has actual knowledge of or has reasonable cause to believe that the tenant, any person in the tenant's household, or any person on the premises with the consent of the tenant previously has or presently is engaged in a violation as described in division (A)(6)(a)(i) of section 1923.02 of the Revised Code, whether or not the tenant or other person has been charged with, has pleaded guilty to or been convicted of, or has been determined to be a delinquent child for an act that, if committed by an adult, would be a violation as described in that division. Such actual knowledge or reasonable cause to believe shall be determined in accordance with that division.

 

(B) If the landlord makes an entry in violation of division (A)(8) of this section, makes a lawful entry in an unreasonable manner, or makes repeated demands for entry otherwise lawful that have the effect of harassing the tenant, the tenant may recover actual damages resulting from the entry or demands, obtain injunctive relief to prevent the recurrence of the conduct, and obtain a judgment for reasonable attorney's fees, or may terminate the rental agreement.

 

5321.05 Obligations of tenant

(A) A tenant who is party to a rental agreement shall do all of the following:

(1) Keep that part of the premises that he occupies and uses safe and sanitary;

(2) Dispose of all rubbish, garbage, and other waste in a clean, safe and sanitary manner;

(3) Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by him as clean as their condition permits;

(4) Use and operate all electrical and plumbing fixtures properly;

(5) Comply with the requirements imposed on tenants by all applicable state and local housing, health and safety codes;

(6) Personally refrain, and forbid any other person who is on the premises with his permission, from intentionally or negligently destroying, defacing, damaging, or removing any fixture, appliance, or other part of the premises;

(7) Maintain in good working order and condition any range, refrigerator, washer, dryer, dishwasher, or other appliance supplied by the landlord and required to be maintained by the tenant under the terms and conditions of a written rental agreement;

(8) Conduct himself and require persons on the premises with his consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb his neighbors' peaceful enjoyment of the premises;

(9) Conduct himself, and require persons in his household and persons on the premises with his consent to conduct themselves, in connection with the premises, so as not to violate the prohibitions contained in Chapters 2925 and 3719 of the Revised Code, or any municipal ordinances that are substantially similar to any section in either of those chapters which relate to controlled substances.

(B) The tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent for the landlord to enter into the dwelling unit in order to inspect the premises, make ordinary, necessary, or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements, deliver parcels that are too large for the tenant's mail facilities, supply necessary or agreed services, or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen, or contractors.

(C) (1) If the tenant violates any provision of this section, other than division (A) (9) of this section, the landlord may recover any actual damages that result from the violation together with reasonable attorney's fees. This remedy is in addition to any right of the landlord to terminate the rental agreement, to maintain an action for possession of the premises, or to obtain injunctive relief to compel access under division (B) of this section.

(2) If the tenant violates division (A)(9) of this section and if the landlord has actual knowledge of or has reasonable cause to believe that the tenant, any person in the tenant's household, or any person on the premises with the consent of the tenant previously has or presently is engaged in a violation as described in division (A)(6)(a)(i) of section 1923.02 of the Revised Code, whether or not the tenant or other person has been charged with, has pleaded guilty to or been convicted of, or has been determined to be a delinquent child for an act that, if committed by an adult, would be a violation as described in that division, then the landlord promptly shall give the notice required by division (C) of section 5321.17 of the Revised Code. If the tenant fails to vacate the premises within three days after the giving of that notice, then the landlord promptly shall comply with division of (A)(9) of section 5321.04 of the Revised Code. For purposes of this division, actual knowledge or reasonable cause to believe as described in this division shall be determined in accordance with division (A)(6)(a)(i) of section 1923.02 of the Revised Code.

 

5321.06 Rental agreement terms

A landlord and a tenant may include in a rental agreement any terms and conditions, including any term relating to rent, the duration of an agreement and any other provisions governing the rights and obligations of the parties that are not inconsistent with or prohibited by Chapter 5321 of the Revised Code or any other rule of law.

 

5321.07 Notice to remedy conditions

(A) If a landlord fails to fulfill any obligation imposed upon him by section 5321.04 of the Revised Code, other than the obligations specified in division (A)(9) of that section, or any obligation imposed on him by the rental agreement, if the conditions of the residential premises are such that the tenant reasonably believes that a landlord has failed to fulfill any such obligations, or if a governmental agency has found that the premises are not in compliance with building, housing, health, or safety codes that apply to any condition of the premises that could materially affect the health and safety of an occupant, the tenant may give notice in writing to the landlord, specifying the acts, omissions, or code violations that constitute non-compliance. The notice shall be sent to the person or place where rent is normally paid.

(B) If a landlord receives the notice described in division (A) of this section and after receipt of the notice fails to remedy the condition within a reasonable time considering the severity of the condition and the time necessary to remedy it, or within thirty days, whichever is sooner, and if the tenant is current in rent payments due under the rental agreement, the tenant may do one of the following:

(1) Deposit all rent that is due and thereafter becomes due the landlord with the clerk of the municipal court or county court having jurisdiction in the territory in which the residential premises are located.

(2) Apply to the court for n order directing the landlord to remedy the condition. As part of the application, the tenant may deposit rent pursuant to division (B) (1) of this section, may apply for an order reducing the periodic rent due the landlord until the landlord remedies the condition and may apply for an order to use the rent deposited to remedy the condition. In any order issued pursuant to this division, the court may require the tenant to deposit rent with the clerk of court as provided in division (B)(1) of this section.

(3) Terminate the rental agreement.

(C) This section does not apply to any landlord who is a party to rental agreements that cover three or fewer dwelling units and who provides notice of that fact in a written rental agreement or, in the case of an oral tenancy, delivers written notice of that fact to the tenant at the time of initial occupancy by the tenant.

(D) This section does not apply to a dwelling unit occupied by a student tenant.

 

5321.08 Duties of clerk of court

(A) Whenever a tenant deposits rent with the clerk of a court as provided in Section 5321.07 of the Revised Code, the clerk shall give a written notice of this fact to the landlord and to his agent, if any.

(B) The clerk shall place all rent deposited with him in a separate rent escrow account in the name of the clerk in a bank or building and loan association domiciled in this state.

(C) The clerk shall keep in a separate docket an account of each deposit with the name and address of the tenant, and the name and address of the landlord and his agent, if any.

(D) For his costs, the clerk may charge a fee of one per cent of the amount of the rent deposited, which shall be assessed as court costs.

(E) All interest that has accrued on the rent deposited by the clerk of a county court under (B) of this section shall be paid into the treasury of the political subdivision for which the clerk performs his duties. All interest that has accrued on the rent deposited by the clerk of a municipal court under division (B) of this section shall be paid into the city treasury as defined in division (B) of section 1901.03 of the Revised Code.

 

5321.09 Landlord may apply for release of rent

(A) A landlord who receives notice that rent due him has been deposited with a clerk of a municipal or county court pursuant to section 5321.07 of the Revised Code, may do any of the following:

(1) Apply to the clerk of the court for release of the rent on the ground that the condition contained in the notice given pursuant to division (A) of section 5321.07 of the Revised Code has been remedied. The clerk shall forthwith release the rent, less costs, to the landlord if the tenant gives written notice to the clerk that the condition has been remedied.

(2) Apply to the court for release of the rent on the ground that the tenant did not comply with the notice requirement of division (A) of section 5321.07 of the Revised Code, or that the tenant was not current in rent payments under the rental agreement at the time the tenant initiated rent deposits with the clerk of the court under division (B)(1) of section 5321.07 of the Revised Code.

(3) Apply to the court for release of the rent on the ground that there was no violation any obligation imposed upon the landlord by section 5321.04 of the Revised Code, other than the obligation specified by division (A)(9) of that section, any obligation imposed upon him by the rental agreement, or any obligation imposed upon him by any building, housing, health, or safety code, or that the condition contained in the notice given pursuant to division (A) of section 5321.07 of the Revised Code has been remedied.

(B) The tenant shall be named as a party to any action filed by the landlord under this section, and shall have the right to file an answer and counterclaim, as in other civil actions. A trial shall be held within sixty days of the date of the filing of the landlord's complaint, unless, for good cause shown, the court continues the period for trial.

(C) If the court finds that there was no violation of any obligation imposed upon the landlord by section 5321.04 of the Revised Code, other than the obligation specified by division (A)(9) of that section, any obligation imposed upon him by the rental agreement, or any obligation imposed upon him by any building, housing, health, or safety code, that the condition contained in the notice given pursuant to division (A) of section 5321.07 of the Revised Code has been remedied, that the tenant did not comply with the notice requirement of division (A) of section 5321.07 of the Revised Code, or that the tenant was not current in rent payments at the time the tenant initiated rent deposits with the clerk of court under division (B)(1) of section 5321.07 of the Revised Code, the court shall order the release to the landlord of rent on deposit with the clerk, less costs.

(D) If the court finds that the condition contained in the notice given pursuant to division (A) of section 5321.07 of the Revised Code was the result of an act or omission of the tenant, or that the tenant intentionally acted in bad faith in proceeding under section 5321.07 of the Revised Code, the tenant shall be liable for damages caused to the landlord, and costs, together with reasonable attorney's fees if the tenant intentionally acted in bad faith.

 

5321.10 Partial release of rent

(A) If a landlord brings an action for the release of rent deposited with a clerk of court, the court may, during the pendency of the action, upon application of the landlord, release part of the rent on deposit for payment of the periodic interest on a mortgage on the premises, the periodic principal payments on a mortgage on the premises, the insurance premiums for the premises, real estate taxes on the premises, utility services, repairs and other customary and usual costs of operating the premises as a rental unit.

(B) In determining whether to release rent for the payments described in division (A) of this section, the court shall consider the amount of rent the landlord receives from other rental units in the buildings of which the residential premises are a part, the costs of operating those units, and the costs which may be required to remedy the condition contained in the notice given pursuant to division (A) of section 5321.07 of the Revised Code.

 

5321.11 Noncompliance by tenant terminates agreement

If the tenant fails to fulfill any obligation imposed upon him by section 5321.05 of the Revised Code that materially affects health and safety, other than the obligation described in division (A)(9) of that section, the landlord may deliver a written notice of this fact to the tenant specifying the act or omission that constitutes noncompliance with the pertinent obligations and specifying that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date specified in the notice, not less than thirty days after receipt of the notice. If the tenant fails to remedy the condition specified in the notice, the rental agreement shall terminate as provided in the notice.

 

5321.12 Recover damages

In any action under Chapter 5321 of the Revised Code, any party may recover damages for the breach of contract or the breach of any duty that is imposed by law.

 

5321.13 Terms barred from rental agreements

(A) No provision of this chapter may be modified or waived by any oral or written agreement except as provided in division (F) of this section.

(B) No warrant of attorney to confess judgment shall be recognized in any rental agreement or in any other agreement between a landlord and tenant for the recovery of rent or damages to the residential premises.

(C) No agreement to pay the landlord's or tenant's attorney fees shall be recognized in any rental agreement for residential premises or in any other agreement between a landlord and tenant.

(D) No agreement by a tenant to the exculpation or limitation of any liability of the landlord arising under law or to indemnify the landlord for that liability or its related costs shall be recognized in any rental agreement or in any other agreement between a landlord and tenant.

(E) A rental agreement, or the assignment, conveyance, trust deed, or security instrument of the landlord's interest in the rental agreement may not permit the receipt of rent free of the obligation to comply with section 5321.04 of the Revised Code.

(F) The landlord may agree to assume responsibility for fulfilling any duty or obligation imposed on a tenant by section 5321.05 of the Revised Code, other than the obligation specified in division (A)(9) of that section.

 

5321.14 Unconscionable agreements

(A) If the court as a matter of law finds a rental agreement, or any clause thereof, to have been unconscionable at the time it was made, it may refuse to enforce the rental agreement or it may enforce the remainder of the rental agreement without the unconscionable clause, or it may so limit the application of any unconscionable clause as to avoid any unconscionable result.

 

(B) When it is claimed or appears to the court that the rental agreement, or any clause thereof, may be unconscionable, the parties shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to present evidence as to its setting, purpose, and effect to aid the court in making the determination.

 

5321.15 Landlord of residential premises denied certain remedies

(A) No landlord of residential premises shall initiate any act, including termination of utilities or services, exclusion from the premises, or threat of any unlawful act, against a tenant whose right to possession has terminated, for the purpose of recovering possession of residential premises, other than provided in Chapters 1923, 5303 and 5321 of the Revised Code.

(B) No landlord of residential premises shall seize the furnishings or possessions of a tenant, or of a tenant whose right to possession has terminated, for the purpose of recovering rent payments, other than in accordance with an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(C) A landlord who violates this section is liable in a civil action for all damages caused to a tenant, or to a tenant whose right to possession has terminated, together with reasonable attorney's fees.

 

5321.16 Security deposits; interest; forfeiture; procedures

(A) Any security deposit in excess of fifty dollars or one month's periodic rent, whichever is greater, shall bear interest on the excess at the rate of five percent per annum if the tenant remains in possession of the premises for six months or more, and shall be computed and paid annually by the landlord to the tenant.

(B) Upon termination of the rental agreement any property or money held by the landlord as a security deposit may be applied to the payment of past due rent and to the payment of the amount of damages that the landlord has suffered by reason of the tenant's non-compliance with section 5321.05 of the Revised Code or the rental agreement. Any deduction from the security deposit shall be itemized and identified by the landlord in a written notice delivered to the tenant together with the amount due, within thirty days after the termination of the rental agreement and delivery of possession. The tenant shall provide the landlord in writing with a forwarding address or new address to which the written notice and amount due from the landlord may be sent. If the tenant fails to provide the landlord with the forwarding or new address as required, the tenant shall not be entitled to damages or attorney's fees under division (C) of this section.

(C) If the landlord fails to comply with division (B) of this section, the tenant may recover the property and money due him together with damages in an amount equal to the amount wrongfully withheld, and reasonable attorney's fees.

5321.17 Termination of periodic tenancies; inapplicability where termination based on breach of condition or duty

(A) Except as provided in division (C) of this section, the landlord or the tenant may terminate or fail to renew a week-to-week tenancy by notice given the other at least seven days prior to the termination date specified in the notice.

(B) Except as provided in division (C) of this section, the landlord or the tenant may terminate or fail to renew a month-to-month tenancy by notice given the other at least thirty days before prior to the periodic rental date.

(C) If a tenant violates division (A)(9) of section 5321.05 of the Revised Code and if the landlord has actual knowledge of or has reasonable cause to believe that the tenant, any person in the tenant's household, or any person on the premises with the consent of the tenant previously has or presently is engaged in a violation as described in division (A)(6)(a)(i) of section 1923.02 of the Revised Code, the landlord shall terminate the week-to-week tenancy, month-to-month tenancy, or other rental agreement with the tenant by giving a notice of termination to the tenant in accordance with this division. The notice shall specify that the tenancy or other rental agreement is terminated three days after the giving of the notice, and the landlord may give the notice whether or not the tenant or other person has been charged with, has pleaded guilty to or been convicted of, or has been determined to be a delinquent child for an act that, if committed by an adult, would be a violation as described in that division, then the landlord promptly shall give the notice required by division (C) of section 5321.17 of the Revised Code. If the tenant fails to vacate the premises within three days after the giving of that notice, then the landlord promptly shall comply with division of (A)(9) of section 5321.04 of the Revised Code. For purposes of this division, actual knowledge or reasonable cause to believe as described in this division shall be determined in accordance with division (A)(6)(a)(i) of section 1923.02 of the Revised Code.

(D) This section does not apply to a termination based on the breach of a condition of a rental agreement or the breach of a duty and obligation imposed on him by law, except that it does apply to a breach of the obligation imposed upon a tenant by division (A)(9) of section 5321.05 of the Revised Code.

 

5321.18 Rental agreement to provide certain information about parties

(A) Every written rental agreement for residential premises shall contain the name and address of the owner and the name and address of the owner's agent, if any. If the owner or the owner's agent is a corporation, partnership, limited partnership, association, trust, or other entity, the address shall be the principal place of business in the county in which the residential premises is situated or if there is no place of business in such county, then its principal place of business in this state, and shall include the name of the person in charge thereof.

(B) If the rental agreement is oral, the landlord, at the commencement of the term of occupancy, shall deliver to the tenant a written notice containing the information required in division (A) of this section.

(C) If the landlord fails to provide the notice of the name and address of the owner and owner's agent, if any, required under division (A) and (B) of this section, the notices to the landlord required under division (A) of section 5321.07 and division (A) of section 5321.08 of the Revised code shall be waived by the landlord and his agent.

 

5321.19 Conflicting ordinances and resolutions prohibited

No municipal corporation may adopt or continue in existence any ordinance that is in conflict with this chapter, or that regulates the rights and obligations of parties to a rental agreement that are regulated by this chapter. This chapter does not preempt any building, health, or safety codes, or any ordinance as described in division (A)(9) of section 5321.04 of the Revised Code, of any municipal corporation.

 


 

Chapter 1923. Forcible Entry and Detainer

 

 

 Table of Contents
 1923.01 Jurisdiction in forcible entry and detainer; definitions
 1923.02 Persons subject to forcible entry and detainer action
 1923.03 Judgment not a bar to later action
 1923.04 Notice; content; service; alternative in case of land contract
 1923.05 Complaint filed and recorded
 1923.051 Action based on controlled substance violations
 1923.06 Summons, content
 1923.061 Defenses; counterclaims
 1923.07 Proceedings if defendant fails to appear
 1923.08 Continuance; bond
 1923.081 Joinder of causes of action
 1923.09 Suit tried by judge; judgement
 1923.10 Trial by jury; verdict
 1923.101 Fee of jury
 1932.11 Entry of verdict; judgment
 1923.12 Repealed
 1923.13 Form of writ of execution
 1923.14 Enforcement of writ of execution; stay pending appeal
 1923.15 Inspection of the premises; order forbidding re-rental until conditions corrected

 

1923.01 Jurisdiction in forcible entry and detainer; definitions

(A) As provided in this chapter, any judge of a county or municipal court or a court of common pleas, within his proper area of jurisdiction, may inquire about persons who make unlawful and forcible entry into lands or tenements and detain them, and about persons who make a lawful and peaceable entry into lands or tenements and hold them unlawfully and by force. If, upon such inquiry, it is found that an unlawful and forcible entry has been made and the lands or tenements are detained, or that, after a lawful entry, lands or tenements are held unlawfully and by force, a judge shall cause the plaintiff in an action under this chapter to have restitution of the lands or tenements.

(B) An action shall be brought under this chapter within two years after the cause of action accrues.

(C) As used in this chapter:

(1) "Tenant" means a person who is entitled under a rental agreement to the use or occupancy of premises, other than premises located in a manufactured home park as defined in section 3733.01 of the Revised Code, to the exclusion of others.

(2) "Landlord" means the owner, lessor, or sublessor of premises, his agent, or any person authorized by him to manage the premises or to receive rent from a tenant under a rental agreement, except, if required by the facts of the action to which the term is applied, "landlord" means a park operator.

(3) "Park operator," "manufactured home," and "resident" have the same meaning as in section 3733.01 of the Revised Code.

(4) "Residential premises" has the same meaning as in section 5321.01 of the Revised Code, except, if required by the facts of the action to which the term is applies, "residential premises" has the same meaning as in section 3733.01 of the Revised Code.

(5) "Rental agreement" means any agreement or lease, written or oral, that establishes or modifies the terms, conditions, rules, or any other provision concerning the use or occupancy of premises by one of the parties to the agreement or lease, except that "rental agreement" as used in division (A)(11) of section 1923l.02 of the Revised Code and where the context requires as used in this chapter, means a rental agreement as defined in Division (D) of section 5322.01 of the Revised Code.

(6) "Controlled substance" has the same meaning as in section 3719.01 of the Revised Code.

 

1923.02 Persons subject to forcible entry and detainer action

(A) Proceedings under this chapter may be had as follows:

(1) Against tenants or manufactured home park residents holding over their terms;

(2) Against tenants or manufactured home park residents in possession under an oral tenancy, who are in default in the payment of rent as provided in division (B) of this section;

(3) In sales of real estate, on executions, orders, or other judicial process, when the judgment debtor was in possession at the time of the rendition of the judgment or decree, by virtue of which such sale was made;

(4) In sales by executors, administrators, or guardians, and on partition, when any of the parties to the complaint were in possession at the commencement of the action, after such sales, so made on execution or otherwise, have been examined by the proper court and adjudged legal;

(5) When the defendant is an occupier of lands or tenements without color of title, and the complainant has the right of possession to them.

(6) In any other case of the unlawful and forcible detention of lands or tenements. For purposes of this division, in addition to any other type of unlawful and forcible detention of lands or tenements, such a detention may be determined to exist when both of the following apply:

a. A tenant fails to vacate residential premises within three days after both of the following occur:

(i) His landlord has actual knowledge of or has reasonable cause to believe that the tenant, any person in the tenant's household, or any person on the premises with the consent of the tenant previously has or presently is engaged in a violation of chapter 2925. or 3719 of the Revised Code, or of a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any section in either of those chapters, which involves a controlled substance and which occurred in, is occurring in, or otherwise was or is connected with the premises, whether or not the tenant or other person has been charged with, has pleaded guilty to or been convicted of, or has been determined to be a delinquent child for an act that, if committed by an adult, would be a violation as described in this division. For purposes of this division, a landlord has "actual knowledge of or has reasonable cause to believe" that a tenant, any person in the tenant's household, or any person on the premises with the consent of the tenant has or presently is engaged in a violation as described in this division if a search warrant was issued pursuant to Criminal Rule 41 or Chapter 2933. of the Revised Code; the affidavit presented to obtain the warrant named or described the tenant or person as the individual to be searched and particularly described the tenant's premises as the place to be searched, named or described one or more controlled substances to be searched for and seized, stated substantially the offense under Chapter 2925 or 3719 of the Revised Code or the substantially similar municipal ordinance that occurred in, is occurring in, or otherwise was or is connected with the tenant's premises, and states the factual basis for the affiant's belief that the controlled substances are located on the tenant's premises; the warrant was property executed by a law enforcement officer and any controlled substance described in the affidavit was found by that officer during the search and seizure; and, subsequent to the search and seizure, the landlord was informed by that or another law enforcement officer of the fact that the tenant or person has or presently is engaged in a violation as described in this division and it occurred in, is occurring in, or otherwise was connected with the tenant's premises.

(ii) The landlord gives the tenant the notice required by division (C) of section 5321.17 of the Revised Code.

(b) The court determines, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the tenant, any person in the tenant's household, or any person on the premises with the consent of the tenant previously has or presently is engaged in a violation as described in division (A)(6)(a)(i) of this section.

(7) In cases arising out of Chapter 5313. of the Revised Code. In such cases, the court has the authority to declare a forfeiture of the vendee's rights under a landlord installment contract and to grant any other claims arising out of the contract.

(8) Against tenants who have breached an obligation that is imposed by 5321.05 of the Revised Code, other than the obligation specified in division (A)(9) of that section, and that materially affects health and safety. Prior to the commencement of an action under this division, notice shall be given to the tenant and compliance secured under 5321.11 of the Revised Code.

(9) Against tenants who have breached an obligation imposed upon them by a written rental agreement.

(10) Against manufactured home park residents who have defaulted in the payment of rent or breached the terms of a rental agreement with a manufactured park operator.

(11) Against manufactured home park residents who have committed two material violations of the rules of the manufactured home park, of the health council, or of applicable state and local health and safety codes and who have been notified of the violations in compliance with section 3733.13 of the Revised Code.

(12) Against occupants of self-service storage facilities, as defined in division (A) of 5322.01 of the Revised Code, who have breached the terms of a rental agreement or violated section 5322.04 of the Revised Code.

(B) If a tenant or manufactured home park resident holding under an oral tenancy is in default in the payment of rent, he forfeits his right of occupancy, and the landlord may, at his option, terminate the tenancy by notifying the tenant , as provided in section 1934.04 of the Revised Code, to leave the premises, for the restitution of which an action may then be brought under this chapter.

(C) This chapter does not apply to a student tenant as defined by division (H) of section 5321.01 of the Revised code when the college or university proceeds to terminate a rental agreement pursuant to section 5321.031 of the Revised Code.

 

1923.03 Judgment not a bar to later action

Judgment under this chapter are not a bar to later action brought by either party.

 

1923.04 Notice; content; service; alternative in case of land contract

(A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, a party desiring to commence an action under this chapter shall notify the adverse party to leave the premises, for the possession of which the action is about to be brought, three or more days before beginning the action, by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by handing a written copy of the notice to the defendant in person, or by leaving it at his usual place of abode or at the premises from which the defendant is sought to be evicted.

Every notice given under this section by a landlord to recover residential premises shall contain the following language printed or written in a conspicuous manner: "You are being asked to leave the premises. If you do not leave an eviction action may be initiated against you. If you are in doubt regarding your legal rights and obligations as a tenant, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance."

(B) The service of notice pursuant section 5313.06 of the Revised Code constitutes compliance with the notice requirement of division (A) of this section. The service of notice required by division (C) of section 5321.17 of the Revised Code constitutes compliance with the Notice Requirement of division (A) of this section.

 

Section 1923.05 Complaint filed and recorded.

The summons shall not issue in an action under this chapter until the plaintiff files his complaint in writing with the court. The complaint shall particularly describe the premises so entered upon and retained, and set forth either an unlawful and forcible entry and detention, or an unlawful and forcible detention after a peaceful or lawful entry of the described premises. The complaint shall be copied into, and made a part of the record.

 

Section 1923.051 Action based on controlled substance violations

(A) Notwithstanding the time-for-service of a summons provision of division (A) of section 1923.06 of the Revised Code, if the complaint described in section 1923.05 of the Revised Code that is filed by a landlord in an action under this chapter states that the landlord seeks judgment of restitution based on grounds specified in division (A)(6)(a)(i) and (b) of section 1923.02 of the Revised Code, then the clerk of the municipal court, county court, or court of common pleas in which the complaint is files shall cause both of the following to occur:

(1) The service and return of the summons in the action in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure, which service shall be made, if possible, within three working days after the filing of the complaint;

(2) The action to be set for trial on the thirtieth working day after the date that the tenant is served with a copy of the summons in accordance with division (A)(1) of this section.

(B) The tenant in an action under this chapter as described in division (A) of this section is not required to file an answer to the complaint of the landlord and may present any defenses that he may possess at the trial of the action in accordance with section 1923.061 of the Revised Code.

(C) No continuances of an action under this chapter as described in division (A) of this section shall be permitted under 1923.08 of the Revised Code, and if the tenant in the action does not appear at the trial and the summons in the action was property served in accordance with division (A)(1) of this section, then the court shall try the action in accordance with section 1923.07 of the Revised Code.

(D) All provisions of this chapter that are not inconsistent with this section shall apply to an action under this chapter as described in division (A) of this section.

 

1923.06 Summons, content

(A) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the summons in an action under this chapter shall be issued, be in the form specified, and be served and returned as in the Rules of Civil Procedure. Such service shall be at least five days before the day set for trial.

(B) Every summons issued under this section to recover residential premises shall contain the following language printed in a conspicuous manner: "A complaint to evict you has been filed with this court. No person shall be evicted unless his right to possession has ended and no person shall be evicted in retaliation for the exercise of his lawful rights. If you are depositing rent with the clerk of court you shall continue to deposit such rent until the time of the court hearing. The failure to continue to deposit such rent may result in your eviction. You may request a trial by jury. You have the right to seek legal assistance. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may contact your local legal aid or legal service office. If none is available, you may contact your local bar association."

 

1923.061 Defenses; counterclaims

(A) Any defense in an action under this chapter may be asserted at trial.

(B) In an action for possession of residential premises based upon non-payment of the rent or in an action for rent when the tenant or manufactured home park resident is in possession, the tenant or resident may counterclaim for any amount he may recover under the rental agreement or under chapter 3733. or 5321. of the Revised Code. In that event, \the court from time to time may order the tenant or resident to pay into court all or part of the past due rent becoming due during the pendency of the action. After trial and judgment, the party to whom a net judgment is owed shall be paid first from the money paid into court, and any balance shall be satisfied as any other judgment. If no rent remains due after the application of this division, judgment shall be entered for the tenant or resident in the action for possession. If the tenant or resident has paid into court an amount greater than that necessary to satisfy a judgement obtained by the landlord, the balance shall be returned by the court to the tenant or resident.

 

1923.07 Proceedings if defendant fails to appear

If the defendant does not appear in action under this chapter and the summons was properly served, the court shall try the cause as though the defendant were present.

1923.08 Continuance; bond

No continuance in an action under this chapter shall be granted for a period longer than eight days, unless the plaintiff applies for the continuance and the defendant consents to it, or unless the defendant applies for the continuance and gives a bond to the plaintiff, with good and sufficient surety, that is approved by the court and conditioned for the payment of rent that may accrue, if judgment is rendered against the defendant.

 

1923.081 Joinder of causes of action

A trial in an action for forcible entry and detainer for residential premises, or for a storage space at a self-service storage facility, as defined in division (A) of 5322.01 of the Revised Code, pursuant to this chapter may also include a trial on claims of the plaintiff for past due rent and other damages under the rental agreement, unless for good cause shown the court continues the trial in those claims. For purposes of this section, good cause includes the request of the defendant to answer or counterclaim to the claims of the plaintiff or for discovery, in which case the proceedings shall be the same in all respects as in other civil cases. If at the time of the trial, the defendant has filed an answer or counterclaim, the trial may proceed on the claims of the plaintiff and the defendant.

 

1923.09 Suit tried by judge; judgement

If an action under this chapter is not continued, the place of the trial is not changed and neither party demands a jury on the return day of the summons, a judge of the court shall try the cause. After hearing the evidence, if he concludes that the complaint is not true, he shall enter judgment against the plaintiff for costs. If he finds the complaint to be true, he shall render a general judgment against the defendant, in favor of the plaintiff, for restitution of the premises and costs of the suit. If the judge finds the complaint true in part, he shall render a judgment for restitution of such part only, and cost shall be taxes as he deems just.

 

1923.10 Trial by jury; verdict

If a jury is demanded by either party in an action under this chapter, until the impaneling of the jury, the proceedings shall be in all respects as in other cases. The Jury shall be sworn to try and determine whether the complaint, naming the plaintiff, about to be presented to them, is true according to the evidence. If the jury finds that the complaint is true, it shall render a general verdict

 

1923.101 Fee of jury

In actions under this chapter before a county court, a party demanding a jury shall first deposit money with the court sufficient to pay the jury fee.

 

1923.11 Entry of verdict; judgment

The court shall enter the verdict rendered by a jury under section 1923.10 of the Revised Code upon the docket, and render judgment in the action as if the facts, authorizing the finding of such verdict, had been found by the court itself.

 

1923.12 Repealed

 

1923.13 Form of writ of execution

When a judgment of restitution is entered by a court in an action under this chapter, at the request of the plaintiff or his agent or attorney, that court shall issue a writ of execution on the judgment, in the following form, as near as practicable;

The state of Ohio, ______ county: To any constable or police officer of ________

township, city, or village; or To the sheriff of _________ county; or To any authorized bailiff of the _________ (name of court)

Whereas, in a certain action for the forcible entry and detention (or forcible detention, as the case may be), of the following described premises, to wit:_________, lately tried before this court, wherein __________ was the plaintiff, and ___________ was the defendant, _________judgment was rendered on the ________ day of ______. ______ that the plaintiff have restitution of those premises, and also that he recover costs in the sum of ________. You therefore are hereby commanded to cause the defendant to be forthwith removed from those premises and the plaintiff to have restitution of them; also, that you levy of the goods and chattels of the defendant, and make the costs previously mentioned and all accruing costs, and of this writ make legal service and due return.

Witness my hand, this ____ day of _____, A.D. ________ ________Judge, __________(name of court)

 

1923.14 Enforcement of writ of execution; stay pending appeal

Except as otherwise provided in this section, within ten days after receiving the writ of execution described in section 1923.13 of the Revised Code, the sheriff, police officer, constable, or bailiff shall execute it by restoring the plaintiff to the possession of the premises and shall levy and collect the costs and make return, as upon other executions. If an appeal from the judgment of restitution is filed and if, following the filing of the appeal, a stay of execution is obtained and any required bond is filed with the court of common pleas, municipal court, or county court, the judge of that court immediately shall issue his order to the sheriff, police officer, constable, or bailiff commanding him to delay all further proceedings upon the execution. If the premises have been restored to the plaintiff, the sheriff, police officer, constable, or bailiff shall forthwith place the defendant in possession of them, and return the writ with his proceedings and the costs taxed thereon.

 

1923.15 Inspection of the premises; order forbidding re-rental until conditions corrected

During any proceeding involving residential premises under this chapter, the court may order an appropriate governmental agency to inspect the residential premises. If the agency determines and the court finds conditions which constitute a violation of section 3733.10 or 5321.04 of the Revised Code, and if the premises have been vacated or are to be restored to the landlord, the court may issue an order forbidding the re-rental of the property until such conditions are corrected. If the agency determines and the court finds such conditions, and if the court finds that the tenant or manufactured home park resident may remain in possession, the court may order such condition corrected. If such conditions have been caused by the tenant or resident, the court may award damages to the landlord equal to the reasonable cost of correcting such conditions.


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