Ohio Rental Laws

Written on August 7, 2014 by , updated on November 1, 2017

flag-of-ohioThis article summarizes some key Ohio landlord-tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the Ohio State Bar Association. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.

Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No statute
  • Security Deposit Interest: If the tenancy is longer than six months, then five percent interest per annum is required to be paid to the tenant each year on the amount of any deposit that exceeds $50 or one month’s rent, whichever is greater. (§§ 5321.16)
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No statute
  • Pet Deposits: No statute
  • Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days from move-out (§§ 5321.16(B))
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit:
  • Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (§§ 5321.16(B))
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute
  • Receipt of Deposit: No statute
  • Failure to Comply: If landlord fails to provide an itemized list of damages, the tenant may sue to recover the money withheld along with damages equal to the amount wrongfully withheld, and reasonable attorney fees. (§§ 5321.16(C))

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Is Due:  As stated in the lease
  • Rent Increase Notice: No statute
  • Rent Grace Period: No statute
  • Late Fees: No statute, but case law allows limited late fees if specified in the lease. (Ohiolandlordtenant.com “Landlord’s Corner – Late Fees in Ohio”) and (Ohiolandlordtenantblog.com “Amounts of Late Fees Allowed In Ohio Limited”)
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute
  • Returned Check Fees: No more than $30 or 10 percent of the check amount, whichever is greater. (§§ 1319.16)
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes, but only under certain circumstances. Instead of paying rent to the landlord tenant may deposit rent with the clerk of the court with jurisdiction over the premises. Tenant must have first notified landlord in writing of landlord’s failure to fulfill obligations defined in §§ 5321.04 or in the rental agreement, or if a governmental agency has found code violations that could affect health and safety, AND landlord has failed to remedy the conditions in a reasonable amount of time considering their severity and the time necessary to remedy, or within 30 days, whichever is sooner. (§§ 5321.07, §§ 5321.08, §§ 5321.09 and §§ 5321.10)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No statute
  • Landlord or Tenant Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Yes, but only allowed in certain circumstances. No provision regarding the payment of landlord’s or tenant’s attorney fees is allowed in any rental agreement. (§§ 5321.13(C)) Landlord may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney fees for tenant violations of statutory Tenant Obligations §§ 5321.05(C)(1). If landlord fails to comply with the rules for returning security deposit, tenant may recover money due along with damages equal to the amount wrongfully withheld, plus reasonable attorney fees. (§§ 5321.16(C) and §§ 5321.04(B))
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: No statute
  • Abandonment/Early Termination Fee: No statute

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No notice is needed as the lease simply expires.
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 30-day notice (§§ 5321.17(B))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: Seven-day notice (§§ 5321.17(A))
  • Termination of Tenancy with 24 Hours Notice: No statute
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection:  No statute
  • Notice of Termination for Nonpayment: Three-day written notice (§§ 1923.02) and (§§ 1923.04(A))
  • Termination for Lease Violation:  Three-day written notice (§§ 1923.02(A)(9)) and (§§ 1923.04(A))
  • Termination for Failure to Fulfill Tenant Obligations:  30-day written notice for violation of any statutory Tenant Obligation affecting health and safety, other than for illegal drug-related activity. Notice must specify the date on which the rental agreement will terminate as well as the tenant’s act or omission of noncompliance. Tenant has the opportunity to remedy the condition specified in the notice to avoid termination of the rental agreement. (§§ 5321.11)
  • Termination for Drug-related Activity:  Three-day notice (§§ 5321.17(C))
  • Required Notice before Entry:  Reasonable notice required, with 24 hours being presumed to be reasonable, and entry only allowed at reasonable times. (§§ 5321.04)
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency):  Yes (§§ 5321.05(B))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes (§§ 5321.05(B))
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Reasonable notice is not required in cases of emergency. (§§ 5321.04(8))
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (§§ 5321.15)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (§§ 5321.15)

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Name and Addresses: Written leases must include the name and address of the owner and the name and address of the owner’s agent. For oral rental agreements, tenant must be provided this information in writing at the time of move-in. (§§ 5321.18) Landlord must also file the name, address, and telephone number of the owner and that of owner’s agent, along with the address and parcel number of the property, with the county auditor of the county in which the property is located. (§§ 5323.02) Information filed with the county auditor becomes public information. (§§ 5323.04) Failure to comply with the filing or updating of information requirements subjects landlord to a fine of $50-$150 by the county auditor. (§§ 5323.99)
  • Copy of the Lease: No statute
  • Domestic Violence Situations: No statute. Statewide support resources include Ohio Domestic Violence Network, Ohio Family Violence Prevention Center and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Office of Victim Services. Also, Aardvarc.org lists other Ohio resources available by county.
  • Landlord Obligations: (§§ 5321.04)
    • Compliance: Comply with all applicable building, housing, health, and safety codes;
    • Repairs: Make all repairs and take all reasonable action to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
    • Common Areas: Keep all common areas of the premises safe and sanitary;
    • Maintenance: Maintain in safe, working order all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning fixtures and appliances, and elevators
    • Trash: For rental agreements that cover four or more units in the building, provide and maintain “appropriate receptacles” for the removal of normal garbage and waste and arrange for its removal.
    • Water and Heat: Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat between October 1 and May 1. This duty does not apply in cases where the unit is not required by law to be so equipped, or if the unit is supplied with heat or hot water by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection.
    • Landlord Access: Landlord must not abuse the right of access conferred by statute for inspection, repair or improvements or other reasons defined in Tenant Obligations to not withhold access to the premises.
    • Prompt Eviction: Landlord has an obligation to promptly start an eviction if landlord has actual knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that the tenant, any person in the tenant’s household, or any person on the premises with tenant’s consent has been or is currently engaged in drug violations on the premises as defined in §§ 1923.02(A)(6)(a)(i), §§ 2925 and §§ 3719.
    • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act: Comply with the rights of tenants under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 117 Stat. 2835, 50 U.S.C. App. 501.
  • Tenant Obligations: (§§ 5321.05)
    • Compliance: Comply with all applicable state and local housing, health, and safety codes that impose requirements on tenants;
    • Cleanliness: Keep that part of the premises that he occupies and uses safe and sanitary;
    • Trash: Dispose of all garbage and waste in a clean, safe, and sanitary manner;
    • Plumbing and Electrical: Keep all plumbing fixtures in the unit or used by tenant as clean as their condition permits, and use and operate all electrical and plumbing fixtures properly;
    • Appliances: Maintain in good working order and condition any appliances supplied by the landlord and required to be maintained by the tenant under the terms of a written lease;
    • Damage and Defacement: Refrain from and forbid any person on the premises with tenant’s permission from destroying, defacing, damaging, or removing any part of the premises, fixtures or appliance;
    • Lawful Activity: Must not violate or allow drug-related activity as defined and prohibited in §§ 2925 and §§ 3719 or any similar municipal ordinance;
    • Quiet Enjoyment: Must not disturb the peaceful enjoyment of the premises by neighbors;
    • Reasonable Access: Must not unreasonably withhold consent for landlord to enter unit for inspection, repair, alterations, or improvements, large parcel delivery too large for the tenant’s mail facilities, supply of necessary or agreed services, or showing the unit to prospective or actual buyers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen or contractors.
  • Retaliation: Landlord may not retaliate against a tenant by increasing rent, decreasing services, or bringing or threatening eviction because the tenant has:
    • complained to an appropriate governmental agency of a building, housing, health, or safety code violation;
    • complained to the landlord of conditions that violate Landlord Obligations as defined in §§ 5321.05;
    • or joined with other tenants to negotiate or deal collectively with the landlord on any terms or conditions of a rental agreement.
    • Tenant may use any retaliatory action by the landlord as a defense to an eviction, to recover possession of the premises or to terminate the rental agreement. (§§ 5321.02)
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlord must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlord must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.
  • Eviction of Tenant Allowing Sex or Child-victim Offender to Occupy Premises Near School: Landlord may terminate the rental agreement of a tenant who allows occupancy of the premises by any sex offender or child-victim offender prohibited from establishing residence within 1,000 feet of any school or child day-care center under §§ 5321.034. However, if landlord who is authorized to terminate such a tenancy does not do so, landlord is not liable for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that allegedly results from that decision. (§§ 5321.051(2))

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
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186 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Angela

    Advice please, but really know there’s nothing to do but move, now or later. Rent(S8). Owner texts me house has been sold. Moved in about eight months ago. Went online to pay utility bill but couldn’t because email and pw not working anymore. Odd. Called S8, they won’t return my calls. LL said she’ll try to keep me in house to late spring when her lease was up. Can she, she no longer owns the home? Spent a lot of money moving into the house now I have to do this all over again.

  • C.Maria

    I live in Ohio. My cousin inherited his dead mother‘s house I rented and sold the property. I was live in caretaker to his mom from 4/2015 until she died 12/4/17. I lived between her house and her rental property during this time. I,have a yearly lease since 2010 with option to buy signed by mother. My aunt stopped charging me rent by 1/2016 as I paid for most food and kept utilities on at the rental. My cousin accused me of abandoning the rental house and the fact that I was no longer paying rent! I had a lawyer review the lease and it’s all legal. He tried to evict me with 10days notice. Then we agreed on 12/3 I would move 1/3/18. Title transferred to new owner on 1/2/18 and he locked me out. He seized my stuff before I finished. Rights?.

  • Eric

    If you rent an apartment in Ohio and you have one car and that car is driveable and is used every day but the car has been in a wreck can a landlord tell you that it must be fixed or you can’t park on property?

    • James Hines

      Your landlord could face a fine from the city for having a non-running vehicle on the property. Landlord could choose to have car towed as to not face said fine.

  • Corey m

    If my girlfriend has her ex staying with her and he’s only been there not even two weeks and he won’t leave what action can we do to make him leave?

  • Jody

    I have a question I rent from my cousin and her husband are they like the house going to bankruptcy and it’s and I still run it it now they have turned off all the utilities in October and I’m just finding out that they couldn’t do that and now they’re calling you know like children services and everything on me saying I’m a squatter but I have signed receipt for my rent who can I call and what can I do

  • Joseph Dicinto

    when I move into an apartment, should it have new paint and rug

  • Wendie Thomas

    I moved in in July of 2017 with a year lease I ended up with a bed bug infestation I did not have them when I moved in do I have to pay extermination fees I live in a complex with on site laundry facilities which I was using and I know they came from there I am legally crippled and I don’t go out a lot no one comes over but family

  • Kellan

    Tenants rights of termination – My grandmother is currently living in an apartment, but is suffering from severe dementia and will need 24hr care. My family is looking into getting her into a nursing home, but the lease agreement for her apartment complex states the lease cannot be broken before the initial term. Is there a law regarding this matter? Can she break her lease under the circumstances without penalty?

    Thank you!

  • KB

    Question…….. if renting a single family home as rental property is the landlord required to furnish a stove and refrigerator ??

  • thomas

    I’m renting out a place that needed repairs I told them they could move in and finish the repairs and I would charge 150.00 a month if they put the rest twords the repairs there selves but they haven’t done any repairs and quit giving me the 150.00 a month it was a good friend so we didn’t wright up a lease agreement

    • ANSWERING

      Always have something in writing. However, you can still go through an eviction without a written contract, it just cannot be for the non-payment. If you don’t want to ruin a friendship, talk to them before seeking an attorney. Maybe you all can come to an agreement without making it dirty.

  • Susan

    We have been suffering from a bed bug infestation for the past 2-3 months. The upstairs apartment had 2 heat treatments. When we asked the landlord about it, they refused. After we were notified by the landlord, we were served with a 60 day end of lease notice. We have tried applying for other places, however, those new places wants an all clear before processing our applications. We can’t get a straight answer from the landlord regarding our situation. We have taken the liberty to hire an exterminator from a different company, and received paperwork that the infestation is inside the walls, and the best treatment is to heat treat all 4 units at once. What kind of legal action can we take to protect our family?

  • Jenny

    How much of a refund should I expect from a landlord whom while under lease refused to make repairs to hot water heater and furnace forcing me to pay service calls and be without hot water and or heat a total of 23 days. I am looking for what I should request above and beyond the actual service calls I paid repair people.

  • Elisa

    My landlord is saying the water/sewage overage due to a leaky toilet is my responsibility. I would like to show him code saying it is not. The toilet leak was due to normal wear and tear.

    • Jen emery

      It is YOUR responsibility to notify the landlord of any faulty items.. especially if you are paying for the consumption. They have a reasonable amount of time to make the repair.

  • John Jones

    Rental agreement says no smoking in house. Never have. For 4 yrs we smoked out back in the yard. Just got a new neighbor in unit next door who doesn’t like smoking. She says we can’t smoke out back in the yard because she can smell it. Says the no smoking clause in the lease covers the whole property. The manager of the property has seen us smoking out back many times and never said anything. Where do we stand legally? Can they say no smoking in the yard now or make us move?

  • madhyam gautam

    I live in cincinnati and the zip code is 45231 I have lease from Feb 2 in same day i call to duke energy .duke supply electic and gas from feb 5 but now lease send me the bill of 3 days gap they said i have to pay $193 for connation fee . I am socked i didn’t see like this lease before now they make $265 because of late fee . So what is this I am in problem I have to pay or not for this issues plz can i know

  • Tim Sowers

    My landlord sold the house that I rent but we signed a years lease and i still have 3 months left on lease and I’m not late paying rent can he give me a 30 day to move in Ohio

  • Tyler

    My landlord is charging me $500 more than the previous tenant is he aloud to increase the rent

  • Amy Lynn

    Question
    I just got evicted from home my boyfriend who lives with me was not named on the eviction does this mean he has to leave also or can he stay and have to be evicted?

  • Glenn pratt

    Does landlord have to show me the water bill we live in duplex and both us tenants both agree we can’t be using this much we split a bill the land Lord says he splits it’s by amount of ppl per apartment ivelived just down the street with same person and our bill was almost half so seems like he is making profit off us

  • Samantha

    I went to go rent a apartment today. I was filling out paper work and she took a copy of my ID. She then asked my age I said 19 she looked at me and said we can’t rent to you. She said they can only rent to 21 and older. Can she do this? Not rent to me because I am not 21?

  • April

    Live in a 4 tenant apartment complex and the other 3 units have bud bugs; mine is clean per exterminator but they are going to treat all 4 units at once and I have to vacate my apartment for one week. Is it up to my landlord to put me up in a hotel or somewhere as I have no place to go? This is in Ohio and is a government based on income complex

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