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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217 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Michelle Ganzhorn

    I was currently living with a older couple who asked me to move in to help them around the house. I stayed in the basement which had seperate enterance. They rent the house. But locked me out and will not return my belongings. They told me friday which is 3 days away to get my belongings off the curb. How can i find out who their landlord is and do i have any rights to get in house i do not want some one else oving my things outside for others to take. Everything i had in my 2 bedroom apartment is in there basement.

  • Karl Rose

    My daughter lives in a house in Ohio where the landlord requires a cash only payment. The landlord says it is because her husband is disabled and she has a daughter on Medicaid. Is this legal or can she pay her rent with a money order? The landlord has also failed to make repairs to the agreed upon repairs when she moved in such as a boarded up broken window in the bedroom of her one year old child, a rotted step on her porch that broke when she was carrying the baby in, etc..

  • Mike C

    We evicted someone back in May. She never asked for or came for her things in over 5 1/2 months. Can they legally be thrown away?

  • Dawn M Chittick

    My landlord refused my rent this month for paying with money orders. She told me a note on how to pay rent was left on my door, which I never recieved. She gave me my money orders back and said I’d have to pay with a cashiers check or let them take it out of my bank. Can they refuse the money orders when I’ve paid this way over the lat 3 years. And also now I’m being told I’m being evicted for non payment WHEN I DID PAY AND SHE REFUSED THE MONEY ORDERS TWO DAYS AFTER TAKING THEM.

  • Nick

    I was to exchange work for a room until the work was done. I’ve been here a month give or take the work is half done and he’s telling me to leave now. What can I do what are my rights

  • Patricia Chafin

    Do all apts have grace. Period when renting

  • Lyric

    I moved into a apartment my first one. I made a mistake of signing a 15 month lease. Is there any way I can get out of it a little earlier than expected ? Reason being bugs! And I don’t believe they are using the proper method to get rid of them. Also our heat is controlled and sometimes it’s not on during the cold winter days. Our common area and hallways have been stripped of its carpet since I moved in way back in May. I tried to speak with my Property Manager and she seems as if she’s giving me the run around and not trying to discuss the bug infestation that is heavily in the building. Help please I do not want to stay here

  • Karen

    My daughter’s packages have been stolen & her tire slashed. The packages were definitely from another tenant. Can she break her lease

  • Tiffany Stoner

    My kids and i need a place asap. I have applied for hud and another income based place. I am a single mother of 4 so i am not really able to affor a 3 or 4 bedroom at the time and very hard ti find a place with past eviction but Until then i am hoping get a 2 bedroom. If need be id sleep on the couch so my kids can all be in there own beds and have space. I have 4 kids and myself is there a certain requirement?

  • Valerie

    I live in an apartment that does not currently have a telephone jack installed. There is a box outside the building, but it is not connected. I would like to use that phone jack, is my landlord required to install a phone jack in the apartment?

  • Crystal

    I wanted to know what is the maximum amount for late fees a landlord can charge…my landlord charging me 50.00 dollars initial late fee and then 20.00 a day up to 250.00 for being late. Is the legal?

  • Ed

    When does the rental agent have to pay the security deposit back

  • Alex

    Is my landlord allowed to make us now pay the water utility through them via cashiers check or money order, without the option of paying directly through the utility company (wich for the past 2.5 years is what I have done) as well as add on extra charges for garbage disposal?


    I have live here for over 8 years and just signed a new 1 year lease, the units on both sides of me have new tents since.
    We have no assigned parking but must have a 20 dollar parking decal to park in front of the units, one of the units have 5+ plus adults and they common occupy the parking with out the permits, which forces me to park remotely and I suffer from Sciatica from time to time about 3 month out of the year, I want them to pay for my moving cost, can I do this?

  • C. Borrelli Colonna

    Rental management companies are getting over on older tenants. I live on social security pension fixed income. I have been late on rent 3x not for a whole year now, and I’m being evicted for being 5 days late on June rent. They (the office staff and area manager) know I’ve been in failing health over the last year. Also SOMEONE in my building has been dumping cat litter in the laundry room tubs. The manager told my lawyer and accused me! There are OTHERS with cats in my building. Now I’m being EVICTED with just 30 days notice, AND they are also trying to sue me for $8,000.00!! My sleezy lawyer I paid $350 to represent me in court did nothing to help me!! Next court date 8-1-19, for what?.. Can they sue me without even inspecting? HELP!!!!!

  • Whitney D Watts

    I have been a tenant for 13 years at the same residence. Back in August, my landlord pulled me outside to show me sewage laying on the ground. He raised my rent from 475 to 685 to pay for the septic. The septic now, is an open hole in my yard, with sewage exposed. The house is being condemned by the Ohio Dept of Health on 8/10 because he claims he doesn’t have the money to fix it and if he does, he is raising my rent to $800 to recoup from his loss. Do I have any rights as a tenant to be awarded the money by raising my rent to pay for the septic and now does not have the money or he will raise my rent again? I have no extra funds to move and no where to move to. Please help!

  • kenneth Deary III

    My landlord shut off our water but the water is in my mom’s name

  • Krystina

    My brother lives in an appartment building that has a locked entry. He did not pay rent this month and they will not give him a key to the building. He can not leave his apartment or he will not be able to get back into the building. Is this legal? Into his apartment he has the key but what good is that if he can not enter the building to get to his appartment.

  • Mike

    My rent has always been paid in time. My Landlord applied my rent money to a late water bill. Then proceeded to charge me late fees. Can he do this?

  • Jennifer

    We rented a house for past 2 1/2 years. Signed a 15 month handwritten lease. Its been month to month after. Decided to move. Got half of our stuff out. My husband texted landlord that this would be our last month, we would be back to clear out and clean. Next day landlord hiredcleaning crew to throw away rest of our stuff. Personal belongings. He texted my husband back after yhe fact. Said he thought we abandoned the house. Then wouldnt give my husband name of cleaning company. Is this legal?

  • Lyndsey

    I recently moved in with my mother after a divorce to get back on my feet. We do not have any form of an agreement. But I do contribute when I can. My mother is very controlling and does not allow me to stay out passed 7:30 or she will lock the doors. Checks miles on vehicles, goes through my messages and emails wen activity. Goes through the room daily. And went as far as throwing everything item I own away. Causing me to have to start over again. She is extremely mentally abusive.lShe locks me out in the blistering cold for hours at midnight because she didn’t like the person taking me out. And now demands I leave her property for following he rules. My question is I am considered a tenant or guest? Can she force me to leave?

    • Billie J Buxton

      I’m not a lawyer, but I contacted one when I wanted to make my adult son move out. I was told that if he received mail here, he had a legal right to live here and I would have to go through the legal eviction process. That is a 30 day notice, then going to court.

      For your sake, I hope you will be able to get out of there soon!

  • Randy Schoenly

    In Ohio, how often and how much can monthly rent be increased? Thanks

  • Leehi

    So, in Ohio, can a 20 year old rent an apartment who is moving from one state to another?

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