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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150 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • valerie crawford

    Is landlord in Ohio responsible if tenant dog bites someone

  • gabriela kaplan

    Do you know of organizations who protect condo owners in ohio?
    I have a case in which condo board approved 1.8 Million for project that is not justified, and bylaws do not permit
    We have to burden payments for this
    Gabriela cell 216 5097030

  • JAllen1206

    Is it considered breaking the lease if a tenant moves others into the rental property without permission?

  • carla

    If the landlord gave a 3 day notice to leave the premises and the tenants dont move and then on November 26 they said theyd have their stuff out but they are still there till this day….but they havent been living in the apartment for almost a month.there is no electricity in their name.they keep dragging moving out what can a landlord do for his rights?

  • Sandy Otero

    How long can a landlord wait to replace carpeting?

  • Philomina Asamoah

    I have no hot water and my heat works quarter of the time and i have only leave there for a week and not happy ,what can i do because am tired of calling them over and over

  • Randy Henry

    How do I evict a roommate who doesn’t pay rent and is not on the lease?

  • Kim

    I have submitted a 30 day move out notice to my landlord. I will be breaking my lease by 6 months. My lease states a 30 day notice is required and the forfit of my security deposit. When submitting my notice the landlord told me I would have to find a new renter to take over my lease or pay 2 month rent before I would be able to move. No where in my lease does it state this. I am not sure if this is legal in Ohio.

  • Amy Chapman

    I am living in a very unsafe place just moved here February and something is destroying my stuff wood cars landlord does not see it I’m scared to death I’ve called cops health department welfare terminex I can’t do anymore I can’t leave my pet I’m afraid to get in my vehicle so no longer can work who do I turn to this is ruining my life. Please help? I have a 14 yr old son I am losing sleep I have to watch nothing gets him while he sleeps it gets in our refrigerator leaves claw marks but we never see it, so disturbing afraid of shower to close my eyes it’s just so scary, just tell me where to turn now cops said landlord association I don’t know how it works? Thanks again!

    • Mike Miller

      You need to call an exorcist. Preferably one that was been officially appointed by the Vatican. Pope Francis himself has said that Satan, the Devil, is real.

  • Eugene Johnson

    My ex will not leave my home she gets mail here what steps do I take to have her removed from my home.

  • LaRecheia Jackson

    My landlord had central air advertised as part of the rent but when I moved in, it was winter & I didn’t check it. Well summer comes, I try to turn it on & heat comes out. I call my landlord & he says that I’m responsible for getting it fixed & I don’t think I should have to get it fixed for 1 reason it was advertised as part of the rent & never stated as the tenant should pay for repairs of the central air unit if something happens!! So who is responsible for repairs, me or my Landlord?? I really need answers!! Thank you!!

  • Rita G.

    Tenants moved in over two years ago. Carpet was replaced BEFORE they moved in and the entire house was repainted. Now the tenant is complaining that they have bedbugs that just appeared and they are blaming us for them. They refused entry to rectify an ant problem, but are constantly badgering us to come over and fix this problem. Their child has asthma and they want to see the MSDS data on any product sprayed/used in the house. I have talked to several exterminators and they all are reluctant to help because of this request. Since they are on a month-to-month lease now, we gave them 30 day notice to move. They are now threatening to sue us, have yet to pay June rent, and owe several hundred dollars in back utility charges.

    • Monica

      Is the rental in Ohio? Forget the 30 day notice, serve them a 3 day notice to vacate today for nonpayment of rent, then file for the eviction next Monday. Just focus on the rent not paid, don’t allow the other issues to complicate the tenant not paying the rent. Keep it simple.

      • Rita G.

        Thanks. They have been the tenants from hell!

        • Kelly

          Monica is absolutely correct! Serve the 3 day notice for non payment of rent and promptly evict. I’d hire attorney if you don’t know what you’re doing. In the future, screen carefully and be very selective. You are trusting someone with a very valuable asset. To qualify, my tenants must have excellent landlord references, a demonstrated history of on-time payments, and absolutely NO evictions. I don’t care what their story is, if they don’t meet the criteria they can’t rent from me. It has made my business a delight instead of a headache. I learned all this the hard way. By the way, there are high quality tenants to be found in every type of neighborhood. Don’t settle! Have no fear. You will find a great tenant. I’m rooting for you!

          • rita g

            Thanks. We did screen these tenants and they had great references. The first year and half everything was fine. The issue with the ants and bedbugs just came up in the last 30 days! They also have problems with the neighbors and are constantly bickering back and forth, and then accused us of not doing anything about it! Like I can be there 24/7 to monitor the neighborhood! And, truthfully, the neighbors are really cool.

  • Johnathan

    We moved in on the 19th, the landlord said he’d like to start getting rent on the 1st, we never were prorated any month of rent, he gave us a 24 day notice to vacate, I know ohio law requires a 30 day notice, never gave me the 3 day notice either and already filed our eviction, we’ve both been in breach of the lease which does say rent pd on the 1st. I’ve got text msgs, convos about when we’re paying our rent and what not, I can fight this correct?

  • Rachel

    Really need help. All within a month. We got a dog without permission. We got rid of the dog as asked. Got a letter from my son’s doctor to keep our cat. Now since we did that I’m told the owners are seeking the house. They previously offered land contract but now refuse. We pay our rent on time and don’t complain. Do I have to allow showings, do I have the right to only allow it when I’m home. This interrupts our privacy which we pay for monthly in rent. Can I request a rent discount? What are my rights here. Our lease renews every year so it won’t be up until October.

  • Gina

    landlord is charging us the entire security deposit plus & $750.00 for painting and labor to paint. lived there for 4 years. is that legal? Isn’t painting in between tenants something you do anyways. I think this should be on the land lord not us.

    • amy

      the landlord is the one who should be responsible for the painting and they are supposed to paint before each new tenant moves in.

  • Linda

    My tenant didn’t pay this month’s rent and apparently the utilities were turned off by the electric company last week. I’m going to continue with eviction. He has 2 cosigners who were not living in the apartment. Are they also named in/notified of the eviction? In Montgomery County when can I change the locks? Am I obligated to set out any property he leaves after he’s evicted or at what point is it mine to sell/give away/trash? There Is no Ohio statue and I can’t find if Montgomery County has specific rules or requirements. Thanks.

  • Fin

    I need help we moved into or current apartment in December 2016 a month later notices were left on our doors letting us know they’d start mandatory spraying for roaches and bed bugs we had yet to see any kind of bug in our apartment we kept it clean they came to spray 3 times a month until June when we were told our apartments were bought out by another realty company we were given the option to sign into another lease or to vacate in 3 days my son was 3 months at the time and my fiancee was the only one working so we had no choice but to stay even with them increasing the rent 4 days ago we found out we have bed bugs for a couple weeks we had been getting bit up by something but we thought nothing of it it’s alot of mosquitos where we stay they get in at times when we are leaving or just getting home it wasn’t until my fiancee noticed blood on his socks and on our sheets that made me check the bed they were everywhere as well as our clothes the couch our son’s bed our rugs we had to throw everything away luckily my fiancee had just gotten paid we had to buy a air mattress and sprays for the house I reported this to our maintenance but they told me they didn’t know how soon anyone would respond and when they do they’ll leave a notice on our door when they can come we had to cut into what was due for rent and my fiancee doesn’t get paid till the 3rd of August after being late on our rent last month we had to pay on the 5th our property manager told us he’d give us a 3 day notice if we were late again we want to terminate our lease but we need time to find a place without being evicted or kicked out can they do that for us paying them late and having bedbugs even if they do treat our house our neighbors constantly leave their doors wide open none of us have screen doors they constantly leave trash throughout our walk way it’s constantly furniture being left at our dumpster how would this help us keep the bugs away if they just let them into their homes I don’t want to risk getting social services involved in this because when I take my son to the doctor they notice he has bed bug bites just so they can come to our home and say we are the ones unfit having him in this environment please help us

  • Tyler

    Have a friend living with us for the last 3 months. He was supposed to work for his rent but does nothing. Do i have to give him 30 day notice or would it just be proper for a week notice ??

  • Ginger

    I owned my house since 2004-2013 at which time I lost in bankruptcy and landlord leased back my home … are there any laws that I should be aware of ? I did place a deposit but nothing was done to the property to improve it. I was told that at the end of my lease and upon moving I wouldn’t need to do anything except leave clean and empty due to the house needing rehabbed .

  • Melissa Thompson

    If we put 200 towards the deposit and we change our minds can we get that money back? Never signed anything or was told it wasn’t refundable. I have a receipt but nothing in writing and the property has been empty for over a year. Obviously it is hard to rent. Just aggravated about the whole situation..PLEASE help!!

  • Jow

    Current lease states “the lease renews for an additional one year term unless you provide 60 days notice of non-renewal.” When first reading this, I did not assume it to be an “automatic renewal” and that a new lease would be drawn up but my landlord is now saying it “automatically” renewed and I have to continue paying rent until the end of the lease period (Feb2018) despite giving him 60 day notice (Aug2017) of plans to vacate the premises. Any tips on how to handle this situation?

  • Tomy

    Please read to the end, this is a little complex. I failed to provide a lease termination letter prior to getting into the 60 day notice window. I am now 7 days past that window. When I spoke to the leasing agent about my intent to end the lease and learn my options, she told me I would be on a month to month agreement and am required to pay for the two months AFTER my current lease ends. Does this sound right? I would think I would only be responsible for the 7 days beyond my current lease since I am providing a 60 day notice.

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