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Attorney David P. Drew
141 Broad Blvd. Suite #206
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 44221
Akron: (330) 762-0080
Fax: (330) 762-0720
Alliance: (330) 777-4240
Bedford: (440) 399-0199
Berea : (440) 625-2800
Canton: (330) 777-4241
Cambridge: (740) 994-3577
Cleveland: (216) 744-2755
Columbus: (614) 437-5244
Elyria: (440) 625-2799
Lisbon: (330) 777-4242
Mansfield: (419) 989-6730
Medina: (330) 777-4243
Northfield: (330) 777-4244
Painesville: (440) 210-7255
Ravenna: (330) 777-4245
Sandusky: (440) 625-2788
Toledo: (419) 989-6737
Warren: (330) 777-4246
OHIO Landlord Tenant Law
What Are My Rights As A Tenant?

A tenant is any person who occupies or possesses the residential property of another and pays for it under a rental agreement.

As long as you, the tenant, do what the written lease and/or the law requires you to do, you have the right to exclusive possession of the property until the lease expires.

  • You have the right to complain to a government agency about your landlord's violation of housing laws or regulations, which affect health and safety.
  • You have the right to complain to your landlord if he or she fails to perform any legal duties. If you complain and the landlord retaliates against you by increasing rent, decreasing services, or seeking to evict you for taking such action, the landlord has violated the law.
  • You have the right to join with other tenants to bargain with your landlord about the terms of the rental agreement.
  • You have the right to know the name and address of the owner of your residential premises and that of the owner's agent, if there is one. This information must appear either in your written lease or be given to you in writing at the beginning of your tenancy if the rental agreement is oral.
  • You have the right of privacy, which the landlord must respect. The landlord may enter your apartment after reasonable notice (at least 24 hours) for certain legitimate reasons.
  • If, after the landlord has received a written complaint from you about the premises and fails to make repairs within 30 days or less (depending on the severity of the housing conditions), you as a tenant may have a right to withhold your next monthly rental payment and deposit it with the Clerk of Municipal Court in the county where you reside, or you may terminate the lease and move out.

The right to deposit rent money with the court cannot be used against a landlord who owns fewer than four dwelling units if you receive written notice of this fact when you originally move into the premises. You may not use the remedies of termination or rent deposits if you are not current in you rental payments.

What Are My Rights as a Landlord?

If you own rental property and permit another to use, occupy, or possess your residential premises for a period in return for money or something of value, you are a landlord .

  • You, as a landlord, can rent your property for any amount you desire as long as a rent increase is not a retaliatory act against a tenant.
  • Subject to the provisions of Ohio's Fair Housing Act, you may rent to anyone you wish and establish any conditions and terms in a rental contract which do not conflict with state law. You may, in fact, refuse to rent to anyone, provided you do not discriminate against a tenant because of the tenant's race, color, religion, ancestry, sex, national origin, or family status.
  • If there is a written lease that provides for it, you may evict the tenant for nonpayment of rent, or for breaking any material conditions which you have agree upon. Written notice of the intent to file an eviction action must be given to the tenant before you file such action in court.
  • You may notify the tenant in writing if you wish to secure the tenant's compliance with obligations under the law.
  • After reasonable notice, you have the right to enter the dwelling unit in order to inspect, repair, make improvements or supply services, or show new tenants the property.
  • You have the right to have your property returned to you in as good a condition as it was when the tenant took possession, except for ordinary wear and tear.

What Are My Obligations as a Landlord?

The landlord has certain obligations whether or not they are written into a rental agreement. You, as landlord, cannot change them or require the tenant to assume them, and the tenant cannot agree to do without the performance of these obligations under any circumstances. 

As a landlord, you must do the following:

  • Comply with all the standards of housing and health codes, which materially affect health and safety.
  • Make all repairs and keep the rental premises in a livable condition.
  • Keep all common areas of the premises in a safe and sanitary condition.
  • Maintain in good working condition all electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning fixtures and appliances which you have supplies or are required to supply.
  • Provide and maintain trash receptacles and remove all trash when you own four or more units in the same building.
  • Supply running water, reasonable amounts of hot water and reasonable heat at all times unless the tenant has assumed responsibility with the utility company.
  • Not abuse your right to enter the property for legitimate reasons; if this right is abused then you have invaded the tenant's privacy.

A landlord may be liable to a person sustaining injuries in an area over which the landlord retains control or as a result of failure to maintain and repair certain basic items, which are required by the law. If there is a written rental agreement, you as a landlord are required to furnish the tenant with your name and address and the name and address of your agent, if any. If there is an oral rental agreement, you are required to furnish the same information in writing to the tenant when the tenant moves in.

How Do I Get Back My Security Deposit?

When a tenant moves out at the end of a rental agreement, there are certain rules the tenant and landlord must follow. 

The tenant should surrender the premises in as good a condition, as it was when the tenant moved in. This requires the tenant to leave the premises as he or she found it, making only such repairs as are needed to restore the premises. The tenant is not responsible for ordinary wear and tear on the premises. The tenant should leave a new or forwarding address in writing with the landlord.

After the tenant moves out, any of the tenant's money or property, which the landlord holds as a security deposit, can be applied to damages the landlord incurred as a result of the tenant's actions. If the landlord deducts any amount, it must be itemized in writing by the landlord and delivered together with the balance due to the tenant within 30 days after the tenant has moved. 

If the landlord does not comply with this law, then tenant may recover damages and under proper circumstances be entitled to special damages. Under Ohio law, both tenants and landlords may recover damages and reasonable attorney's fee in some situation for the unlawful act of the other party. 

Who Owns What?

In general, unless otherwise agreed, “fixtures” belong to the landlord. Fixtures include parts of the building such as sinks, furnaces, water heaters, and other equipment that is either built-in or fastened to the property. Obviously, anything brought onto the premises by you as a tenant, which does not become a fixture, belongs to you and may be removed by you at the termination of the lease.