Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in Ohio

Find out key laws every Ohio landlord and tenant needs to know.

Both landlords and tenants should be able to deal with many legal questions and problems without a lawyer, once they understand the basics of state law. This overview of key landlord-tenant laws in Ohio will get you started.

Required Landlord Disclosures in Ohio

Under Ohio law, landlords must disclose specific information to tenants (usually in the lease or rental agreement), such as the identity of anyone authorized to act on the landlord’s behalf. For details, see  Ohio Required Landlord Disclosures.

Ohio Security Deposit Limit and Return

Ohio state law does not limit how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. However, it does limit when it must be returned (within 30 days after a tenant moves) and sets other restrictions on deposits. See  Ohio Security Deposit Limits and Deadlines  for more on the subject.

Small Claims Lawsuits in Ohio

Tenants can sue landlords in small claims court for the return of their deposit, up to a dollar amount of $3,000. See  Filing a Security Deposit Lawsuit in Ohio Small Claims Court  for advice for tenants filing suit. Landlords defending a security deposit lawsuit should check out  Ohio Landlord’s Guide to Security Deposit Disputes in Small Claims Court.

Ohio Rent Rules

State law regulates several rent-related issues. For example, it prohibits landlords from using rent increases as a way to discriminate or retaliate against tenants. For details, see  Ohio Termination for Nonpayment of Rent and Other Rent Rules.

Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent in Ohio

Tenants may withhold rent if a landlord fails to take care of important repairs, such as a broken heater. For specifics, see  Ohio Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent.

Ohio Termination and Eviction Rules

State laws specify when and how a landlord may terminate a tenancy. For example, a landlord may give an Ohio tenant who has failed to pay rent an unconditional quit notice that gives the tenant three days to move out before the landlord can file for eviction. See  State Laws on Unconditional Quit Terminations  and  State Laws on Termination for Violation of Lease  for details on these types of termination notices in Ohio.

Landlord Access to Rental Property, Tenant Protection Against Retaliation, and Other State Laws in Ohio

Several other landlord-tenant laws in Ohio affect both property owners and renters, including:

Where to Find Ohio Landlord-Tenant Statutes

If you want to read the text of a law itself, such as state security deposit rules, you’ll find citations in many of the articles and charts included in the  State Landlord-Tenant Laws  section of the Nolo site. To access the statutes, go to the  Ohio Laws and Legal Information  section of the Nolo site and find the link to your state laws.

If you just want to browse through the Ohio landlord-tenant law, you can find state statutes at Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § § 5321.01 to 5321.19. You can search the table of contents for the landlord-tenant statutes. Or, if you don’t know the exact statute number, you can enter a keyword that is likely to be in it, such as “nonpayment of rent.”

In addition to accessing state laws via Nolo’s website, Ohio statutes are available in many public libraries and in most law libraries that are open to the public (typically found in a county courthouse or at the state capitol or in a publicly-funded law school).

Local Ordinances Affecting Ohio Landlords and Tenants

Cities and counties often pass local ordinances, such as health and safety standards, noise and nuisance regulations, and antidiscrimination rules that affect landlords and tenants. Many municipalities have websites —just search for the name of a particular city in Ohio and then do a search when you’re on the site.

State and Local Government on the Net  and  Municode  are good sources for finding local governments online. Also, your local public library or office of the city attorney, mayor, or city or county manager can provide information on local ordinances that affect landlords and tenants in Ohio.

Federal Landlord-Tenant Laws and Regulations

While most landlords and tenants will primarily be concerned with state law in Ohio, several federal laws come into play. Congress has enacted laws, and federal agencies, such as  the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  and the  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have adopted regulations, covering  discrimination  and landlord responsibilities to disclose environmental health hazards, such as  lead-based paint.

The U.S. Code is the starting place for most federal statutory research. It consists of 50 separate numbered titles, each covering a specific subject matter. Most federal regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”), also organized by subject into 50 separate titles.

To access the U.S. Code and Code of Federal Regulations online, see  Nolo’s Federal Law Resources  page. Also, the  Cornell Legal Information Institute  provides the entire U.S. Code as well as the Code of Federal Regulations. Finally, check  USA.gov, the official U.S. website for government information.

Nolo Resources on Legal Research and Landlord-Tenant Law

Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research  page includes links to state and federal laws, explains how to research and understand statutes, and provides advice on finding local ordinances and court cases, including Supreme Court cases. To go further, check out  Legal Research: How to Find & Understand the Law,  by Stephen Elias and the Editors of Nolo (Nolo). This nontechnical book gives easy-to-use, step-by-step instructions on how to find legal information.

You’ll also find a wealth of information in the  Landlords  and  Renters’ Rights  sections of the Nolo website and Nolo books, such as  Every Landlord’s Legal Guide  and  Every Tenant’s Legal Guide.

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