Most residential leases and rental agreements in Ohio require a security deposit. This is a dollar amount, usually one month's rent, that's intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear, and to cushion the financial blow if a tenant skips out early on the lease without paying. Here’s a summary of Ohio landlord-tenant laws that cover the use and return of security deposits.
No. In Ohio, there's no statutory limit on security deposits at the state level, but check your city and county laws to see if your municipality has set a cap on security deposits for residential rentals.
To learn more about steps that tenants can take to protect their security deposit after they've paid it, check out Nolo's article Protect Your Security Deposit When You Move In.
Under Ohio law, a landlord must return the tenant's security deposit within 30 days after the tenant has moved out.
Learn more about tenants' rights and landlords' obligations when it comes to the return of the security deposit in Nolo's chart Cleaning and Repairs a Landlord Can Deduct from a Security Deposit and Nolo's article Get Your Security Deposit Back.
Yes. In addition to complying with Ohio laws on security deposit limits and how (and when) the deposit must be returned to tenants, landlords in Ohio must pay interest on most security deposits at the rate of 5% per year, if the tenant stays six months or more.
If you want to go right to the source and look up Ohio law on security deposits -- or if you're writing a letter to your landlord or tenant and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at Ohio Revised Code Annotated § 5321.16. Your city or county might have different landlord-tenant and security deposit laws than those at the state level in Ohio. For tips on looking up Ohio state and local laws, check out Nolo's State Laws & Legal Research section.
You may also find useful information on tenant rights in the guide available at http://www.ohiolegalservices.org/public/legal_problem/housing/landlord-tenant-issues.