The Eviction Process in Ohio: Rules for Landlords and Property Managers

An overview of Ohio eviction rules, forms, and procedures.

A landlord can evict a tenant in Ohio for not paying rent or violating the lease, among other reasons. Before evicting the tenant, the landlord must first terminate the tenancy and give the tenant notice asking the tenant to vacate the rental unit. If the tenant does not move out, then the landlord can begin an eviction action against the tenant through the court system.

Different types of notices and procedures are required for different situations. This article will explain the rules and procedures landlords must follow when evicting a tenant in Ohio.

Notice for Termination With Cause

If a landlord wants to terminate a tenancy early, that is, before the lease term has ended, the landlord must have legal cause, or a valid reason. The most common reasons to evict a tenant are for failing to pay rent or violating the lease or rental agreement. However, the tenant can also be evicted for using, selling, or manufacturing illegal drugs at the rental unit. In all of these situations, the landlord must give the tenant an unconditional three-day notice to quit. The notice must inform the tenant that the tenant has three days to move out of the rental unit or an eviction action will be brought against the tenant. If the tenant does not move out by the end of three days, then the landlord can go to court and file an eviction lawsuit (see Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § § 1923.02–1923.04, 5321.17).

Notice for Termination Without Cause

If a landlord does not have legal cause to evict a tenant, then the landlord must wait until the end of the lease term before expecting the tenant to move. In some cases, the landlord may still need to give the tenant written notice to move.

Month-to-Month Tenancy

To end a month-to-month tenancy, a landlord must give a tenant at least a 30-day written notice to move. The notice must state the date by which the tenant needs to be out of the rental unit. If the tenant does not move out by the end of the 30-day period, then the landlord can file an eviction action against the tenant (see Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.17). Ohio Notice Requirements to Terminate a Month-to-Month Tenancy has more information.

Fixed-Term Tenancy

A landlord must wait until the end of a fixed-term tenancy if the landlord does not have cause to evict a tenant early. In this case, the landlord only needs to give the tenant notice to move if the lease or rental agreement specifically requires it. Otherwise, the landlord can expect the tenant to move by the end of the term, unless the tenant has expressed a desire to renew the lease or rental agreement and stay longer.

Tenant Eviction Defenses

Although a landlord may think an eviction is justified, the tenant may feel differently and decide to fight the eviction. The tenant could have several potential defenses, including the landlord not maintaining the rental unit or discriminating against the tenant. Tenant Defenses to Evictions in Ohio has more information on this topic.

Removal of the Tenant

It is never okay for a landlord to force a tenant to move out of the rental unit. If the tenant does not move out after receiving written notice to move, then the landlord must file an eviction lawsuit with the court. Even if the landlord is successful and wins the lawsuit, only a sheriff or constable is authorized to actually evict the tenant. Illegal Eviction Procedures in Ohio has more information on this topic.

The landlord may find personal property left in the rental unit or on the premises after the tenant moves out of the rental unit. Most states have laws about how the landlord should handle abandoned personal property; however, Ohio does not. This does not mean that the landlord can just dispose of the property, though. The landlord should still take reasonable steps to inform the tenant of the property and give the tenant a reasonable amount of time to claim the property. If the tenant does not claim the property, then the landlord can dispose of it. Handling a Tenant's Abandoned Property in Ohio has more information on this topic.

Rationale for the Rules

Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Ohio law when evicting a tenant. Otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. Although these rules and procedures may seem burdensome to the landlord, they are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, with the end result being that the tenant has lost his or her home. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new place to live.

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