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A Guide to the Eviction Process in Cincinnati, Ohio

a guide to the eviction process in cincinnati ohio

As a landlord in Ohio, state law grants you the right to evict a tenant under certain situations. Under the Ohio eviction laws, such situations include failure to make rent when it falls due, and violation of the lease agreement, and can end in an eviction hearing.

When evicting the tenant for such reasons, a landlord must carefully follow the state’s laws. Under no circumstances must landlords resort to “self-help” methods, such as locking the tenant out or removing their belongings from the unit. If you’re unsure about how to properly evict a tenant, seek legal assistance.

Additionally, you must have a legal reason to evict the tenant. The eviction in Ohio must not be due to the tenant’s protected class or arise out of retaliation. The process will not only fail, but you may also find yourself behind the defense stand in court under Ohio eviction laws.

Luckily for you, today’s blog will help you familiarize yourself with Ohio eviction laws. And resultantly, you will better understand your rights and responsibilities, especially when it comes to tenant eviction under Ohio law and preventing an eviction complaint.

What is the Eviction Process in Ohio?

Ohio landlord-tenant law has a defined process that landlords must follow when evicting tenants. To begin the eviction process, a landlord must first have a legal reason. This will help landlords know which specific route they must follow to evict the tenant from the rental unit, including possibly an Ohio eviction hearing.

The following are all the legal reasons for tenant eviction in Ohio that a landlord should know even before they seek legal assistance.

person holding a moving box
  • Failing to pay their rent when it is due
  • Failing tenant to vacate the unit after the lease or rental agreement is over and the deposit is returned
  • Failing tenant to abide by the terms of the lease agreement
  • Violating the health and/or safety codes required to make the unit livable
  • Engaging in criminal or illegal activity while at the rented premises

These are the only legitimate reasons for tenant eviction in Ohio under the Ohio eviction laws. In the next section, we’ll go over the exact step-by-step process landlords must follow to evict the tenant for each of the aforementioned reasons.

Notice for Lease Termination with Legal Cause

Once a landlord has either of the legitimate reasons aforementioned, they must immediately terminate the lease. To do so, you’ll need to serve the tenant with an appropriate eviction notice.

  • 3-Day Notice to Quit. A landlord must use this Ohio eviction notice when trying to evict a tenant who fails to make rental payments when it’s due. This will give the tenant only 3 days to clear their rent balance, failure to which a landlord may proceed with their eviction.
  • 30-Day Notice to Vacate. Landlords will need to use this notice when trying to evict a holdover tenant. This is a tenant who has failed to move out after their lease or rental agreement has expired.

A landlord can also use this type of notice to evict a tenant on a month-to-month lease. This will give the tenant a maximum of 30 days to move out.

  • 3-Day Notice to Vacate. This is the notice a landlord must use to evict a tenant who has failed to comply with the terms of the lease. This will give the tenant up to 3 judicial days to fix the issue or move out.
  • 30-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate. Has the tenant violated a health or safety code? If so, to start the legal eviction process in Ohio against them, a landlord must issue them with this notice. This will give them up to 30 days to fix the issue or move out.
person inspecting a kitchen drawer
  • 3-Day Notice to Vacate. Ohio requires landlords to issue this notice to tenants who have engaged in criminal activity while at their rented premises. This will give the tenant up to 3 judicial days to move out. The tenant doesn’t get the option to remedy the violation. Some examples of this type of unforgivable lease violation can be things such as illegal drug activity.

After you’ve issued the proper notice to a tenant, you must wait for the notice period to end before taking further action. This way, if a tenant remedies the issue, like paying rent, the matter is settled.

Tenant Eviction Defenses in Ohio

The next process involves filing an eviction lawsuit in court. This usually costs $123. After a successful notarization by the county clerk, a court date will be scheduled for eviction action to be taken.

The tenant will then have an opportunity to file an answer with the court. This will be the tenant’s opportunity to contest their eviction from the rental unit. If the tenant chooses to contest their eviction, they will need to file their answer with the court within 28 days of receiving the copy of the complaint.

Under Ohio eviction laws, the following are some acceptable defenses a tenant may give in court to stop their eviction action.

gavel on a desk
  • The eviction is retaliatory or based on the tenant’s protected class
  • The landlord used illegal eviction means
  • The landlord used the wrong Ohio written notice to terminate the lease
  • The landlord did not wait for the written notice period in the Ohio eviction notice to end before filing an eviction lawsuit in court
  • The landlord failed to maintain the unit to the required habitability standards required by Ohio state laws

If the court establishes that any of these defenses is true, the eviction process may be dismissed. If a tenant violates the lease, they’ll be at fault. Landlords will then need to start all over again if they don’t follow the due process. For instance, if the eviction notice contained errors.

But regardless of whether the tenant fights the eviction or not, the eviction hearing will be held within thirty days of the tenant receiving the court papers.

Attending Court: the eviction Hearing

To maximize your chances of a victory, make sure to carry as much evidence as possible. This can include the lease agreement itself, the eviction notice, and any witnesses.

If the ruling is made in your favor, as the landlord, you will be issued with a Writ of Execution. This will give the tenant only 10 days to move out of the unit, failure to which a law enforcement officer will forcefully remove them.

Bottom Line

As a landlord, you must be careful not to violate Ohio laws when evicting a tenant from your rental unit. The process will not only fail, but you may also risk certain legal- and financial penalties. Not to mention the severe damage your reputation may suffer.

If you need help with the management of your rental unit, then look no further than EquityTeam. We’re an experienced, reliable, and professional full-service management company. Get in touch to get started!

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