UPDATED: February 13, 2020
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Specific laws and procedures govern the manner in which Ohio landlords may evict tenants. While changing the locks or disconnecting vital services may present itself as the easiest way to get rid of unwanted tenants, such acts are unlawful and carry the possibility of legal penalty. Instead, landlords must go through a multi-step process in order to rid themselves of uncooperative tenants.
Available Ohio Termination Notices
In Ohio, eviction is a multiple-step process beginning with the termination of the tenancy. The only time a landlord does not have to terminate the tenancy is when a tenant remains on the property after the expiration of a lease. In all other cases, a landlord must give a particular type of notice depending on the circumstances before proceeding on to the next step in the process. Please note that evicting a sex offender, student, or mobile home tenant may involve different procedures than those mentioned here.
Landlords must issue one or more of the following termination notices before evicting (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 5321.17):
3-Day Notice: If the tenant violates their obligations, including nonpayment of rent, possession of illegal drugs, or destruction of the landlord's property.
If there is an expiration date for the lease and the tenant has not violated any of their obligations:
7-Day Notice: If rent is paid weekly.
30-Day Notice: If rent is paid monthly. (Landlord may, at their discretion, give tenant 30-Day notice to comply with a lease requirement instead of issuing a 3-Day termination notice.)
In Ohio, evictions are handled at the county court. Find your local county court here. Forms may be downloaded from some county websites. While it may seem easy (simply fill out the form and - magically - your tenant is out), sometimes events do not unfold as smoothly as you had hoped. If you are unsure of the termination and/or eviction process at any point, you may wish to hire or consult an Ohio landlord or tenant attorney. Also see Questions to Ask your Ohio Evictions Lawyer below.
Self-Help Evictions in Ohio
Landlords are not allowed to engage in a wide array of self-help remedies in order to evict a tenant. Landlords are forbidden from interrupting any of the tenant's utility services (even if paid for by the landlord), preventing a tenant from gaining reasonable access to the property, removing the personal property of a tenant, or threatening unlawful actions (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. Section 5321.15). In response to any of these actions, a tenant may sue a landlord for the following:
- Actual and consequential damages;
- Court costs and attorney fees.
Questions to Ask Your Ohio Evictions Lawyer
- How many evictions cases have you handled?
- How many were successful/unsuccessful?
- How long will the eviction process take?
- For tenants: How long do I have before I MUST move out?
- For landlords: Will I be able to get a judgment for back rent for the amount of time the tenant has been living in the rental property illegally?
- What do you charge?
- For landlords: If I hire you, will I be subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?