The Complete Guide on Ohio Landlord Tenant Law 
Just like in every U.S. state, Ohio landlords and tenants encounter a tapestry of local and state rental laws that significantly impact their rights and obligations, as well as the dynamics of the landlord-tenant relationship. Navigating through this complex terrain can be quite a daunting task, even for experienced rental property owners and tenants.
To aid in conquering this challenge, we've developed this comprehensive guide, encompassing vital rental aspects, such as tenant screening, eviction procedures, lease agreements, and more. Whether you're a landlord or a tenant, with this guide, you'll gain a comprehensive understanding of Ohio's laws, as detailed in the Ohio Revised Code Chapter 5321.
Landlords will discover how to safeguard their rental properties and foster positive connections with tenants, while tenants will acquire valuable knowledge needed for asserting their fundamental rights.
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Ohio landlord tenant law fast facts
- Is a rental license required to be a residential landlord? No, not statewide
- Are there any security deposit requirements? Yes
- Is there rent control? No
- Are there limits on late fees? No
- Are there rent payment grace period laws? No
- Are there notice of entry laws? Yes
Ohio landlord responsibilities and rights
Ohio state law provides landlords with rights that let them efficiently run their rental properties protected from legal issues. Landlords have the right to:
- Charge and collect rent payments when due
- Collect security deposits to cover unexpected costs like unpaid rent and damage beyond normal wear and tear
- Pursue legal evictions if the tenant violates the lease agreement
Ohio landlords also have a set of responsibilities to uphold to ensure a safe and smooth tenancy for renters. As landlords, their top priorities include:
- Providing renters with a habitable rental property free of discrimination
- Making repairs within a “reasonable time” (a maximum of 30 days) after receiving written notice from a tenant
- Returning the security deposit to the tenant within 30 days of the lease ending
Ohio tenant responsibilities and rights
Ohio tenants, like landlords, have a set of fundamental rights that protect their well-being and safety while renting a property. Their main rights include:
- The right to habitability; living in a habitable rental property that meets health and safety codes
- Having repairs made in a reasonable time after providing the landlord with written notice
- Taking legal necessary action if the landlord commits a lease violation
Tenants in Ohio have a set of responsibilities too they must uphold while renting. Generally, these duties ensure the property is maintained and the landlord goes financially unharmed. In Ohio, tenants must:
- Pay rent on time
- Keep the unit in safe and sanitary condition, including cleaning plumbing fixtures properly
- Make small repairs as necessary
- Not disturb other renters or neighbours
- Not purposefully destroy or damage any part of the rental unit
- Comply with state and local housing, health, and safety codes
- Maintain major appliances provided by the landlord
- Keep the property free of trash and the property clean
Ohio landlord tenant laws through the rental cycle
Ohio tenant screening and rental application laws
Ohio state law has few statutes governing the tenant screening and rental application process. However, the state does not limit rental application fees and do not require them to be refundable. On the rental application, landlords may ask any questions as long as these inquiries do not lead to housing discrimination.
Ohio landlords are allowed to run any background check, like credit report or rental history, but only after obtaining the tenant’s written consent.
Ohio rental agreement and lease termination laws
Both written and oral agreements are accepted in Ohio. However, if the lease is for 12 months or longer, it must be in writing. It’s always advised to document the rental agreement as it outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant.
Ohio residential landlords are required to include their name and address in the lease, and if applicable, their agent. No other specific clauses or information are required to be in the lease agreement, however, there is certain information landlords should always include in a lease. Learn what you should include in your rental agreement today.
To terminate a lease, a landlord must provide a 30-day notice for month-to-month and a 7-day notice is required for weekly leases.
Ohio tenants can also terminate a rental agreement early for the following legal reasons:
- Active military duty
- Early termination clause
- Landlord harassment
- Uninhabitable unit
Ohio security deposit laws
Like landlords in other states, Ohio landlords are allowed to collect a security deposit at the start of the lease period to cover unexpected issues. But unlike most other states, there is no limit on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.
In regards to the security deposit, Ohio landlords must:
- Pay interest on security deposits over $50 or one month’s rent after holding it for six months
- Return the tenant’s security deposit within 30 days of the end of the lease
Landlords are allowed to make deductions from the security deposit for reasons including property damage beyond normal wear and tear, costs due to breaching the lease, cleaning costs, and unpaid rent and late fees.
If the landlord fails to comply with the notice period or wrongfully withholds funds, tenants can sue for twice the amount wrongfully withheld plus attorneys fees.
Ohio rent laws
Ohio state does not have rent control laws and prohibits its cities and states from creating their own laws. This allows residential landlords to charge any amount of rent they wish and increase rent as long as it’s not during the lease period, unless the lease allows for it.
Ohio does not specify how much notice a landlord needs to give a tenant before raising rent. The two parties can agree on a reasonable notice period for a rent increase in the rental agreement.
If Ohio renters fail to pay rent on time, landlords are not required to provide a grace period before instating a late fee. There are no statues limiting how much a landlord can charge for a late fee. However, the fee must be reasonable.
While Ohio tenants cannot withhold rent, they can deposit a full rent payment into a separate rent escrow account with the clerk of the municipal or county court.
Ohio repair and maintenance laws
In Ohio, a landlord must make repairs within a “reasonable amount” of time after receiving written notice from tenants–with 30 days being the absolute maximum time allowed.
If the landlord fails to make repairs within a timely manner, Ohio tenants can take several legal actions: sue for costs, cancel the renal agreement, or withhold rent in an escrow account with the clerk of the court.
Ohio notice of entry laws
Ohio landlords have the right to enter their rental unit for maintenance, inspections, showings, and the delivery of oversized packages. They are required to provide at least 24 hours of notice before entry. In the case of emergencies, no notice period is required.
Ohio eviction laws
Ohio landlords can evict tenants for a handful of legal reasons. Each of the reasons requires a certain notice period before the eviction process can start. Here are the reasons and associated notice periods:
- Nonpayment of rent: If the tenant fails to pay rent when due, the landlord may issue a 3-day notice to pay. If the tenant still does not pay, the landlord can move forward with the eviction.
- Lease violation: If the tenant violates the lease, the landlord may issue a 3-day notice to quit. After that period, the landlord can proceed with the eviction.
- Illegal acts: If the tenant is found committing illegal acts on the property, including drug activity, the landlord may issue a 3-day notice to quit.
- Health or safety violation: Landlords can issue a 30-day notice to comply to tenants who violate health, safety, or building and housing codes.
- No lease/end of lease: If the tenant holds over or stays past the end of the tenancy, the landlord can issue a notice to quit. The notice period depends on the type of tenancy. Month-to-month leases require a 30-day notice to quit, and week-to-week leases require a 7-day notice to quit.
Additional Ohio landlord tenant laws
In addition to addressing aspects of the rental process like repairs and evictions, Ohio law also has statutes covering issues like landlord retaliation and housing discrimination. We cover a few of those topics in detail below.
Both federal and state laws protect Ohio renters from housing discrimination. The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating against renters based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. Ohio state law further protects renters from discrimination based on military status..
If a landlord violates housing discrimination laws, tenants can seek legal help and file a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
It’s illegal for Ohio rental owners to retaliate against tenants for taking certain legal actions like reporting landlords to government authorities for health and safety violations. Raised rent, threatened eviction, and reduced services are all considered forms of retaliation. When accusing a landlord of retaliation, tenants are required to provide evidence of the landlord’s actions.
Ohio residential landlords are required to provide tenants with several disclosures at the start of a lease period. Those disclosures include:
- Lead-based paint: Landlords who own rental units built before 1978 must provide information about lead paint concentrations in the building.
Authorized agent: Landlords must provide the names and addresses of all parties involved in owning and managing the property.
Summing up: Understanding landlord tenant laws in Ohio
Ohio's rental laws were carefully crafted to establish a transparent framework outlining the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. These laws primarily aim to ensure a just rental process, but they also help to ensure a healthy landlord-tenant relationship.
By understanding and abiding by these laws, landlords can safeguard their real estate investments and work to create positive interactions with their tenants, while tenants can assert their legal rights when necessary. Now and into the future, landlords and renters should do their due diligence educating themselves on Ohio’s rental laws.
Landlords, do you need help with rent collection or lease agreements? Tenants, are you looking for a credit boost or renter insurance? Whatever you need, Azibo’s got you covered. Learn more about our free rental software today!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. This content may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. No reader, user, or browser of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information herein without first seeking the advice of a legal professional.