This is a summary of Ohio Landlord-Tenant laws that apply to residential (non-commercial) rentals. These references were compiled from the Ohio Revised Code and various online sources to serve as a reference and for people wanting to learn about Ohio landlord-tenant laws, Ohio eviction laws, and Ohio renters’ rights.
However, this guide is not comprehensive and PayRent does not warrant the accuracy of this information. Statutes can change any time the state legislature passes a new law. Additionally, counties and cities may have different regulations. Given its limitations, this guide is not an adequate substitute for legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer. If you are dealing with a landlord-tenant issue, you seek guidance from a qualified attorney. If you need help finding an attorney, we’ve included a list of attorney referral services in this guide.
Rules and Regulations Governing Ohio Landlord-Tenant Laws
- Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.01 – 5321.19 – Landlords and Tenants
- Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5323.01 – 5323.99 – Residential Rental Property
Ohio Lease Terms Provisions
- What is the maximum allowable security deposit?
There is no Ohio law limiting security deposits.
- Are security deposits required to earn interest?
For leases longer than six months, security deposits over $50 are required to earn 5% interest annually. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.16)
- Do landlords need to store security deposits in a separate bank account?
No. There is no Ohio law requiring security deposits to be stored in a separate bank account.
- Are non-refundable fees, such as pet fees, prohibited?
No. There is no Ohio law forbidding non-refundable fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.
- How long do landlords have to return security deposits?
30 days. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.16(B))
- Can landlords withhold security deposits?
Yes. Landlords can use the deposit to cover accrued rent and to repair any damages to the property caused by tenants’ failures to comply with their duties.
- Are landlords required to itemize damages and fees deducted from security deposits?
Yes. An itemized list, detailing the amount withheld and the reasons for withholding, must be delivered to the tenant within 30 days of termination. The tenant shall provide the landlord in writing with a forwarding address or new address to which the written notice and amount due from the landlord may be sent. If the tenant fails to provide the landlord with the forwarding or new address, the tenant shall not be entitled to damages or attorney’s fees. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.16(B))
- Do landlords have to issue receipts upon receiving security deposits?
No. There is no Ohio law requiring landlords to issue receipts for security deposits.
- Are there any specific requirements for record-keeping for deposit withholdings?
No. There is no Ohio law specifying record-keeping requirements.
- What happens when a landlord does not return a security deposit within the required timeframe?
The tenant may recover the property and money due him/her, together with the damages in an amount equal to the amount wrongfully withheld, and reasonable attorneys fees, if deposit refund and/or accounting is not returned within the required time frame. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.16(C))
- Is there a cap on how much landlords can charge for rent? (rent control)
No. There are no rent control laws in Ohio.
- When is rent due?
Rent is due as called for in the lease.
- Does rent need to be paid using a certain method of payment?
No. There is no Ohio law requiring a certain payment method for rent.
- Can landlords charge late fees when rent is late?
Yes. There is no Ohio law forbidding late fees, and case law allowing limited late fees if the fee is specified in the lease.
- Do landlords have to allow for a grace period for paying rent before charging late fees?
No. There is no Ohio law requiring a grace period before assessing late fees.
- Can landlords charge application fees?
Yes. There is no Ohio law forbidding application fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.
- Can landlords charge returned check fees?
Yes. Landlords can charge a late fee up to the greater of $30 or 10 percent of the check. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 1319.16)
Ohio Landlord-Tenant Relations
- Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms?
No. There is no Ohio law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms.
- Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the property?
No. There is no Ohio law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the rental property.
- What notice is required to terminate a fixed-end lease?
No notice is required — the lease ends on the date stated in the lease.
- What notice is required to terminate a week-to-week periodic tenancy?
Either the landlord or the tenant can terminate the tenancy with 7 days notice. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.17(A))
- What notice is required to terminate a month-to-month periodic tenancy?
Either the landlord or the tenant can terminate the tenancy with 30 days notice. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.17(B))
- Is notice of the date and time of the move out inspection required?
There is no statute in Ohio law covering this issue.
- When can landlords enter the rental premises with notice?
- Ohio does not have a statute defining the conditions under which a landlord can enter with notice, other than proscribing they enter at only reasonable times. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.04(A)(8))
- What notice must a landlord give a tenant before entering the rental unit?
The landlord must provide reasonable notice to the tenant, and twenty-four hours is presumed to be reasonable notice. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.04(A)(8))
- When can landlords enter the rental premises without providing notice to their tenants?
- Only in case of emergency or it providing notice is impracticable. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.04(A)(8))
Landlord’s Duties (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.04(A)(1-6))
- Landlords must comply with the requirements of all applicable building, housing, health, and safety codes that materially affect health and safety.
- Make all repairs and do whatever is reasonably necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition.
- Keep all common areas of the premises in a safe and sanitary condition.
- Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning fixtures and appliances, and elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord.
- When the landlord is a party to any rental agreements that cover four or more dwelling units in the same structure, provide and maintain appropriate receptacles for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of a dwelling unit, and arrange for their removal.
- Supply running water, reasonable amounts of hot water, and reasonable heat at all times, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose, or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.04(A)(1-6))
Tenant’s Duties (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.05(A)-(B))
- A tenant shall keep that part of the premises that he occupies and uses safe and sanitary.
- Dispose of all rubbish, garbage, and other waste in a clean, safe, and sanitary manner.
- Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by him as clean as their condition permits.
- Use and operate all electrical and plumbing fixtures properly;
- Comply with the requirements imposed on tenants by all applicable state and local housing, health, and safety codes.
- Personally refrain and forbid any other person who is on the premises with his permission from intentionally or negligently destroying, defacing, damaging, or removing any fixture, appliance, or other part of the premises.
- Maintain in good working order and condition any range, refrigerator, washer, dryer, dishwasher, or other appliances supplied by the landlord and required to be maintained by the tenant under the terms and conditions of a written rental agreement.
- Conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with his consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb his neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
- Conduct himself, and require persons in his household and persons on the premises with his consent to conduct themselves, in connection with the premises so as not to violate the prohibitions contained in Chapters 2925. and 3719. of the Revised Code, or in municipal ordinances that are substantially similar to any section in either of those chapters, which relate to controlled substances.
- The tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent for the landlord to enter into the dwelling unit in order to inspect the premises, make ordinary, necessary, or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements, deliver parcels that are too large for the tenant’s mail facilities, supply necessary or agreed services, or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen, or contractors. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.05(A)-(B))
Required Landlord Disclosures
- Landlords are required to disclose in writing the names and business addresses of:
- the owner and the owner’s agent to
- The tenant
- County Auditor of the county in which the property is located.(Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.18, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5323.02).
- the owner and the owner’s agent to
- Before renting pre-1978 property, landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards. (16 CFR 1303, 42 U.S. Code § 4852d) . If the landlord fails to disclose all known lead paint hazards, the landlord can face fines of up to $19,507 for each violation (24 CFR 30.65).
Ohio Renters’ Rights
- What are Ohio renters’ rights if landlords breach their duties? (See Landlord’s Duties)
A tenant has to notify the landlord in writing that the landlord has failed to uphold any of their duties. A landlord that abuses or makes unlawful entry into the premises can be taken to court to recover actual damages, injunctive relief, or to terminate the rental agreement. Attorney’s fees may be recovered for these actions. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.04(B))
- Are tenants allowed to withhold rent for needed repairs or other breaches of their landlords’ duties?
Yes. After providing written notice and allowing the shorter of either a reasonable time to make repairs or 30 days, the tenant can deposit rent with the clerk of courts maintaining jurisdiction of the premises. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.07)
- What are the protections for tenants against retaliation from their landlords for exercising their Ohio renter’s rights?
Ohio law prohibits landlords from increasing rent, decreasing services, or bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession if the tenant has complained to a governmental agency, complained to the landlord about a breach of landlord’s duties, or if the tenant becomes a member of a tenant’s union or similar organization. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.02)
Ohio Eviction Laws
- What are the reasons that landlords can evict tenants under Ohio eviction laws?
- Nonpayment of rent
- Violation of lease terms / rental agreement
- A breach in the tenant’s duties materially affecting health and safety
- Illegal drug activity or registered sex offenders when the unit is located within 1,000 feet of a school, pre-school, or child-care center
- The tenant remains in possession without the landlord’s consent after expiration or termination of the term of the rental agreement (holdover tenancy). (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 1923.02)
- What notice do Ohio eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
For evictions based on a health and safety violation, the landlord must provide 30 days’ notice to remedy the breach before starting the eviction process. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.11)
For all other evictions, landlords must provide three days’ written notice. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 1923.02)
- Do Ohio eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities?
No. If a landlord evicts a tenant using self-help methods, the tenant can recover reasonable attorney’s fees in any action for damages stemming from the prohibited eviction. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.15)
- Are landlords permitted to recover damages from an evicted tenant?
Yes. The landlord can also recover reasonable attorney’s fees. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.05)
COVID-19 Changes to Ohio Landlord-Tenant Laws
- The CDC’s national eviction ban was effective through August 26, 2021, and is no longer in place.
- The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is no longer effective.
- Ohio Home Relief Grant provides help for landlords and tenants.
- Ohio Public Utilities Commission provides assistance with utility bills.
Squatter’s rights in Ohio
Under Homestead Act of 1862, individuals (squatters) can possess the property if they have lived there for a specific period of time, done so publicly, made repairs to the property, have deed to the property and have paid rent or taxes on this property.
Ohio has no specific laws recognizing squatters.
The squatter must possess the property for 21 years to claim adverse possession (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2305.04).
- The Supreme Court of Ohio and the Ohio Judicial System
- Ohio Attorney General
- Ohio Department of Insurance
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Ohio
- Ohio Department Of Commerce – Real Estate Licensing
- Ohio Legal Services
- Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
- Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati
- Legal Aid Society of Columbus
Attorney Referral Services
Realtor and Landlord-Tenant Associations
- Ohio Association of Realtors
- Columbus Realtors
- Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors
- Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors
- Toledo Board of Realtors
- Dayton Area Board of Realtors
- Ohio Landlord Association
- Columbus Apartment Association
- Northeast Ohio Apartment Association
- Greater Dayton Apartment Association
- Mahoning Valley Real Estate Investment Association
- Akron Canton Real Estate Investors Association
- Real Estate Investors Association of Greater Cincinnati