An Ohio eviction notice is a written document that is used by the landlord and the tenant. The landlord (or their agent) creates the eviction notice, better known as a notice to quit, to put the tenant on notice that they’ve not held up their obligations that are listed in the rental or lease agreement. The tenant is given a certain amount of time to correct the lease violation or vacate the rental property. The eviction notice is step one of the eviction process. The landlord or property manager cannot file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant without an eviction notice first being served and not followed. All Ohio eviction notices must comply with state law.
An Ohio eviction notice plays an important part in the eviction process. It notifies the tenant that there’s an issue. It also acts as proof that the landlord informed the tenant as a problem and gave the proper amount of time for the problem to be corrected. That proof is important since a lawsuit for eviction can’t be filed against the tenant without an eviction notice first being served. Since the eviction notice is so important, it should contain enough information to document the reason it was created and to act as an informational document for the tenant. It should include:
A Certificate of Service should be completed when the eviction notice is served. This document has its own components:
Service is an essential part of the eviction notice process. In Ohio, service must be done in person or the notice may be sent via certified mail with return receipt requested. A copy of the notice must also be posted on the property. Generally, the front door is the best place for this.
3-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment of Rent
A 3-day notice to quit for non-payment of rent informs the tenant that they did not pay their rent on time. It should list the total amount past due, the amount of time they have to remedy the situation, how rent should be paid, and where it can be paid. Under § 1923.02 and § 1923.04, landlords cannot file an eviction lawsuit until the three days has passed and the tenant hasn’t paid the past due rent or vacated the property.
3-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance
A 3-day notice to quit for non-compliance may also be titled a 3-day notice to comply or cure. It tells the tenant they’ve violated the lease in some way and that they have three days to comply with the lease (or cure the violation) or vacate the property. The notice should include a clear description of how the lease was violated. Under § 1923.02 and § 1923.04, the tenant has three days to correct the violation or vacate the property.
30-Day Notice to Quit for a Health or Safety Hazard
If the tenant creates a health and safety hazard on the property, § 5321.11 states that the landlord may issue a 30-day notice to quit for a health or safety hazard. The tenant is given 30 days to fix the issue or leave the property. However, if the tenant doesn’t comply and the landlord files a lawsuit after that 30 day period, they may also be required to give an additional 3 day notice for non-compliance depending on the location of the property.
30-Day Notice to Terminate a Month-to-Month Tenancy
A 30-day notice to terminate a month-to-month tenancy can be used by either a landlord or a tenant. So, it’s not exactly the same thing as an eviction notice. It informs the recipient that the month-to-month rental agreement will not be renewed and that the property will be vacated in 30 days. It should list the date that the property should be returned to the care and custody of the landlord. This notice is governed by § 5321.17.
Ohio has very specific laws related to eviction. All eviction notices must comply with the laws in the state. An eviction notice must be legally served and the landlord must wait through the notice period to see whether the tenant will comply. If the tenant does not comply, the landlord may then file a lawsuit against the tenant.
Unless and until the landlord gets a court order, they may not install new locks, have the utilities disconnected, or remove the belongings of the tenant. Doing so without a court order is against the law. It is an illegal form of eviction known as “self-help.” Illegal eviction can give the tenant the legal right to sue the landlord.
It is also illegal for the landlord to evict the tenant for reporting the property to the housing authorities for uninhabitable conditions or for code violations. Landlords also may not violate the Fair Housing Act and evict someone because of their skin color, race, disability, gender, country of origin, religious preferences, or family status.
Even during the eviction process, tenants have rights. You may not be evicted for any of the seven protected reasons listed under the previous section. You may not be evicted because you report code violations or uninhabitable conditions on the property. The landlord may not file a lawsuit against you unless you fail to comply with the eviction notice. Unless they have a court order, the landlord may not lock you out, disconnect the utilities, or remove your property.
If you receive an eviction notice, make sure that you take the time to read it and understand what you need to do. If you have questions about it, you can contact the landlord.
If you think that you’re the subject of an illegal eviction or that your rights as a tenant are being violated, you should talk with a landlord-tenant lawyer. You may have legal rights that you can exercise. You can also contact a law school near you and ask if they have an active legal clinic. Legal clinics provide free or affordable legal help to the public. You can also contact Ohio legal aid. They have resources for tenants. If you meet their financial guidelines, you may be able to receive low-cost or free legal help.
Ohio landlords must be careful to follow the law for the eviction process. The tenant must be legally served. The landlord must wait through the notice period to see whether or not the tenant will comply. If they do not comply, the landlord may, at that time, file a lawsuit against the tenant.
Landlords may not deny access to the property without a court order. They also cannot remove the belongings of the tenant without a court order. Landlords may not discriminate against tenants by evicting them. They may not evict the tenant because code violations were reported.
If you’re a landlord and you’d like to learn more about the eviction process or your rights or obligations, make an appointment with a landlord-tenant attorney in the county where your rental property is located.