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State Landlord-Tenant Laws For Ohio


The Overview

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  • Not required but highly recommended.
  • No maximum.
  • Must be returned within 30 days of the tenant moving out. (§§ 5321.16(B))
  • Not required but highly recommended.
  • No maximum.
  • Must be returned within 30 days of the tenant moving out. (§§ 5321.16(B))

  • Written rental agreement not required but highly recommended for all tenancies.
  • Written rental agreement not required but highly recommended for all tenancies.


  • Required to provide at least 24 hours notice before entering the property.
  • The above rule is waived in the case of emergencies.
  • Required to provide at least 24 hours notice before entering the property.
  • The above rule is waived in the case of emergencies.




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1. Ohio Laws on Deposits

OH Rev Code § 5321.16,  OH Rev Code § 5321.08

About Ohio Security Deposit Laws

While landlords in Ohio are not required by law to collect a security deposit, it is generally considered best practice to do so. That being said, if as a landlord you do decide to collect a security deposit, there are a few things you need to know. For example, it’s important to know how to treat the deposit, how to securely store it, and what you can use the deposit to cover.

Ohio Security Deposit Laws Quick Overview:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No statute
  • Security Deposit Interest: If the tenancy is longer than six months, then 5% interest per annum is required to be paid to the tenant each year on the amount of any deposit that exceeds $50 or one month’s rent, whichever is greater. (§§ 5321.16)
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No statute
  • Pet Deposits: No statute
  • Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days from move-out (§§ 5321.16(B))
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit: Payment of past due rent, payment for damages due to tenant’s noncompliance with either the rental agreement or statutory Tenant Obligations. (§§ 5321.16(B))
  • Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (§§ 5321.16(B))
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute
  • Receipt of Deposit: No statute
  • Failure to Comply: If landlord fails to provide an itemized list of damages, the tenant may sue to recover the money withheld along with damages equal to the amount wrongfully withheld, and reasonable attorney fees. (§§ 5321.16(C))

Are Security Deposits Required in Ohio?

Landlords are not required to collect a security deposit from tenants in Ohio. However, it is best practice for landlords to collect one in order to best protect themselves and their rentals from potential damages or missed rent payments.

What is the Maximum Security Deposit Amount?

There is no maximum security deposit in Ohio. Generally, a security deposit is equal to one month’s rent. Too high and you will put off prospective tenants, too low and you may not cover potential costs, should you need to use the security deposit.

What Can Security Deposits be Used for in Ohio?

In Ohio, landlords can use the security deposit to reclaim losses from either damage to the property or missed rent payments.

How do Landlords Have to Treat Security Deposits if They Collect Them?

Landlords can commingle the security deposit with the rest of their assets. However, keeping it separate will likely make it easier to manage and track.

Should landlords collect a deposit and it is equal to or greater than either $50 or one month’s rent – whichever is lower – it must be placed in an interest-bearing account. The account must earn 5% interest per year, and the landlord must compute the interest and pay it to the tenant yearly. 

Landlords do not need to give tenants a receipt for the security deposit. However, it is generally considered best practice to do so as it removes any room for confusion. If a landlord does not want to provide a tenant with a receipt, they could include a clause in the lease addressing the security deposit.

When Must Landlords Return a Security Deposit in Ohio?

Landlords have 30 days from the date the tenant moves out to return the deposit to the tenant. The deposit may be withheld for unpaid rent, damage to the rental unit, and breaking the lease. If the landlord withholds any portion of the deposit, he or she must send a written statement containing an itemized list of the damage to the apartment that was charged to the tenant’s deposit.

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2. Ohio Rental Agreement Laws

OH Rev Code § 5321.18, OH Rev Code § 5321.06

  • Written Rental Agreement Required: No statute
  • Rent Is Due: As stated in the lease
  • Rent Increase Notice: No statute
  • Rent Grace Period: No statute
  • Late Fees: No statute, but case law allows limited late fees if specified in the lease  (Ohiolandlordtenant.com)
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute
  • Returned Check Fees: No more than $30 or 10% of the check amount, whichever is greater. (§§ 1319.16)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: No statute
  • Abandonment/Early Termination Fee: No statute

Rental Agreement Laws in Ohio

Landlords may create either written or oral rental agreements. However, we highly recommend the use of written leases; it is the only way to ensure both parties know the terms of the agreement.

A written lease must include the name and address of the owner or the owner’s agent. If the owner of the building is a company, then the company’s name and address of the principal place of business must be in the lease. If the lease is oral, the landlord must send the tenant a written note that includes the information required. A written lease should address topics in the graphic below.

Are Rental Agreements Required in Ohio?

There is no statute regarding whether rental agreements are required. However, it is generally considered best practice to have a detailed and legally binding rental agreement for all of your tenancies. This helps prevent potential conflicts and ensure tenants pay their rent on time and in full.

Prohibited Provisions

Landlords cannot include the following provisions in rental agreements:

  • A waiver of the tenant’s right to go to court for any debts that the landlord alleges the tenant owes
  • The tenant agrees to pay the landlord’s attorney’s fees for any dispute between the landlord and tenant arising from the rental agreement
  • A blanket waiver of the landlord’s potential liability
  • A waiver of the landlord’s duty to keep the apartment in a safe and sanitary condition

Lease, Rent & Fees

Rent Grace Period & Late Fees

There are no statutory grace periods in Ohio. Therefore, landlords may charge late fees the day after rent is due. However, landlords must be cautious if they plan to include late fees in their leases because courts are reluctant to enforce late fees if they are deemed to be unreasonable.

Rent Collection Law in Ohio

Landlords may accept payment for rent in any form they would like. Although it is not required, we recommend giving the tenant a receipt for payment. Both parties benefit from a record of this transaction.

Renewing the Rental Agreement

Fixed Term Lease

For fixed term leases, such as a lease for 12 months, the rental agreement is assumed to terminate at the end of the term stated in the lease. The landlord and tenant may include a provision that automatically renews the lease at the end of the rental term unless otherwise stated.

Periodic Lease

For month-to-month and week-to-week leases, the rental agreement automatically renews at the end of the lease term unless the landlord or tenant tells the other that they would like to terminate the lease. For a month-to-month lease, the landlord or tenant must provide the other party a month’s notice before termination. Before terminating a week-to-week lease, the landlord or tenant must provide seven days notice to the other party.

RelatedLease Renewal and Non-Renewal of Lease Free Templates

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3. Ohio Laws on Repairs: Tenant Rights and Landlord Duties

Landlord Duties and Responsibilities in Ohio

It is the landlord’s duty in Ohio to ensure that the property is properly maintained and stays in a fit and habitable condition. This means undertaking necessary repairs and maintenance promptly. It also means landlords have a responsibility and duty to:

  • Ensure the property has running water, including a reasonable amount of hot water,
  • Ensure the property has reasonable heating
  • Keep all the utilities such as electricity, plumbing, sanitary, ventilating, appliances, heating, etc. safe and in good working order.

Additionally, landlords are required to ensure the property is safe with all external swinging doors fitted with a deadbolt lock.

Tenant Remedies and Rights

OH Rev Code § 5321.11 

According to Ohio Revised Code section 5321.07, if the landlord fails to fulfill their obligations, the tenant may give notice in writing to the landlord, identifying what duty the landlord has failed to fulfill. The notice shall be sent wherever the rent is normally paid.

If a landlord does not fix the condition within a reasonable time, or within thirty days, whichever is sooner, and if the tenant is current with their rent payments, the tenant can do one of three things which include:

  • Deposit rent and all future rent payments with the clerk of the appropriate court;
  • Request that the court issue an order directing the landlord to fix the problem.
  • When making this request, the tenant may deposit rent with the clerk of court and can also request an order from the court to reduce the rent due to the landlord until the landlord fixes the condition.
  • Request that the court allows the rent deposited to the clerk to be used to fix the condition. With orders issued pursuant to this division, the court may require the tenant to deposit rent with the clerk of court;
  • Terminate the rental agreement.

Ohio Revised Code section 5321.07 does not apply to a landlord who is a party to rental agreements that cover three or fewer premises and provides notice of that fact in a written rental agreement or, in the case of an oral tenancy, delivers written notice of that fact to the tenant at the time of initial occupancy by the tenant or to premises occupied by a student tenant.

Claiming Repairs From The Security Deposit

Should the landlord fail to give an itemized receipt of the damages at the end of the tenancy and still attempt to deduct an amount from the deposit, the tenant may sue to recover the money withheld along with damages equal to the amount wrongfully withheld, and reasonable attorney fees. (§§ 5321.16(C))

Tenant’s Duties and Obligations in Ohio 

OH Rev Code §5321.05

Ohio Revised Code section 5321.05 sets forth the obligations to which the tenant must abide by and include:

  1. Keep the property safe and sanitary;
  2. Dispose of garbage and/or waste in the proper manner;
  3. Keep the plumbing fixtures as clean as fixtures condition permits;
  4. Properly use all electrical and plumbing fixtures;
  5. Obey state and local housing, health, and safety codes;
  6. Refrain from conduct that will cause damage to the property and refrain guests from conduct which will cause damage to the property;
  7. Maintain appliances supplied by the landlord to the tenant in good working order;
  8. Behave and make sure that guests on the property behave in a manner that will not disturb neighbors;
  9. Comply with drug laws and make sure that guests comply with the drug laws with regard to the property;

The tenant cannot deny the landlord entry if reasonable purpose and/or notice is provided by the landlord.

If the tenant does not perform these duties, the landlord pursuant to 5321.11 may terminate the rental agreement by delivering written notice to the tenant identifying the specific conduct that constitutes noncompliance with the tenant’s duties.

The written notice must also state the date on which the rental agreement will terminate. This date cannot be less than thirty days after providing the tenant with the notice. If the tenant does not fix the conduct identified by the landlord in the written notice, then the rental agreement will terminate as indicated in the notice.

Landlord Obligations

OH Rev Code §5321.04 

  • Compliance: Comply with all applicable building, housing, health, and safety codes;
  • Repairs: Make all repairs and take all reasonable action to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
  • Common Areas: Keep all common areas of the premises safe and sanitary;
  • Maintenance: Maintain in safe, working order all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning fixtures and appliances, and elevators
  • Trash: For rental agreements that cover four or more units in the building, provide and maintain “appropriate receptacles” for the removal of normal garbage and waste and arrange for its removal. 
  • Water and Heat: Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat between October 1 and May 1. This duty does not apply in cases where the unit is not required by law to be so equipped, or if the unit is supplied with heat or hot water by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection.
  • Landlord Access: Landlord must not abuse the right of access conferred by statute for inspection, repair or improvements or other reasons defined in Tenant Obligations to not withhold access to the premises. 
  • Prompt Eviction: Landlord has an obligation to promptly start an eviction if they have actual knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that the tenant, any person in the tenant’s household, or any person on the premises with tenant’s consent has been or is currently engaged in drug violations on the premises as defined in §§ 1923.02(A)(6)(a)(i), §§ 2925 and §§ 3719.
  • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act: Comply with the rights of tenants under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 117 Stat. 2835, 50 U.S.C. App. 501.

Related: 10 Maintenance Jobs Landlords Can Do Themselves

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4. Ohio Notices, Entry, and Evictions

Notices and Entry Summary:

  • Required Notice before Entry: Reasonable notice required, with 24 hours being presumed to be reasonable, and entry only allowed at reasonable times. (§§ 5321.04)
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes (§§ 5321.05(B))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes (§§ 5321.05(B))
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Reasonable notice is not required in cases of emergency. (§§ 5321.04(8))
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (§§ 5321.15)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (§§ 5321.15)

About Notice of Entry Laws in Ohio

In Ohio landlords may enter the property for any of the following reasons:

  • Inspect the property
  • Make repairs, improvement, or alterations
  • Show the property to prospective tenants, buyers, workers or contractors.

However, just because the landlord has the right to enter the property for these reasons does not mean they can simply turn up. Landlords must give reasonable notice before entry.

Reasonable notice is presumed to be at least 24 hours but as a rule, more notice is preferred. Additionally, entry is only allowed at reasonable times.

So long as the landlord has provided reasonable notice tenants cannot unreasonably deny the landlord access to the property.

Create Your Evcition Notice

Ohio Laws on Eviction

OH Rev Code § 5321.17

Summary

  • Notice of Termination for Nonpayment: Three-day written notice (§§ 1923.02) and (§§ 1923.04(A))
  • Termination for Lease Violation: Three-day written notice (§§ 1923.02(A)(9)) and (§§ 1923.04(A))
  • Termination for Failure to Fulfill Tenant Obligations: 30-day written notice for violation of any statutory Tenant Obligation affecting health and safety, other than for illegal drug-related activity. Notice must specify the date on which the rental agreement will terminate as well as the tenant’s act or omission of noncompliance. Tenant has the opportunity to remedy the condition specified in the notice to avoid termination of the rental agreement. (§§ 5321.11)
  • Termination for Drug-related Activity: Three-day notice (§§ 5321.17(C))
  • Eviction of Tenant Allowing Sex or Child-victim Offender to Occupy Premises Near School: Landlord may terminate the rental agreement of a tenant who allows occupancy of the premises by any sex offender or child-victim offender prohibited from establishing residence within 1,000 feet of any school or child day-care center under §§ 5321.034. However, if landlord who is authorized to terminate such a tenancy does not do so, landlord is not liable for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that allegedly results from that decision. OH Rev Code § 5321.051

About Ohio Eviction Laws

Under Ohio law landlords may evict a tenant for the following reasons:

  • Unpaid rent
  • If the tenant breaches the lease agreement
  • If the tenant intentionally damages the property
  • There is found to be illegal drug activity on the property
  • The tenant allows a registered sex offender to stay at the property if the property is 1,000 feet or less from a school.

Before a landlord files an eviction with the courts, they must first give the tenant written notice demanding that possession of the property be returned to them.

The notice must include the following language:

“You are being asked to leave the premises. If you do not leave, an eviction action may be initiated against you. If you are in doubt regarding your legal rights and obligations as a tenant, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance.”

If the landlord is evicting the tenant for any of the three following reasons: for unpaid rent, drug activity, or allowing a registered sex offender to stay in a rental unit 1,000 feet from a school, the notice must provide the tenant with at least three days to move out.

In the scenario where the landlord is evicting the tenant due to the tenant breaching the lease agreement, the landlord must allow the tenant at least 30 days to fix the issue or move out. Should the tenant fail to fix the issue within 30 days and have not moved out, the landlord may proceed with filing an eviction at court.

If the landlord wins the case in court, they will receive a “writ of execution”. A “writ of execution” is essentially a document that entitles the landlord to retake possession of the property. If the tenant refuses to move, the writ of execution can be given to the sheriff and they will remove the tenant from the rental unit within 10 days of receiving the “writ of execution”.

Related12 Must Have Renting Documents For Landlords

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5. Ohio Disclosures and Miscellaneous

Do Landlords in Ohio Need to Replace Locks Between Tenancies?

In Ohio, there are no laws that stipulate that the landlord must change the locks between tenancies. However, landlords must ensure there are working keep deadbolt locks on external doors. If locks are not in working order, the landlord must have them replaced.

As a final word, it is generally considered best practice to renew locks whenever a new tenant moves in. Ohio landlords commonly practice this. You can find out more about landlord locks here.

What Are Ohio Laws Regarding Retaliation

OH Rev Code § 5321.02

As is the case in most states in the US, there are laws protecting tenants from landlord retaliation in Ohio (§§ 5321.02). Landlords in Ohio cannot retaliate by raising the rent, decreasing services, or threaten the tenant with eviction should the tenant do the following:

  • Complain to or report the landlord to an appropriate government agency regarding a defect on the property;
  • Join with other tenants to negotiate or deal collectively with the landlord on any of the terms and conditions of a rental agreement.

If the landlord is deemed to have retaliated against the tenant, then the tenant may use any retaliatory action by the landlord as a defense to an eviction, to recover possession of the premises or to terminate the rental agreement (§§ 5321.02), and is entitled to recover costs incurred because of the landlord’s retaliation plus any attorney fees.

Do Landlords Need To Register Their Property With A Rental Property Registry?

If the county that the rental property is in has over 200,000 residents, the landlord is required to register the property with the county.

Required Ohio Rental Agreement Disclosures

Lead Disclosure: The landlord must disclose all known lead paint hazards. The landlord must also provide tenants with an information pamphlet, as an attachment to a written lease, on lead-based paint hazards. Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home

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6. Ohio Oft-cited Laws

Court Related Laws

Ohio Small Claims Court

Ohio Revised Code: Chapter 5321: Landlords and Tenants 

O.R.C. § 5321.16

  • Security deposits over $50.00 accrue 5% interest annually, and the landlord must pay the tenant the accrued interest annually.
  • Landlords must return security deposits to former tenants within 30 days of the tenant moving out, minus any amount the landlord is withholding.
  • When the landlord withholds any part of the security deposit, they must send an itemized list of damages charged to the tenant’s deposit.

O.R.C. § 5321.17

  • In a week-to-week tenancy, the landlord must notify the tenant seven days before they plan to terminate the rental agreement.
  • In a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord must inform the tenant 30 days before they plan to terminate the rental agreement.

O.R.C. § 1923.04

  • Three or more days before filing for an eviction in court, the landlord must request that the tenant moves out if the landlord is evicting the tenant of unpaid rent. 
  • The notice would be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by handing a written copy of the notice to the defendant in person.
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7. Ohio Landlord and Tenant Law Additional Resources

Below you’ll find helpful Ohio landlord-tenant law resources:

Helpful Links

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This article is designed to convey information, and not to provide legal advice. You should not consider any information in this article to be legal advice. Readers should consider obtaining specific legal advice from an attorney for any decision or course of action contemplated.

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