This page has local legal information on residential (not commercial) renters’ issues. It is not legal advice, and you should check with your local legal aid and courts for current information.
This page was last updated on Dec 2nd, 2023. It was reviewed by our volunteer attorney experts.
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Problem with your Landlord?
Are you having problems with your landlord?
Behind on Rent?
Find local programs that can help you with housing costs, or work out a plan with your landlord.
Received a Warning Notice about Eviction?
Have you received a warning notice from your landlord, like a ‘Notice to Quit’ or a ‘Notice to Leave’? Find what options you have.
Facing an Eviction Lawsuit?
Has your landlord filed an eviction lawsuit in court? Have you received a Summons and Complaint? Learn what rights and options you have.
Emergency Protections during COVID
Do renters have protections against eviction during the Covid-19 emergency?
Contact a legal help organization to help defend yourself.
It is illegal for your landlord to evict you without first going to court and getting an eviction order. To remove you from your home, a landlord must take you to court by filing an eviction lawsuit, win the case, and getting an eviction order from the court.
Legal aid groups might be able to provide you with full representation, or other legal organizations can give you information or brief advice.
You may be able to break your lease if you can come to an agreement with your landlord.
You can talk to your landlord to see if they will agree to let you leave early. If they agree, be sure to get the agreement in writing.
Also, you can review your lease. It may have a part that lets you end the lease early in times of financial difficulty. If your lease has this kind of part, you might be able to break the lease (in some cases penalty-free).
Find legal help to get advice for your situation.
Tell your landlord about any repairs needed, particularly if they affect your health and safety.
You should call your landlord to make the repairs as soon as possible.
Emergency repairs could be for problems with:
Running water or hot water
Heat or air-conditioning
Stove, refrigerator, or oven
Missing doors, locks, or windows
If your landlord doesn't make the repairs promptly, send them a written letter or email about the need for emergency repairs (and keep a copy of this communication).
Local governments set the rules about who is eligible for rent relief. Most programs focus on people who have suffered COVID-19 hardships. You can talk to your local Rental Assistance program to learn their eligibility rules. You may have to show your household income, or if you are on other benefits programs like SNAP. You may also have to show that you are at risk of homelessness or eviction if you don't get rental assistance. Check with your local Rental Assistance program to see if you are eligible.
If you are behind on rent, you can get help from your local Rental Assistance program. This is a government service to help people who owe rent or utility bills.
Especially if you are behind on rent because of COVID-19 hardships, your local Rental Assistance (or Rent Relief) program can help you.
Find your local Rental Assistance program at your Get Help page here.
Many local Rental Assistance programs are open to everyone, regardless of immigration status. Many programs do not even ask about immigration status.
Check with your local Rental Assistance program to make sure about eligibility rules and immigration. ****
Most Rental Assistance programs let landlords apply.
Either a renter or a landlord can start the application.
The landlord will have to fill in as much information they have about the amount of money needed, and the eligibility for the program. The tenant may have to fill in the rest of the information.
You still have time to reach out for rental assistance, and stop the eviction from moving forward.**__ Be sure to let the local group know that you have received an eviction notice and what its deadline is. They may be able to help you pay the rent you owe, or work with your landlord to reduce the amount or put you on a payment plan. Find local financial help in Ohio here.
In Ohio, you have a minimum of 3 days between your landlord giving you a notice and them filing a lawsuit against you in court to evict you.
The notice should tell you how many days the landlord is giving you. If they are giving you less than 3 days, then you may be able to challenge it as illegal.
Reach out for legal help if you think the notice isn't giving you the required time to make your payment.
A verbal conversation doesn't count as an "eviction notice". To be legal, the notice must be written down and given to you in the correct way.
Reach out for legal help if your landlord is trying to make you leave without going through the court process. This is illegal and a lawyer may be able to help you protect yourself.
No, you do not have to leave your home by the date listed on the eviction notice.
You do not have to leave your home until you have been brought to court, and a judge has ordered that your landlord can make you leave.
After the date on the eviction notice passes, then your landlord may file an eviction lawsuit in court against you. You will be able to go to court and present defenses to protect yourself.
You do not have to leave your home yet.
In Ohio, your landlord must give you an official notice that they may bring you to court to evict you for not paying your rent (or other reasons). The notice should give you time to negotiate with your landlord or leave your home.
This official notice must follow some rules to be valid. If it doesn't follow these rules, then you can challenge it and stop an eviction.
These are the Ohio requirements for an eviction notice:
The notice must be written down.
The notice must contain the name of the landlord.
It should have your name and address.
The notice has to give you at least three days to leave your rental home.
The notice must also include the following statement, and it must be easily visible and obvious: “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.”
Reach out for legal help if you think the notice isn't correct, or if you need assistance in defending yourself against the eviction.
You can come to an agreement with your landlord, but you should still go to court to make sure your case is closed. You can work with your landlord to work out an agreement before the date of the court hearing. This might be a payment plan or other agreement on what needs to happen for you to stay in your home. Be sure to get this agreement in writing, so that you can prove it exists and that your landlord follows through on it. Also, you should still go to court for your hearing date, to make sure the court knows about the agreement and closes the lawsuit. If you do not go to court, the lawsuit might still continue and the judge might rule that the landlord can remove you. Go to court yourself to make sure this doesn't happen. You can reach out for legal help to get assistance in negotiating an agreement with your landlord, and making sure this agreement is being followed. Find local legal help in Ohio here.
You should make sure that the landlord properly 'served' you with the lawsuit.
If they didn't give it to you in the correct way, you can challenge the eviction lawsuit. In Ohio, a landlord must follow certain rules to let you know about the lawsuit:
You must receive copy of the lawsuit’s Summons and Complaint by regular mail and then one additional copy in the following way:
By certified mail, or
By in-person service. Only certain people can give you the lawsuit's Summons and Complaint. The landlord cannot give you these papers. It has to be a person who is not involved in the case. This can be the sheriff, the bailiff of the court, or a process server.
One of these people can give the notice to you personally, at your home.
They can also leave the papers with a member of your household that is of age.
They can post the notice in an obvious place somewhere on the property (usually the door).
You should also reach out to local lawyers who can help you prepare for your court hearing so you can protect yourself against the eviction.
In Ohio, you are not required to file a written response to the eviction lawsuit, if you want to avoid the eviction. But you do have to come to court.
You will have an eviction hearing automatically scheduled at court. You must appear there if you want to defend yourself against the eviction. But you do not have to submit anything to the court or your landlord before this hearing.
Reach out to legal help to learn what your rights and defenses are in your eviction case. These organizations can help you deal with this lawsuit.
There are no emergency protections against evictions in Ohio. The national ban on evictions expired on August 26, 2021. **** Landlords may now try to sue tenants to evict them. If you are worried about an eviction, reach out as soon as possible to your local legal aid group. The lawyers may be able to help you find protections and services to deal with your eviction. **** Earlier Protections In 2020, Ohio Governor DeWine has requested that landlords not evict tenants during the emergency. The Ohio Supreme Court has advised local courts to pause eviction-related matters during the emergency, and had extended court deadlines until July 30, 2020.
Some renters had also been eligible for U.S. national protections through August 26, 2021 (link) . That CDC Eviction Ban is now expired.
Utility shutoff protection also expired. AEP Ohio resumed disconnections in September 2020. Ohio Edison/First Energy will resume disconnections on September 15, 2020. Columbia Gas will resume disconnections on July 29, 2020. (link) If you receive service from another provider, check their website to learn about when they plan to resume shut-offs. The state-wide order to stop water shut-offs ended on July 10, 2020.
Some utility shut-off moratoriums have ended or are ending soon. AEP Ohio will resume disconnections in September, 2020. Ohio Edison/First Energy will resume disconnections on September 15, 2020. Columbia Gas will resume disconnections on July 29, 2020. (link) If you receive service from another provider, check their website to learn about when they plan to resume shut-offs. The state-wide order to stop water shut-offs ended on July 10, 2020. Check with your local water supplier to learn about their plan to resume shut-offs.
Renters must still pay their utility bills. If you need financial assistance for utility costs, you may be able to get help.
Landlords are never allowed to shut off a renter's utilities in an attempt to force the renter out. This is illegal. Reach out to a lawyer for help if this happens to you. (link)
Ohio courts are hearing eviction cases as of October 2020.
Since emergency protections have expired, then for renters in Ohio:
Your landlord can give you a notice to leave.
Your landlord can file an eviction claim in court against you.
Hearings on eviction are happening, and the court may hear an eviction case against you.
The court may issue a new order, judgment, or writ of eviction against you.
An existing eviction order may be enforced against you.
Yes, Ohio renters still need to pay rent during the emergency. Check with your local city or county government to see if they give renters any additional protections if they are struggling to pay rent during the emergency. If you cannot pay rent, take steps to protect yourself:
Find legal groups that can help you with housing problems, landlords, roommates, Section 8, domestic violence, discrimination, and more.Find Legal Services
Find groups that can help you pay the rent, cover utility costs, and get other housing-related assistance.Find Financial Help
Find help with other problems, like domestic violence, health coverage, food benefits, mental health, and other issues.Find Other Services
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