Ohio Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for Ohio landlords.  We summarize key Ohio Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  Ohio Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in Ohio.


Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering Ohio

Ohio landlord-tenant laws are considered Landlord friendly.

There are 11.7 million residents in Ohio.  Major metropolitan markets in Ohio are:

  1. Cincinnati: Estimated population of 2,219,679, which 60% of residents are renter occupied.
  2. Columbus: Estimated population of 2,109,197, which 53% of residents are renter occupied.
  3. Cleveland: Estimated population of 2,073,482, which 55% of residents are renter occupied.
  4. Dayton: Estimated population of 808,408, which 51% of residents are renter occupied.


Jump to Different Ohio Landlord Tenant Laws








Does Ohio require security deposits? 

Ohio does not require security deposits.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.16)



Is a security deposit receipt required in Ohio? 

Ohio does not require landlords to provide a receipt of security deposit.



How much security deposit can a landlord charge in Ohio? 

In Ohio, a landlord has no limit for security deposit. 



Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in Ohio? 

Ohio landlords can commingle their security deposits with other assets.  However, it is always recommended to keep them separated.  Ohio has no statute



Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in Ohio? 

Landlords are required if greater than $50.00 or one month’s rent, and must earn 5% annually and be paid out, to pay interest on security deposits.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.16)



When must a landlord return the deposit by in Ohio? 

In Ohio, landlords have 30 days to return the security deposit.  According to (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.16(B))



When can a landlord in Ohio withhold security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit if:

  • Damage in excess of normal wear and tear
  • Unpaid rent
  • Breaking the lease

Landlords must include a list with the remaining security deposit.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.16(B)).



Nonrefundable fees: 

No statute



Pet Deposits and Additional Fees:

Ohio has no pet deposit.statutes.



Require written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Landlords are required to provide written and itemized list of damages.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.16(B))



What happens to Ohio landlords that fail to comply returning the security deposit?

When landlords in Ohio fail to comply with state law (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.16(C)), they can be sued for the money withheld plus reasonable attorney fees.  According to the penalty statue listed at (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.16(C)).











Rental agreements required in Ohio:

Tenancies 12 months or longer in Ohio require a rental agreement.  If tenancy is less, it is still encouraged to create a written rental agreement.  If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online Ohio rental lease agreement.



What are the required lease provisions in Ohio?

Ohio requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list:

  • Owner / Manager’s Name and Address
  • Lead-based Paint disclosure
  • Term of the Lease
  • Amount of Rent
  • Rent due date
  • Security Deposit Amount and its coverage
  • Responsible parties for utilities
  • Responsible party for maintenance
  • Define reasonable amount for late fees and assessment date
  • Policy on subleasing
  • Pet policy


It is also strongly recommended to include these provisions:

  • Liable party for utility expenses
  • Penalties for late rent payments
  • Landlord’s responsibilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities
  • Pet policies
  • Security Deposit
  • Cleaning Fees
  • Other fees



Landlords cannot include:

  • Tenant’s waiving their right to go to court and settle debts that the landlord alleges
  • Tenant must pay for landlord’s legal fees associated with disputes over their lease agreement
  • Tenant accepting a blank waiver for landlord’s potential liability
  • Tenant waiving the landlord’s responsibility for a safe and sanitary dwelling



What are the rental agreement notice requirements in Ohio: 

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year: at least 1 month.

Month-to-Month: at least 1 month, however tenant or landlord can have set different duration if in writing or more from lease expiration.

Week-to-Week: at least 1 week or more from lease expiration.



What happens when the tenant remains without consent after the rental agreement expires or terminates?

No statute.




Does the lease automatically renew in Ohio? 

Leases terminate upon expiration, unless stated in the lease.



Rent Increase Notice:

No statute.



Rent Grace Period for Residential:

Tenants have no grace period before rent is considered late and fees may be charged.



Prepaid Rent:

No statute.










Late Fees for Residential:

No statute. 



Late Fees for Manufactured Homes:

No statute.



Rent Grace Period for Manufactured Homes:

No statute.



Limits to late fees in Ohio:

No statute 







In Ohio, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:



What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in Ohio?

Ohio requires three days to remedy or quit.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 1923.02)



How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

  • Drug activity
  • Allowing registered sex offenders to stay on premises, only applies to rentals within 1,000 feet of a school or preschool or child day-care


These do not necessarily result in immediate lease termination, however landlords can provide a 3 days notice.

More information at (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.051)




How many days when terminating for illegal drug-related activities?

Tenants using, possessing or selling illegal drugs on premises can have their lease terminated with 3 days notice.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.17(C))







Ohio tenants are legally allowed to make repairs and deduct the cost from rent.  However, the following protocol must be followed before doing so:



How many days must the tenant give for non-emergency repairs? 

30 days for standard repairs. More sever repairs might require quicker resolutions but there is not a set timeline.  If the landlord fails to address the problem, the tenant may fix the problem, state law does not define the cost limits.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.04)



Can tenant without rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

Yes.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.07, §§ 5321.08, §§ 5321.09, §§ 5321.10)



If the landlord fails to take necessary action, then the tenants can legally:

Ohio allows tenants to:

  • Seek remedy through court
  • Terminate the lease


The following class of tenants are excluded from this:

  • Student tenants
  • Tenants behind rent
  • If landlord owns less than 3 units







What must the landlord provide in good and working order?

Ohio defines certain responsibilities for landlords, including:

  • Must comply with all applicable building codes affecting health and safety
  • Must keep all common areas in a clean and safe condition
  • Must supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water, at all times.
  • Must maintain facilities and appliances in good and working order, including:
  • Dwelling is in full compliance with applicable building, housing, safety and health codes
  • Appropriate trash receptacles for rental agreements in properties with four or more units
  • Water and Heat at all times between October 1st and May 1st

More information at (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.04).



Do landlords have to provide appliances and services?

Not required.  However, tenants need to have proper access to utility services.







Tenant must maintain a fit and habitable premise and is prohibited from intentionally or negligently damaging or removing any part of the premise.  Cannot partake in drug-related activities or disturb the peaceful enjoyment of the neighbors.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.05)








Ohio requires a landlord to file a eviction lawsuit action to evict a tenant.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 1923)


Landlords may evict tenants for the following:

  • Not paying rent
  • Violation of lease / Breach of contract
  • Intentionally damaging property
  • Drug use on premises
  • Registered sex offered staying in dwelling, if located within 1,000 feet of a school


Eviction Process for Landlords:

1.  Notice
Landlords must provide within  the tenant a written notice demanding possession of the premises.  If the cause for eviction are any of the reasons listed above (unpaid rent, registered sex offender) then the landlord must give 3 days notice.  For breach of lease agreement, landlords must provide a 30 day notice to fix or move out.

In Ohio, there is specific language that must be included:

“You are being asked to leave the premises.  You 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”.

2.  File Eviction Lawsuit
Landlords must file a complaint to the court which their rental unit is located.

3.  Writ of Execution
The court will issue a “writ of execution” when the landlord wins in court.

4.  Sheriff Removal
The sheriff department has 10 days to remove the tenant once receiving the ‘writ of execution’.





Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

In Ohio, it is illegal for landlords to attempt to evict a tenant not through a court order.



Are landlords allowed to lock out tenants by changing locks?

Landlords cannot change locks.



Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

Landlords cannot turn off utilities.



Tenants may not be evicted for non-payment of rent if:

There is no state statute.  However, tenants can work an agreement with the landlord that would prevent eviction.  Evictions cost both parties a lot of money, time and stress. 

For tenants, avoiding an eviction record is detrimental to finding future rental properties.








Ohio laws state a landlord cannot terminate a lease, refuse a lease renewal or raise rents when:

  • Tenant submitted a complaint to government agency for building or health code violation
  • Tenant has sent written complaints to the landlords about repairs
  • Tenant joined fellow tenants to negotiate or deal collectively on terms and conditions of the lease agreement with the landlord









Are landlords requested to change locks before new tenants:

Before new tenants moves in, landlords are not required to change the locks.  It is always recommended to do so.



Are landlords required to install any specific security device:

Landlords are required to provide or install security devices.  Landlords are required to provide:

  • Deadbolt lock on exterior doors






Ohio does not have any specific pet laws.  Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more.  Read our guide to pet policies.



What are the max pet deposits in Ohio:

No statute.







According to Ohio Landlord-Tenant Laws, landlords do not need a rental license in Ohio. 

Landlords and owner of a residential rental property, is required, in counties with over 200,000 residents, to register the property. 









Do landlords in Ohio have to provide notice of entry? 

Landlords are required to provide 24 hours’ notice for normal circumstances entry.    This includes:

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Inspections
  • Showing prospective tenants the unit
  • If premises appear to be empty and abandoned



When can a landlord enter without notice:

According to (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.04), landlords may enter:

  • Emergencies




Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?

Yes.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.05(B))



Can landlords enter for showings?

Yes.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.05(B))



Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?

Yes.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 5321.04(B))



Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?

No statue. 



Can landlords enter for pesticide use?

No statute. 








Is subleasing permitted?




Do you need the landlord consent?

If the lease includes a clause stating the landlord allows or requires consent. 



Can the LL / lease prohibit subletting?

Yes, if it included in the rental agreement.







Ohio Landlord-Tenant Laws has specific procedures that landlords must follow when tenants leave belongings.  This may be from evictions or moving out at the expiration of lease.


How long must landlords hold Tenant’s personal property?

Landlords must hold onto the tenants personal belongings for no set time.  Ohio does not have any abandoned property laws.

However, it is best to send notice to the tenants with reasonable time to respond.. 



How long notice must landlords give if law enforcement has legally locked them out?

No Statute.



Can the landlords sell property to pay for outstanding debts?

Yes, there is no statute stating otherwise.  This should be included in the rental agreement.. 



What happens to excess proceeds?

With the lack of abandoned property laws in Ohio, it is recommended to keep proceeds after the debt payments in a trust account for at least 1 year. 



How long must landlords keep records of the sale for?

No Statute.



Landlord must store the tenant’s abandoned property where:

No Statute.




Are the landlords liable for damage?

Landlords are not responsible for damages, unless landlord damages it on purpose or handles it negligently.







Ohio Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:


Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.








Ohio State Bar Association Landlord-Tenants Right and Obligations

Ohio Tenant-Landlord Law – General Guidelines

Ohio Legal Services – Landlord-Tenant Issues

Cleveland Tenants Organization

Ohio Consumer Protection









Ohio Small Claims Court Limits:

$3,000 is the minimum for small claims court. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 1925.02(A)(1))


Ohio Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims:

No. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 1923.01(A))


Ohio Small Claims Court

Ohio Judicial Branch

Ohio Attorney General



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